23 June 2023

Highway names in regional dialects

Perhaps commonplace dialect observations. I had to make the transition from 1 to 2 in order not to be immediately identifiable as one of the loathed California transplants (which I am, of course, but I like to say Oregonian by choice).

1.  In California, in times past we used to say "Hollywood Freeway" instead of "the 101," and still do for some of the old landmarks. They do this somewhat in Chicago too. "The Kennedy," "The Eisenhower," etc. (In Calif. names after presidents or other public figures don't go over well. The Richard M. Nixon Freeway is very short (incomplete, as are many golden age freeways) but it's never called that, nor is the Simi Valley Freeway called "The Reagan Freeway." Ever.) Anyway, over the last 50 years the "Golden State Freeway" became, mostly, "the 5" (which is also the Santa Ana Freeway and many others of course). "The 5," not just "Five." "The 405;" "The 101."
2.  In the Pacific Northwest, you never say this. It's just "205," "99," etc. You do say "The Ross Island Bridge," but it's never "the 26."
3.  In the Eastern Seaboard, you usually say "I-x" for interstates. Not "The I-95," just "I-95." In the PNW folks never say this. It's not "I-5," it's just "Five." 

You're welcome for this useless information, which is nonscientific, just based on my observations. 

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