Author Topic: Unsigned State Routes  (Read 3883 times)

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Offline oscar

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2021, 11:14:30 pm »
2) It would be ideal for the "unsigned highways" system to have a dedicated maintainer who is actively interested in having unsigned highways on the site. Keep the maintenance separate from the other systems. This would eliminate the problem of people uninterested in unsigned highways being forced to maintain them. This might also work for systems like the historic highways and national parks that have more limited interest- have somebody actively interested in the system to do all the associated work. There's a similar debate going on with those two systems and the same solution may work for those, too.

The maintainer will still need to work with the relevant signed route maintainers, to keep things in synch such as with waypoint relocations, or to add waypoints for intersections with unsigned routes that we had previously ignored (especially for the really minor unsigned routes). Having multiple people working on routes in the same jurisdiction will lead to conflicts. That happened in Quebec, and I wound up taking over (and ultimately activating) the other draft route set. Some of that also happened with usaush when it was first rolled out, especially in jurisdictions where the maintainer isn't on GitHub.

Also, the signed route maintainers will often have the best information on unsigned routes omitted from their systems.

I think this suggestion is likely to lead to more work, and aggravation, for all concerned.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 04:58:06 am by oscar »

Offline oscar

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2021, 07:36:34 am »
Starting on my U.S. jurisdictions.

AK: I basically agree with Duke87's characterization. All of the unsigned state-maintained routes have six-digit internal inventory numbers, and some of them were also assigned Federal-aid route numbers. That includes at least some ferry routes.

HI: Oahu island has most of the unsigned, numbered routes maintained by Hawaii DOT's Highways Division. About 15 routes. They include one two-digit primary route, one three-digit secondary route, and the rest are four-digit routes. The four-digit routes are generally short spurs to military bases (open to the general public, to the sentry stations) and other minor routes. There are about a dozen short numbered but unsigned state highways on other islands. Adding them would be a manageable exercise.

There may be additional unsigned routes maintained by Hawaii DOT's Airports and Harbors divisions, or by other state agencies. But I don't know if any of them are assigned internal route numbers. This could be unmanageable, and in any case not part of the main state highway system we map.

Hawaii also has a multitude of numbered county routes, some of them confusingly signed with markers similar to state highway route markers. These would not be covered.

CA: I'd add to Duke87's comments that in addition to Caltrans-maintained state highways, there are also locally-maintained but state-designated business routes (connected with Interstate, U.S., and state primary routes). They usually are former alignments, relinquished to local governments, but Caltrans designates them as business routes as a sop to local businesses bypassed by a new route. We map them in usaib, usausb, and usaca (no separate bannered state route system) if they are signed. But I think an unsigned business route is rather oxymoronic since it no longer steers travelers to bypassed local businesses, and effectively decommissioned. Caltrans' only official list of business routes I'm aware of hasn't been updated in three decades, so limiting the HB to the ones with route number signage is really our only filter to weed out dead business routes.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 08:11:51 am by oscar »

Offline Bickendan

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2021, 08:13:10 am »
And then there's Oregon.
NE2 already touched on ORH 50 (OR 39 diverges from ORH 50 just east of Malone and takes ORH 426 to California instead). ORH 372 (Century Dr on Bend's west side) is also without a corresponding OR number. There are also a few others, but for the most part, each ORH number has a corresponding OR number (even if shifted up by 500 to avoid a signed OR number, or because '69').

Well, then, what's the problem? 50, 372, and 487 (Celilo Spur) are generally reinforcing the overall point -- throw them in in the ignorable system, omit the rest.
Well... it's the multi-route highways that are the problem.
2 Columbia River Highway (I-84, US 730)
4 The Dalles-California Highway (US 197, 97)
5 John Day Highway (OR 19, US 26)
15 McKenzie Highway (OR 99/126B, 126B, 126, 242, US 20/OR 126, 126)

Meh, I have no problem of including ORH if users can toggle it off.

Offline US 89

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2021, 08:54:14 am »
I think this suggestion is likely to lead to more work, and aggravation, for all concerned.

Personally I don't think "too much work" is a very good argument against keeping unsigned routes out of the site. What if, way back in the CHM days, it had been decided to not include state routes at all, just because of the inherent difficulty of keeping track of the changes in 50 state route systems?

I would argue it's the same deal here for unsigned routes. Too much work isn't a problem if you can find people willing to help with it. I would be more than willing to help out with some of that and I doubt I'd be the only one.

Offline oscar

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2021, 09:58:04 am »
I think this suggestion is likely to lead to more work, and aggravation, for all concerned.

Personally I don't think "too much work" is a very good argument against keeping unsigned routes out of the site. What if, way back in the CHM days, it had been decided to not include state routes at all, just because of the inherent difficulty of keeping track of the changes in 50 state route systems?

I would argue it's the same deal here for unsigned routes. Too much work isn't a problem if you can find people willing to help with it. I would be more than willing to help out with some of that and I doubt I'd be the only one.

My problem is with having unsigned routes in a jurisdiction managed by someone other than the maintainer of the signed routes. It should be ideally done by the same person, and I have no problem with being that person for the states, etc. I now manage, if we decide to go in that direction. As I've indicated in my other comments, I think the extra work is minimal or at least manageable in my jurisdictions.

The additional work for the signed routes maintainer is a cost to be considered. But having someone else do the unsigned routes doesn't avoid that problem, and could easily make things worse.

Offline SSOWorld

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2021, 12:53:05 pm »
Certainly, but it's maintainer's discretion as to whether unsigned routes are included - most have chosen not to include them and getting a consensus either way is hard.

I imagine they're all sitting back and enjoying their popcorn while we bicker about it. 🍿
Completed:
* Systems: WI
* by US State: AR: I; AZ: I; DE: I; IA: I, KS: I; MN: I; MA: I; MO: I; NE: I; RI: I; SD: I; WA: I; WI: I,US,WI;

Offline yakra

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2021, 02:00:16 pm »
James Brown says YEAH.

So, count me as someone who prefers the status quo (I guess it's true what they say about not being able to put the genie back into the bottle, as a whole plethora of threads got started regarding potentially significant changes to the site all originated from a little misunderstanding I had regarding I-676!).  That said, since we have a list for the US... anyone familiar enough with Canada to put together a list for there?

I wouldn't be surprised if the reason unsigned routes in North America other than interstates aren't included is because Tim didn't want to deal with all this when running CHM.
That could well be part of it. Having objective criteria for inclusion certainly has advantages in heading off long trips down the rabbit hole.
But another big part of it that got discussion at the time was keeping the site accessible and relevant to Joe Traveler.

The average driver can see US1A shields or ME25 shields and know what they are and where they go (or at least, be able to figure that out by looking at the trusty ol' DeLorme or Rand McN. You get it.). Fewer people are going to even notice reference markers as they zip around New York. Fewer still will know what they mean. Now how about Connecticut's secret routes? Is there even any indication on them that the driver is on a road of any kind of significance, any mileposts or anything? They may be an open secret in the roadgeek community, to be sure, but they're called "secret" for a reason -- their existence is transparent to the traveling public.

They're special to roadgeeks because the DOT put a number on them. If that hadn't happened, would we care about Camp Meeting Rd? I bet not.
DOTs number roads all over the place. When they maintain them, or just keep track of them and inventory them. The OP misses the mark a bit in New England: Every public road in ME, NH or MA has a number. Even if that number is 2300435. Do we include all of these? Is it not sensible to at some point be satisfied that enough is enough?
[Cue "X all the Y" meme]

The example of "Touring Routes" from New York is instructive. Of all the stuff the DOT maintains & tracks, NYSDOT decided that these were useful for people who are Touring. They serve a useful purpose in getting they-uh from he-uh. They're relevant to Joe Traveler.

Signage is as good an objective criterion as any for deciding what to include. Or better, even. Yes, it will be imperfect. Yes, there will be annoying side effects. Like Maryland.
That will be the case of *any* system of deciding what to/not to include.

Yes, some "high profile readgeeks" will have less use for the site, and even choose to not participate. That's okay. The site will not ever be able to be everything to everybody, and its maintainers should not have to feel pressure to reach any particular niche audience. Even if that niche audience is the same ultra-specific internet subculture we come from ourselves.
Sorry if this disappoints some of my roadgeek friends. ;(

UT 900/901 is the very poster child for why going all-in on including unsigned routes just because a DOT has attached a number to it is... in some senses ridiculous. From its description, it sounds like little more than a Goat Track. We all know where Goat Tracks are located.

I invoke the hypothetical "Sagadahoc County Summer Townways Starting with 'B'" system as a cautionary tale about going too far down the rabbit hole. In some ways, US900/901 is not all that dissimilar from what this system would include.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 02:31:06 pm by yakra »
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Offline froggie

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2021, 04:48:36 pm »
VT: Almost all of these are interchange connectors, but the few that have a greater purpose (i.e. Berlin State Highway) may be worth including.

All of these run afoul of Criteria 2.  I cannot think offhand of any NUMBERED state routes in Vermont that are not at least partially signed and thus already included in usavt.

Offline cl94

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2021, 05:53:32 pm »
The example of "Touring Routes" from New York is instructive. Of all the stuff the DOT maintains & tracks, NYSDOT decided that these were useful for people who are Touring. They serve a useful purpose in getting they-uh from he-uh. They're relevant to Joe Traveler.

UT 900/901 is the very poster child for why going all-in on including unsigned routes just because a DOT has attached a number to it is... in some senses ridiculous. From its description, it sounds like little more than a Goat Track. We all know where Goat Tracks are located.

A couple things here:

1) Regarding New York touring routes: as far as NYSDOT is concerned, NY 990V and NY 961F are functionally equivalent to touring routes. They are purposely signed according to some of our NYSDOT sources. By that metric, wouldn't they be included?

2) Per Corco, UT 900/901 are not part of the state highway system and have completely separate enabling legislation. He also reports that 901 is unclinchable (part of the defined route no longer exists). He would be against including 900 and 901 and, as the one known person who has actually clinched 900/901 to the extent possible, he doesn't think they are necessary to clinch. The better example here is MD 856, which is a short sidewalk highway on the eastern shore.

Offline bejacob

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2021, 06:44:43 pm »
… big part of it that got discussion at the time was keeping the site accessible and relevant to Joe Traveler.

The average driver can see US1A shields or ME25 shields and know what they are and where they go …

As a "Joe Traveler," albeit one who does go a little "road geek" at times, I'm fully in support of the above concept.

I don't think I've make a trip in the last couple years without consulting the relevant area for roads I might want to drive/clinch. When in the field, I rely on signage to follow a route. I sometimes take printouts from TM with me to help, but trying to follow an unsigned route is just impractical when behind the wheel.


It's not unreasonable to decide that some road are out of scope, i.e. county roads. Nothing wrong with doing the same with unsigned routes.

Offline mapmikey

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2021, 07:21:51 pm »
Seems to me a true Joe Traveler who is not a roadgeek would do the opposite.  Drive wherever they drive and enter as much of it on the TM site as is covered.

I feel like some of this discussion conflates State Maintained (little to no advocacy) with State Highway (multiple advocates).

Situations like UT 900/901 can be avoided by criteria #8 - needs to be paved or otherwise justified if unpaved

I see zero harm to anything/anyone by including the unposted/not-posted-the-right-way state highways with the criteria in the OP list if a maintainer wants to put the files together, whether in a separate bucket within any state's list of buckets or not.  If somebody doesn't want to track these they don't have to.  As for the "touring route" concept, at least 9 of the completely unposted Virginia state highways are fully labeled on their tourist maps.

Maryland will be difficult - Virginia has these same sorts of routes but put them in their own separate system (F-routes).  A lot of unsigned Maryland state highways fail criteria #4 though.  I would be happy to assist in deciding which ones should be included.  BTW, MD 856 is completely drivable on its original narrow-width concrete... :)



« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 07:39:54 pm by mapmikey »

Offline cl94

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2021, 07:33:03 pm »
Seems to me a true Joe Traveler who is not a roadgeek would do the opposite.  Drive wherever they drive and enter as much of it on the TM site as is covered.

I feel like some of this discussion conflates State Maintained (little to no advocacy) with State Highway (multiple advocates).

Situations like UT 900/901 can be avoided by criteria #8 - needs to be paved or otherwise justified if unpaved

[snipped]

Maryland will be difficult - Virginia has these same sorts of routes but put them in their own separate system (F-routes).  A lot of unsigned Maryland state highways fail criteria #4 through.  I would be happy to assist in deciding which ones should be included.  BTW, MD 856 is completely drivable on its original narrow-width concrete... :)

Emphasis mine. There is a difference between "state maintained" and "state highway", which Duke87 differentiated between, especially in the cases of DE, VA, WV, NC, and SC, where virtually every road outside of incorporated areas is "state maintained" but not a "state highway". Compare this to NY or NJ, where every road maintained by the state DOT (and some others) is legally a "state highway", but they are finite systems.

And yes, MD 856 is entirely drivable, as I drove it myself in a normal car. Part of me would want to include that as an Easter egg, but I see why people would be opposed. A very large percentage of the unsigned Maryland routes would fail one of the criteria.

I like your criteria 8. That basically eliminates the 4x4 tracks in a couple states that get route numbers.

Offline US 89

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2021, 07:47:45 pm »
I don't think I've make a trip in the last couple years without consulting the relevant area for roads I might want to drive/clinch. When in the field, I rely on signage to follow a route. I sometimes take printouts from TM with me to help, but trying to follow an unsigned route is just impractical when behind the wheel.

Some signed routes are also impractical to follow. Good luck with successfully guessing the route of a US highway through a Tennessee city or over an Arkansas or Colorado concurrency. I will say, by the way, that TM was a very helpful resource for me in determining the routes of the various US routes through Chattanooga when I drove up there last fall - signage is really lacking in that area in many cases and Google is often wrong.

I feel like some of this discussion conflates State Maintained (little to no advocacy) with State Highway (multiple advocates).

This. As far as I can tell, nobody on here wants to add every single state maintained road. Likewise, I don't think anybody seriously wants to add every single road numbered by the state - as yakra mentioned above, in several New England states every single road has a number. And in my home state of Utah, for example, there is a statewide system of 4-digit federal aid routes numbered by the state and are even signed occasionally in more rural areas While it could be fun to clinch them, none of them are state maintained and the system includes just about every road of collector or greater status - so I see no need to include a system like that.

The people who want to see unsigned routes, including myself, are generally focused on unsigned primary state routes. In other words, numbered state routes that are in route systems that are generally signed, and are administratively equivalent to signed routes in their systems, but for whatever reason don't happen to have any (or enough) signage on their own.

This definition is useful in that it allows roads like the various NJ "unsigned" routes but excludes Utah 900/901, which are still "state routes" but are defined in a completely separate section of state law and are thus not administratively equivalent.

Offline cl94

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2021, 08:00:29 pm »
I don't think I've make a trip in the last couple years without consulting the relevant area for roads I might want to drive/clinch. When in the field, I rely on signage to follow a route. I sometimes take printouts from TM with me to help, but trying to follow an unsigned route is just impractical when behind the wheel.

Some signed routes are also impractical to follow. Good luck with successfully guessing the route of a US highway through a Tennessee city or over an Arkansas or Colorado concurrency. I will say, by the way, that TM was a very helpful resource for me in determining the routes of the various US routes through Chattanooga when I drove up there last fall - signage is really lacking in that area in many cases and Google is often wrong.

I have lost count of how many routes are impossible to follow through Northeastern cities if you are only relying on signage. All of these are "signed routes", but the city/AHJ doesn't have route shields high on its priority list. I want to say that every surface route entering Syracuse city limits, for example, has at least one unsigned turn. I learned very early on in my travels to have sources other than signs to rely on, because you can't rely on signs in many places. If "you're able to follow the signs" is your criteria to define a "signed route", then a lot of the routes on TM would not be included.

There's also the fact that some signed routes involve movements that are illegal or impossible (cough...Colorado, but several other states are guilty) to follow as signed without looping around.

Offline Duke87

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2021, 08:52:39 pm »
I wouldn't be surprised if the reason unsigned routes in North America other than interstates aren't included is because Tim didn't want to deal with all this when running CHM.

The reason is definitely because Tim, though the true rationale behind it is only known to him.

Meanwhile don't be concerned that you got this discussion going because of your I-676 post... the subject of unsigned highways is not a new discussion. Indeed, it has been noted before that there are multiple prospective users who would have TM accounts if we included unsigned state highways, but consider the site not useful to them because we don't, and therefore have not signed up.

The key reason I push for this is because of that broader community feedback - we can't please everyone all the time, but we should please as many people as we can as much as we can. And when otherwise prominent members of the roadgeek community say the site is not appealing to them, we should listen to why rather than writing them off.

Actually, Tim included A-920 in Quebec, as an unsigned Autoroute. We later determined that Autoroute didn't exist, which is why there were no signs, so out it went. I'm not sure there is any completely unsigned primary route in Quebec, though for some the route signage is borderline (QC 136 in Quebec city, and the short A-930 south of Montreal, come to mind).

Quebec has a separate system for roads that are provincially maintained but not signed. They are assigned 5-digit inventory numbers. Due to the administrative separation and my understanding that these 5-digit roads are fairly numerous, I would put this in the "nah" category.