Where the Streets Have Four Names

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Recently there was an item in the news about the City Council approving the next step in a multi million-dollar extension of Via Princessa to Golden Valley. But if you’re anything like me, you’re wondering, “Which Via Princessa to which Golden Valley?” or maybe “Don’t Golden Valley and Via Princessa already connect?”

Via Princessa is the cross-valley connector that never was, and is forever 5-10 years out. It translates into “Princess Way,” or at least it would if it were spelled correctly in a modern language. Of the languages that use “via” none have a “princessa.” But it was an alternate spelling in medieval Spanish, and fittingly enough, Valencian. Golden Valley is English for “Valle del Oro” but it should not be confused with the street of the same name that spans the space between Newhall-used-to-be-San Fernando and Dockweiler, which itself may or may not become Lyons Avenue, before turning into Pico Canyon, depending on whether the Placerita Canyon homeowners have their way.

Golden Valley Road is, with its recent unification, a C-shaped road that presents itself as a straight line and forms the eastern branch of so-called Cross-Valley Connector. Like so many thoroughfares in SCV, it can be geographically and astronomically disorienting. As you drive from traffic light to traffic light, the ridgelines spin around, the moon readjusts, and that brush fire you once thought was five miles in the other direction now looks like it’s headed straight for your home.

Golden Valley actually begins at Via Princessa, near the intersection of Via Princessa and Marsha McLean Parkway (which is actually a thing).
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After passing the beloved Canyon Country Target and crossing the 14, and approaching the high school of the same name, we have the site of the planned second intersection of Golden Valley and Via Princessa, which would seem impossible. It’s a part of Via Princessa where, if you look at a map, it seems more like an extension of Whites Canyon, which, for whatever reason becomes Via Princessa and the very intersection where Via Princessa ends. But Via Princessa doesn’t end. It just assumes control. Or it pops up somewhere else. Like the mint in your garden that sounded like a good idea at the time.

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Via Princessa re-appears across town in Circle J Ranch, that part of Newhall (or Valencia) with the Saugus zip code. For decades, it’s been said the two Princessas will meet, but the path between the two terminuses looks improbable, expensive, toxic, and instantly irrelevant if a Costco comes to the West Side. But should it even happen, their reunion will be short-lived, since the road has about a mile of runway before it becomes Wiley Canyon, which doesn’t go through a canyon as much as to a canyon, where it ends at Calgrove Blvd., which, if it weren’t for a mid-stream barrier, would become Valley Street, which soon changes to Orchard Village Road without warning.

And of course Whites Canyon has another puzzling, and unmarked, terminus at Plum Canyon, which I assume occurs at the top of the hill, where you (fittingly) ascend out of one canyon and descend into another — an arranged marriage decades in the making that also serves as one of the least-controversial neighborhood demarcations, the point where Canyon Country becomes Saugus. It’s also a bizarre stretch of road where a four-lane city road with a 40mph limit becomes a six-lane county road with a 50mph limit for about a half mile, only to become a four-lane, 40mph city road again — right where it crosses (you guessed it) Golden Valley.

But back to the other Golden Valley, it continues westward, soaring over Soledad Canyon (which itself turns into Valencia Blvd.), crossing the river in the most majestic of the Santa Clara-hopping bridges. Then for no clear reason, it becomes Newhall Ranch Road (which is either named for Newhall’s Ranch or the Newhall Land development by the same name that it leads, but not into, and which after 20 years of being five years out, might actually be five years out).

But if you thought that would be the end of Golden Valley, you needn’t weep. Instead of accepting its fate, it makes a 90° turn, dashing up the hill to meet a road on the other side of the mountain, which is named, conveniently enough, Golden Valley. Its last mile ends unceremoniously at Plum Canyon, where it becomes Santa Catarina, which itself becomes Rodgers Drive before hitting a dead-end at Lisa Gail Drive.

Honorable mentions to The Usurpation of McBean Parkway, The New Segments of the Old Road, and the Rockwell/Tournament/Golf Course Dr. thing.

4 thoughts on “Where the Streets Have Four Names

  1. Mike, this is the funniest yet sadly accurate article ever written about the vagaries of street names. Perhaps you can get a comment from the city’s traffic manager on which type of alcohol s/he prefers to drink while doing his (or her) job. #StopTheInsanity

  2. “After passing the beloved Canyon Country Target and crossing the 14, and approaching the high school of the same name…”

    In all the confusion I seem to have missed driving past Target High School.

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