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Bayshore Freeway

The Bayshore Freeway is a part of U.S. Route 101 (US 101) in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. It runs along the west shore of the San Francisco Bay, connecting San Jose with San Francisco. Within the city of San Francisco, the freeway is also known as James Lick Freeway, named after the California philanthropist. The road was originally built as a surface road, the Bayshore Highway, and later upgraded to freeway standards. Before 1964, it was mostly marked as U.S. Route 101 Bypass, with US 101 using the present State Route 82 (El Camino Real).

U.S. Route 101 marker

Bayshore Freeway
Bayshore Freeway highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Caltrans
Length 56.4 mi[1] (90.8 km)
Major junctions
South end US 101 at Blossom Hill Road (former SR 82) in San Jose
North end US 101 / I-80 in San Francisco
Counties Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco
Highway system


Route descriptionEdit

The Bayshore Freeway begins at the Blossom Hill Road interchange on US 101. The freeway curves north and northwest, bypassing downtown San Jose to the east, and then curves west-northwest, crossing I-880 and SR 87, the latter just north of the San Jose International Airport. The portion of the highway from San Jose to South San Francisco is relatively straight and flat, running near the west edge of the San Francisco Bay. Junctions here include SR 237 in Sunnyvale, SR 85 in Mountain View, SR 84 in Menlo Park and Redwood City, SR 92 in San Mateo, and the San Francisco International Airport and I-380 in San Bruno. In South San Francisco, the freeway curves northeast around San Bruno Mountain, crossing its east edge at Sierra Point, and then heads north on a causeway across the former Candlestick Cove to the San Francisco city line.[2]

The San Francisco Skyway over Third Street

In San Francisco, where the road is also known as the James Lick Freeway, it continues north-northwesterly between Bayview Park and McLaren Park, and crosses I-280 at the Alemany Maze. There it curves north-northeasterly around Bernal Heights and then northwest around Potrero Hill, meeting the Central Freeway at the border between the Mission District and South of Market. The Bayshore Freeway ends at the intersection of US 101 and Interstate 80,[3] which, although signed as Interstate 80, is not officially Interstate 80 until the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The freeway that goes from US 101 to the Bay Bridge that is signed as I-80 but not officially I-80 is called the San Francisco Skyway.


Initial constructionEdit

Before the Dumbarton and San Mateo-Hayward Bridges were built across the San Francisco Bay in the 1920s, San Francisco was bottled up at the north end of a long peninsula, with driving south on El Camino Real towards San Jose as the only reasonable alternative to the ferries for crossing the bay. The first of several highways built as an alternate to El Camino Real was the Skyline Boulevard, which was added to the state highway system in 1919. A second route, the Bay Shore Highway (Route 68[4]), became a state highway in 1923, but only from the San Francisco city limits into San Mateo County, where the Dumbarton Bridge would begin.[5] Just prior to the start of construction on the Dumbarton Bridge, San Francisco Supervisor Richard J. Welch noted that the Bay Shore Highway would need to be built all the way to San Jose as an escape valve for the additional traffic that the bridge would attract.[6]

Looking west at the Sierra Point cut in Brisbane, 1929

The state legislature extended the highway in 1925, defining it to run from near the intersection of Army Street (Cesar Chavez Street) and San Bruno Avenue in San Francisco to a point in San Jose. The governor approved the bill with the stipulation that only the portion between the city limits of San Francisco and San Jose would be a state highway.[7] Construction between South San Francisco and Burlingame had begun by 1924, funded by a $500,000 contribution from San Francisco, and was completed in 1928. A disconnected segment north of San Mateo was built by the state at the same time. It was not until February 1929 that the road was fully paved between San Francisco and Burlingame, and on October 20, 1929 the new highway was officially dedicated to San Mateo,[6][8][9] several months after the connecting San Mateo-Hayward Bridge opened (at what is now Third Avenue[10]).[11] Even then, motorists had to wait until May 7, 1931 to reach Jefferson Avenue in Redwood City (near the west end of the four-year-old Dumbarton Bridge).[12] The roadway was extended to Oregon Avenue in Palo Alto in mid-1932,[13][14] Lawrence Station Road in mid-1933,[15][16] and to Lafayette Street near Santa Clara, across the Guadalupe River from San Jose, by 1934.[17] The final piece to Oakland Road (13th Street) in San Jose, which was then the main road - Legislative Route 5 and Sign Route 17 - between San Jose and Oakland,[18] was dedicated on June 12, 1937,[19] over ten years after the Dumbarton Bridge opened in January 1927.[20]

The Bayshore Highway was marked as a bypass of US 101 by 1939.

Although the highway was designed and built to what were, at the time, high standards, with a 100-foot (30 m) wide right-of-way in most places, it was accident-prone because it lacked a median barrier.[6][9] One segment of the so-called "Bloody Bayshore" was "Boneyard Hill", a steep grade through the Visitacion Valley near the San Francisco city line, running past a bone meal plant. Causes of the crashes included turning conflicts at intersections, and speeding drivers crossing the centerline to use the oncoming lanes as a passing lane.[21][22] The roadway was entirely at-grade except for crossings of rail lines. It generally followed the present alignment of the Bayshore Freeway, but deviated in several places: Old Bayshore Highway in San Jose, Veterans Boulevard in Redwood City, Bayshore Highway in Burlingame, a destroyed section of road through San Francisco International Airport, and Airport and Bayshore Boulevards from South San Francisco through Brisbane into San Francisco. Within that city, the new highway continued three miles (5 km) along the present Bay Shore Boulevard to Army (Cesar Chavez) Street and Potrero Avenue.[23]

The four-lane Bayshore Highway

When the Bayshore Highway was completed in 1937, U.S. Route 101 signs were moved to it from El Camino Real, and El Camino became U.S. Route 101 Alternate. Businesses along El Camino created the El Camino Real Association to protest the move and resulting loss of business,[24] and by 1939 the main route had been moved back, with the Bayshore Highway becoming U.S. Route 101 Bypass.[25] The two routes split in San Jose at the junction of First and Second Streets near Keyes Street, with the El Camino route mostly following the present SR 82 and the Bayshore route using locally maintained Second, Reed, and Fourth Streets to reach the state-maintained Bayshore Highway.[18][26] In San Francisco, they rejoined at the present location of the Alemany Maze, with the El Camino route following Alemany Boulevard from near the city line; from there US 101 continued north on Bay Shore Boulevard, Potrero Avenue, and 10th and Fell Streets to Van Ness Avenue, meeting the Bay Bridge approach (US 40/US 50) at Bryant and Harrison Streets.[27] The Bryant/Harrison one-way pair was added to Route 68 (which already included the bridge) in 1937[28] and removed in 1947 along with the bridge;[29] in 1961 the new freeway approach became part of Route 68, which was extended back over the bridge to Route 5 at its Oakland landfall.[30][31]

Construction of an extension to Route 115 (Santa Clara Street, now SR 130) at 30th Street in San Jose began in 1939,[32][33] and was completed by late 1940.[34] As with the portion between Fourth and 13th Streets, it was not marked as a numbered route.[18] The state legislature authorized an extension beyond San Jose back to El Camino Real near Ford Road in 1947,[29] which was already under construction, and was completed that year.[35] This was the first segment built with interchanges, and included a median barrier. Despite this, most crossings were at-grade; only the two ends at Route 115 (Santa Clara Street) and regular US 101 included bridges, the former a diamond interchange and the latter a simple split with additional access to Ford Road. It also crossed over Coyote Road, though with no access, just south of the Coyote Creek bridge.[36] The original 1947 bridge over Coyote Road remains, though widened in 1990, and is one of the oldest road-road grade separations on the present freeway.[37]


2014 view of the Bayshore Freeway at Hillsdale Boulevard

By 1940, at the dawn of the freeway era, the state was making plans to convert the Bayshore Highway into a ten-lane Bayshore Freeway between San Francisco and Palo Alto.[35][38] The first piece built was from Peninsula Avenue at the San Mateo-Burlingame line to South San Francisco. This six-lane freeway, completed in 1949,[35] followed the existing highway to Broadway in Burlingame, but then took a more inland alignment past the San Francisco International Airport, and crossed the old road at South San Francisco, running just east of it to near the south end of the cut at Sierra Point.[39] Construction began inside San Francisco in 1950 and was completed in 1958; the new causeway across Candlestick Cove, connecting the completed section in South San Francisco with San Francisco, was dedicated in mid-1957.[35] In 1951, the state legislature renamed the portion within San Francisco after James Lick, a California pioneer and philanthropist.[40]

A movement to make the four-lane undivided "Bloody Bayshore" safer all the way to San Jose began in Palo Alto.[22] As a temporary measure, the state lowered the speed limit, installed traffic signals, closed minor crossroads, and prohibited left turns in places. The community convinced the state to extend the six-lane freeway,[41] which was completed in 1962.[35] The freeway continued to end at the old El Camino Real merge near Ford Road until the early 1980s, when the South Valley Freeway was constructed.[37]

Exit listEdit

Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was in 1964, based on the alignment that existed at the time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then, M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see the list of postmile definitions).[42] Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.

County Location Postmile
Exit[44] Destinations Notes
Santa Clara
SCL R28.61-52.55
San Jose R28.61   US 101 south (South Valley Freeway) – Los Angeles Continuation beyond CR G10 (Blossom Hill Road)
R28.61 378   To SR 82 / Blossom Hill Road (CR G10), Silver Creek Valley Road
30.10 380 Hellyer Avenue
31.00 381 Yerba Buena Road Exit was separated northbound in 2014
31.70 382 Capitol Expressway (CR G21)
33.03 383 Tully Road
34.55 385A Story Road Signed as exit 385 northbound
34.87 385B    I-280 north / I-680 north – San Francisco, Downtown San Jose, Sacramento Signed as exit 384 northbound; I-680 exit 1B
R35.76 386A   SR 130 (Alum Rock Avenue) / Santa Clara Street
R36.14 386B McKee Road, Julian Street
387 Mabury Road, Taylor Street Planned interchange scheduled to open in late 2021
37.73 388A Oakland Road, 13th Street Former SR 238
38.30 388   I-880 (Nimitz Freeway) – Oakland, Santa Cruz, Los Gatos Signed as exits 388B (north) and 388C (south); I-880 exits 4B-C
38.80 389A Old Bayshore Highway, 4th Street No southbound exit
39.29 389B Brokaw Road, First Street Signed as exit 389 southbound
San Jose 39.93 390   SR 87 south (Guadalupe Parkway) Southbound exit and northbound entrance; SR 87 north exit 9B
San JoseSanta Clara line 40.70 391 Trimble Road, De la Cruz Boulevard – Santa Clara Signed as exits 391A (Trimble Road) and 391B (De la Cruz Boulevard) southbound
Santa Clara 41.98 392 San Tomas Expressway, Montague Expressway (CR G4)
42.73 393 Great America Parkway, Bowers Avenue
Sunnyvale 43.85 394 Lawrence Expressway (CR G2)
44.83 395 Fair Oaks Avenue Signed as exits 395A (north) and 395B (south) southbound
45.68 396A   To SR 237 east / Mathilda Avenue north Northbound exit and southbound entrance
45.68 396B Mathilda Avenue south – Sunnyvale Signed as exit 396A southbound; former SR 85
46.13 396B   SR 237 east – Alviso, Milpitas Southbound exit and northbound entrance; SR 237 west exit 3A
46.13 396C   SR 237 west (Mountain View Alviso Road) Northbound exit and southbound entrance; SR 237 east exit 3A
Mountain View 47.01 397 Ellis Street
47.89 398A Moffett Boulevard, NASA Parkway Signed as exit 398 northbound
48.10 398B   SR 85 south – Cupertino, Santa Cruz Southbound exit and northbound entrance; SR 85 north exit 24B
48.60 399A Shoreline Boulevard – Mountain View Signed as exit 399 southbound
48.97 399B Old Middlefield Way Northbound exit and southbound entrance
49.61 400A Amphitheatre Parkway, Rengstorff Avenue Signed as exits 400A (Amphitheatre Parkway) and 400B (Rengstorff Avenue) northbound
Mountain ViewPalo Alto line 50.32 400C San Antonio Road Signed as exits 400B (north) and 400C (south) southbound
Palo Alto 52.01 402 Oregon Expressway (CR G3)
Palo Alto 52.17 402 Embarcadero Road
San Mateo
SM 0.00-26.11
East Palo Alto 0.89 403 University Avenue (to SR 109)
East Palo AltoMenlo Park line 1.87 404 Willow Road (SR 114) Signed as exits 404A (east) and 404B (west)
Menlo Park 3.59 406   SR 84 east (Marsh Road) – Dumbarton Bridge South end of SR 84 overlap
Redwood City 5.39 408   SR 84 west (Woodside Road) / Seaport Boulevard North end of SR 84 overlap
6.62 409 Whipple Avenue – Redwood City
San Carlos 411 Brittan Avenue Southbound exit and entrance
8.40 411 Holly Street, Redwood Shores Parkway – San Carlos
412 Harbor Boulevard Southbound exit and entrance
Belmont 9.55 412 Marine Parkway, Ralston Avenue – Belmont Former Legislative Route 214
San Mateo 11.15 414A Hillsdale Boulevard – Foster City
11.90 414B   SR 92 – Hayward, San Mateo Bridge, Half Moon Bay SR 92 exits 13A-B
11.90 414B Fashion Island Boulevard No northbound exit
12.69 415 Kehoe Avenue Northbound exit and entrance
13.46 416 3rd Avenue Former SR 92
14.33 417A Dore Avenue Northbound exit and entrance
14.33 417 Poplar Avenue Southbound exit and entrance
14.69 417B Peninsula Avenue – Burlingame Northbound exit and entrance
Burlingame 419A Anza Boulevard Northbound exit and entrance
16.58 419B Broadway – Burlingame
Millbrae 17.95 421 Millbrae Avenue – Millbrae Signed as exit 420 southbound
San Bruno 19.12 422   San Francisco International Airport Southbound exit is part of exit 423A
R20.39 423A San Bruno Avenue
R20.72 423B    I-380 west to I-280 – San Bruno I-380 west exit 6, east exits 6A-B
South San Francisco R20.72 423C North Access Road (I-380 east) – North Cargo Area Southbound exit is part of exit 423A
21.69 424 South Airport Boulevard
21.92 425A Grand Avenue – Downtown South San Francisco No southbound entrance
22.71 425B Oyster Point Boulevard
425C South San Francisco (Airport Boulevard) Southbound exit and entrance
Brisbane 23.39 426A Brisbane, Cow Palace (Bayshore Boulevard) Northbound exit only
23.66 426B Sierra Point Parkway, Marina Boulevard – Brisbane Signed as exit 426 southbound; southbound exit and entrance are located 1.2 miles (1.9 km) north of northbound exit and entrance
City and County of San Francisco
SF 0.00-R4.24
0.03 429A Tunnel Avenue – Candlestick Park
0.77 429B Third Street – Cow Palace
1.11 429C Paul Avenue No northbound entrance; signed as exit 430A southbound
1.77 430B Silver Avenue No northbound entrance
1.98 430A   I-280 north – Downtown San Francisco Northbound exit and southbound entrance; I-280 south exit 54
1.98 431   I-280 south – Daly City I-280 north exits 54A-B
2.00 431 Alemany Boulevard, Bayshore Boulevard
2.92 432 Cesar Chavez Street, Potrero Avenue
4.10 433A Vermont Street Northbound exit only
R4.24 433B   I-80 east – Bay Bridge, Oakland Signed as exit 433 southbound; I-80 exit 1A
R4.24   US 101 north (Central Freeway) – Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Civic Center Continuation beyond I-80
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Google Maps driving directions, accessed February 2008
  2. ^ Google Maps street maps and USGS topographic maps, accessed January 2008 via ACME Mapper
  3. ^
  4. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to establish a Streets and Highways Code, thereby consolidating and revising the law relating to public ways and all appurtenances thereto, and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts specified herein". Fifty-first Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 29 p. 280p. 287. : "Route 68 is the Bay Shore Highway from San Francisco to San Jose. This route includes the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge and the approaches thereto on the San Francisco end..."
  5. ^ California State Assembly. "An act authorizing and directing the California highway commission to lay out and acquire a right of way or rights of way for a highway or highways from the county line of the city and county of San Francisco, in, to and through San Mateo county..." Forty-fifth Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 181 p. 422. : "from the county line separating the city and county of San Francisco from the county of San Mateo, in, to and through the county of San Mateo, at such location or locations as the said California highway commission may select."
  6. ^ a b c Mel Scott, The San Francisco Bay Area: A Metropolis in Perspective, University of California Press, 1959, pp. 174, 183, 209-210, 215
  7. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to provide for the establishment of a highway, to be known as the Bay Shore highway, in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara". Forty-sixth Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 471 p. 1009. 
  8. ^ Los Angeles Times, Desert Replaces Ocean and Mountains in Hearts of Those Who Roam in Motor Cars, October 20, 1929, p. 1
  9. ^ a b Lawrence Kinnaird, History of the Greater San Francisco Bay Region, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1966, pp. 243-245
  10. ^ Rand McNally & Company, san Francisco & Vicinity Archived March 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., 1933
  11. ^ New York Times, Coolidge Opens Big Bridge, March 3, 1929, p. N4
  12. ^ Oakland Tribune, Bayshore Highway Open to Palo Alto, May 10, 1931
  13. ^ San Mateo Times, October 7, 1931: "...the Bayshore highway in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, between Redwood City and Oregon avenue, Palo Alto, was under award today..."
  14. ^ Oakland Tribune, New Link of Bay Shore Highway Open, June 19, 1932
  15. ^ Oakland Tribune, Highway Completion is Asked of State, May 30, 1933
  16. ^ Oakland Tribune, July 16, 1933: "The Bayshore Highway is also available as far south as Lawrence Station from where it is necessary to join U. S. 101..."
  17. ^ Division of Highways, San Jose, 1934
  18. ^ a b c Division of Highways, San Jose, 1944
  19. ^ Oakland Tribune, Last Bay Shore Link to Be Dedicated, June 6, 1937
  20. ^ California Department of Transportation, Dumbarton Bridge Archived February 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., accessed February 2008
  21. ^ Paul D. Buchanan, San Mateo Daily Journal, History traces the bayshore from highway to freeway, April 15, 2002
  22. ^ a b Matt Bowling, Palo Alto Daily News, Then and Now: The 'Bloody Bayshore', May 20, 2007 (Archived from the original on June 21, 2008)
  23. ^ United States Geological Survey, San Jose (1942) Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Palo Alto (1940) Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Hayward (1942) Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., San Mateo (1939) Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., and San Francisco (1942) Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. (scale 1:62500)
  24. ^ San Mateo Times, Camino Robbed of Auto Traffic by Plot, Claim, December 23, 1937
  25. ^ Oakland Tribune, October 1, 1939: "The Pacheco Pass road, a good connection between coast and inland routes, is reached over pavement via U.S. 101 or U.S. 101 Bypass to San Jose..."
  26. ^ H.M. Gousha Company, San Jose Archived March 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., 1942
  27. ^ H.M. Gousha Company, San Francisco and Vicinity Archived 2008-06-25 at the Wayback Machine., 1941
  28. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to amend section 368 of the Streets and Highways Code, relating to State highway route 68". Fifty-second Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 48 p. 119. : "...and includes both Harrison Street and Bryant Street from 10th Street to 5th Street in the City and County of San Francisco."
  29. ^ a b California State Assembly. "An act to amend Sections 311, 352, 368, 369, 465, 472, and 496 of, the Streets and Highways Code, relating to state highway routes". Fifty-seventh Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 1233 p. 2736. : "Route 68 is the Bayshore Highway from San Francisco to Route 2 near Ford Road south of San Jose."
  30. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to amend Sections 253, 305, 308, 315, 316, 323, 326, 343, 354, 366, 368, 376, 399, 414, 415, 416, 468, 512, 513, 526, 572, 582, and 587, to amend and renumber Section 559, and to repeal Section 725.5..." 1961 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 1146 p. 2891p. 2892. : "Route 68 is from Route 2 near Ford Road south of San Jose to Route 5 near Oakland."
  31. ^ Division of Highways, San Francisco, 1963
  32. ^ Oakland Tribune, To Extend Bayshore, March 19, 1939
  33. ^ Oakland Tribune, April 16, 1939: "Bids will be opened at Sacramento, April 5 for two bridges on the projected extension of the Bayshore Highway to 30th and East Santa Clara Streets..."
  34. ^ Oakland Tribune, November 23, 1940: "Autos driven by Dowey and Joseph Lawrence, Evergreen rancher, collided at McKee Road and Bayshore Highway."
  35. ^ a b c d e California Department of Transportation, Index to California Highways and Public Works, 1937-1967, June 1997, pp. 104, 107, 109
  36. ^ United States Geological Survey, San Jose (scale 1:62500) Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., 1953
  37. ^ a b c California Department of Transportation (July 2007). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. 
  38. ^ Oakland Tribune, Bayshore Speed Road Discussed, July 26, 1940
  39. ^ United States Geological Survey, San Mateo (1949) Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Montara Mountain (1949) Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., and San Francisco South (1947) (scale 1:24000)
  40. ^ California State Assembly. "Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 37—Relative to the naming of the James Lick Memorial Freeway". 1951 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California (Resolution). State of California. Ch. 122 p. 4550. 
  41. ^ MPO Productions, Freedom of the American Road, 1955
  42. ^ a b California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  43. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  44. ^ California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, US-101 Northbound and US-101 Southbound, accessed February 2008

External linksEdit