March 2018

Who was Adriana Gianturco?

Today is Is the name Adriana Gianturco familiar to you? She was the director of Caltrans from 1976 to 1983, the first woman to serve in that role. (Just this month Laurie Berman started her tenure as the director of Caltrans.)

An urban planner by trade, known for her affinity for using ice-plants as ground cover along highways, Gianturco advocated for policies that were controversial for their time - prioritizing transit and carpool lanes - which are more widely accepted today. Much of her time at Caltrans was shaped by the fiscal crises of the 1970s, advocating for maintenance rather than new construction. Another one of her legacies could be the halt of new freeway construction in California, but that is probably also more likely a result of the state's financial situtation than anything else. 

If you want to learn more about Gianturco, you can read this oral history interview with her. It's quite long though, so it might take some time.