The California Legislature has voted to rename a section of State Highway 101 in the West San Fernando Valley as the Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway.
Assembly member Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) introduced the resolution to honor the pioneering astronaut, who grew up in Encino.
“As the first American woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride made history when she shattered the highest glass ceiling,” Gabriel said. “A proud Valley native, her legacy continues to inspire young people to reach for the stars, and I am immensely proud to help rename a portion of Highway 101 in Encino in her memory.”
Read a news release from Gabriel’s office here.
Ride was finishing her doctorate in Physics at Stanford in 1977 when she applied to the astronaut corps. She was one of six women chosen as NASA’s first female astronaut candidates. Ride broke the space agency’s gender barrier when she blasted off aboard shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983.
After retiring from NASA, Ride became a physics professor at UC San Diego. She later decided to use her celebrity to try to increase representation of women in science and engineering. In 2001, Ride joined with her life partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, and three colleagues to found Sally Ride Science. Their goal was to inspire all students, especially girls, in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math.).
Ride served as CEO of Sally Ride Science until her death from pancreatic cancer in 2012. Then in 2015, Sally Ride Science became part of UC San Diego. Under the direction of UC San Diego Extension, Sally Ride Science continue her legacy by offering innovate STEM program for girls and boys of all backgrounds.
The Legislature’s action comes as Sally Ride Science celebrates its 20th anniversary.
O’Shaughnessy, who now serves as executive director of Sally Ride Science, said the tribute would have meant a lot to Ride. “Sally would be so honored to have part of Highway 101 near her hometown named after her,” O’Shaughnessy said. “And it is very appropriate – Sally spent countless hours on 101 driving to school and to tennis tournaments.”
The highway segment that will bear Ride’s name is between the junction with Interstate 405 and Balboa Boulevard. A ceremony unveiling new signs on the freeway will be held this fall.