Author Topic: Unsigned State Routes  (Read 4032 times)

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Offline Duke87

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Unsigned State Routes
« on: February 10, 2021, 02:53:47 am »
Since this idea does keep coming up, and there seems to be at least some support for it, figure it's not a bad idea to have a master thread for it.

Given the strong desire of some users to exclude unsigned state highways, I do think resolving the toggle feature (see: https://forum.travelmapping.net/index.php?topic=3247.0) is a necessary prerequisite to actually activating any unsigned state routes for use. Beyond that... I would envision the drafting of unsigned routes proceeding not as any sort of urgent mandate, but rather as something that could be done state by state as there is demand for or interest in it.

Indeed, for various reasons, I do not envision every stretch of state-maintained road in the country being mapped. I would propose the following criteria for consideration:
1) The set of unsigned routes in a given region must be manageable in scale. States where unsigned routes includes every residential cul-de-sac that's not within an incorporated city... no, we're not going there.
2) The route must have a number. Roads that are state-maintained but inventoried only by name would not be included.
3) The route must be open to general public travel by car. Any roads behind the gates of a state prison, drivers license testing courses, busways, etc. would not be included.
4) The route must be a road or segment of road in its own right. Route numbers applied to interchanges, wye roadways, rest areas, parking lots, etc. would not be included. Ferries are also out of scope here (though this is another item for separate future consideration)
5) The route must not duplicate an existing route already mapped in another system. Hidden internal designations for US and interstate highways would not be included. Nor would roads already in usasf, though in some cases the unsigned system may be deemed a better home for the route than usasf.
6) The main focus should be on unsigned routes that are officially in the same system as signed routes which are already mapped. Administratively separate systems that are entirely unsigned should be excluded unless there is particular community interest to include them.

Below is some (incomplete, need to do more research to fill out list) idea of how things would stack up against the above criteria in different states.

AL: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. However all except one (AL 300) run afoul of criteria 5. Map this one.
AK: Unsigned routes includes basically every road outside of an incorporated city. Do not map.
AR:
AZ: Does not currently have any unsigned routes since 989 was deleted in 2012. No action needed.
CA: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5.
CO: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5.
CT: Has a fairly extensive system of unsigned routes which is administratively distinct, but all are public roads in their own right. Consider mapping.
DE: Unsigned routes includes basically every road outside of an incorporated city. Do not map.
DC: Unsigned routes includes, inherently, every single city street. Do not map.
FL: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5 (many will run afoul of criteria 5).
GA:
HI:
ID:
IL:
IN:
IA:
KS:
KY: Has a fair number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5.
LA: Has a fair number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5.
ME: Has exactly two unsigned routes with numbers, both are already in usasf. All other state-maintained roads that aren't part of signed routes are unnumbered. No action needed.
MD: Has a large number of unsigned routes, many of them of vanishing significance. However, not administratively distinct from those signed. Consider mapping (maybe only some of them?)
MA: All state-maintained roads that aren't part of signed routes are unnumbered. No action needed.
MI:
MN:
MS: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5.
MO: Has an extremely extensive secondary system which is mostly (entirely?) signed and not included, so continue not including these. Are there any unsigned primary routes?
MT: Has a modest number of unsigned secondary routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5. Also has an entirely unsigned administratively separate system of urban routes. Probably do not map these.
NE: Has a system of recreation routes which is entirely unsigned. Probably do not map these. Are there any unsigned primary routes or links/spurs?
NV: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5.
NH: All state-maintained roads that aren't part of signed routes are unnumbered. No action needed.
NJ: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5.
NM:
NY: Has a fairly extensive system of unsigned routes which is administratively distinct. Some will definitely run afoul of criteria 3-5, but there may be interest in others. Consider mapping.
NC: Has an extremely extensive administratively distinct system of unsigned routes which is pretty much every thru road outside of city limits. Do not map.
ND:
OH: Has a fair number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. However, most are of vanishing significance and those that aren't are already in usasf. Probably take no action.
OK:
OR: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. All are already in usaor due to an acknowledged intention of ODOT to add signs to them all eventually, so no action needed other than flagging which are currently unsigned in whatever manner we decide upon.
PA: Has an extremely extensive administratively distinct system of unsigned routes which is pretty much every thru road of any modest significance. Do not map.
RI: All state-maintained roads that aren't part of signed routes are unnumbered. No action needed.
SC: Has an extremely extensive administratively distinct system of unsigned routes which is pretty much every thru road outside of city limits. Do not map.
SD:
TN:
TX: Has a bunch of different systems as it is. Some unsigned routes exist but mostly in the park road and principal arterial systems which are not mapped. May not require much action.
UT: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5 (some will run afoul of criteria 3).
VT: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5.
VA: Has a modest number of unsigned primary routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5 (some will run afoul of criteria 3). Many more unsigned routes are in the state's extremely extensive secondary system where we're not even including the signed routes, so the unsigned ones are out.
WA: Does not have any fully unsigned routes that aren't ferries, but does have exactly one route which is not in usawa due to... quirkiness. Map this one route (but it really should be classified as signed since it technically is).
WV: Has a couple of unsigned primary routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map these. Many more unsigned routes are in the state's extremely extensive secondary and tertiary systems where we're not even including the signed routes, so the unsigned ones are out.
WI:
WY:


« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 07:42:10 pm by Duke87 »

Offline mapmikey

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2021, 07:17:22 am »
I agree with the characterizations of NC, SC and VA. 

SC does have a few unposted primary routes of length (US 52 Spur and some of the CONN routes which are not short Wyes)

For the secondary systems of these states I would never want to attempt putting these into TM as full systems.  NC does have a special secondary system that is more prominently posted (10xx routes) which could realistically be added someday, though it would still be 300-400 routes to add.   The only secondary routes one could consider for SC and VA would be a select group of former primary highways.  This is far in the future kind of stuff if at all.

I don't maintain MD but that will be full of decisions on which unposted primary routes to add.  Ones with sole numbers (no suffixes) could be one way to weed out.  Some are not driveable roads anyway.

Offline neroute2

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2021, 11:00:48 am »
KY has a number of minor routes in the main numbering that happen to be unsigned. Sometimes someone drives past and reports that a route is now signed where it previously was not. Some of these numbers are assigned to old covered bridges to keep them state maintained.
KY also has (unsigned) 6xxx routes, which are rural frontage roads built next to parkways to continue to provide public access to other minor county roads.

OR has at least one highway that's not currently mapped due to ODOT not assigning it a route number: Highway 50 east of Merrill to Malin.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 11:05:05 am by neroute2 »

Offline Markkos1992

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2021, 11:29:37 am »
I agree with PA and DE.  I would state that PA 299 would violate rule 4 as it is only a railroad bridge in Erie at this point.

Quote
The only secondary routes one could consider for SC and VA would be a select group of former primary highways.  This is far in the future kind of stuff if at all.

I have thought about adding very select secondary routes with very high importance such as SR 620 (Braddock Rd-Fairfax County), SR 604 (Courthouse Rd/Genito Rd-Chesterfield County), SR 653 (Courthouse Rd-Chesterfield County), etc.; however, I would admit that this is mostly out of self-interest and nostalgia.

If only VA 147 was extended south along SR 653 to US 360 years ago...

« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 11:37:28 am by Markkos1992 »

Offline formulanone

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2021, 11:31:54 am »
I think putting it into its own inactive system might be the best option.

Alabama has an SR 300 which hasn't been signed since it's adoption by ALDOT 2016. I'm not aware of any others, though "304" is expected to be applied to an existing route after it gets widened. (See the town of Fosters at the bottom-left corner of this ALDOT PDF for details.)

Tennessee might have a few; sometimes mile markers display on some short unsigned or moved route.

Mississippi might have a lot of these; some sections are partially county-maintained, some are fully county-maintained, and others just don't have a sign even though MDOT lists them with start and endpoints with a map.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2021, 06:42:41 pm by formulanone »

Offline Jim

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2021, 12:35:01 pm »
I think putting it into its own inactive system might be the best option.

There was mention in one of the recent threads that a route, I think something in Utah?, would be useful to have in TM as a reference for people to see its route plotted, but not something that would ever become "clinchable".

I suppose a new category for systems would be possible, mostly equivalent to devel, minus the expectation that it would some day be completed to gain preview status and finalized to gain active status.  But that kind of thing might make more sense as a separate instance of TM.

Offline US 89

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2021, 04:29:02 pm »
Count me in as one of the users who would like to see unsigned primary state highways added.

There was mention in one of the recent threads that a route, I think something in Utah?, would be useful to have in TM as a reference for people to see its route plotted, but not something that would ever become "clinchable".

That would have been UT 900 and 901, which are a pair of designations for a set of BLM and county roads in the middle of nowhere that were added as "public safety interest highways" in order to prevent a nuclear waste carrying rail line from being constructed. Unlike every other state route in Utah, they are not state maintained but are still officially on the books.

I don't see why they shouldn't be clinchable, even though I personally believe one could claim a clinch of Utah without them. Perhaps routes like those could go in an entirely separate unsigned system that could be "turned off" should a user desire, separate from the other unsigned routes (most of which are relatively short routes serving various state parks and institutions).

Indeed, for various reasons, I do not envision every stretch of state-maintained road in the country being mapped. I would propose the following criteria for consideration:
...
5) The route must not duplicate an existing route already mapped in another system. Hidden internal designations for US and interstate highways would not be included. Nor would roads already in usasf, though in some cases the unsigned system may be deemed a better home for the route than usasf.

I agree with almost everything in here except for criteria 5. What particular reason would there be to excluding a route like GA 401 (the state designation for I-75)? It is a state route just like any other Georgia state route, but GDOT just elects not to sign it (even while they sign every one of their SR underlays on US routes).

The benefit here would be to allow users to obtain a list of designated route numbers they've been on, not just mileage. Given the existence of a 17-page thread on this topic on the AARoads forum, this is probably something worthy of consideration.

Offline cl94

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2021, 06:16:06 pm »
I would be in favor of adding at least some unsigned routes, both for my own purposes and to help consolidate this knowledge into one place on the internet as a reference to road enthusiasts.

Let me add my insight here:

NJ: Almost everything is a distinct route in its own right, with the notable exceptions of 444S and 445S, which are glorified ramps. Most of these "unsigned" routes are now signed in some fashion, either with enhanced mileposts or overhead street name signs, but not independent shields. 444, 445, 446, 446X, 700 already in usasf. Other than the aforementioned seven, worth including. Exact termini are shown on NJDOT SLDs.

NY: The reference route system...most of those are not worth including (nor do I think most are necessary to clinch the state), but there are a few exceptions that I will highlight and may warrant inclusion.

- NY 990V: everyone's favorite reference route, this bad boy is signed as well as a normal touring route. The history behind this is that Conesville wanted a signed route and NYSDOT didn't feel like changing the number. Worth including.
- NY 961F: the western version of NY 990V. Few (if any) signs pointing to it from intersecting roads, but the road itself is signed pretty well with shields. Story here is that NY 70 was moved to take over NY 70A and the former alignment was demoted to ref route status, but the town(s) involved didn't want to lose a signed route. Worth including.
- Walden Avenue (NY 952Q): This is notable as the longest non-parkway reference route in the state (14.08 miles). Major east-west arterial in Erie County that for some reason was not given a touring route number when transferred to the state in 1980. Arguably, it's more important than parallel NY 33 through Lancaster and western Alden. May be worth including due to length (it's longer than half of usany).
- Mount Read Boulevard (NY 940K): Expressway-esque arterial in western Rochester with multiple interchanges. Much of it is limited-access, roughly 4 miles long. Potentially worth including due to being partially limited-access.

Outside of these 4, I don't think any reference routes are notable enough to include, unless you wanted to toss in the stubs of the Northway (may theoretically be folded into I-87 in the long-long term, pay attention to any developments with Exit 24) and South Mall Expressway (mostly concurrent with US 20 anyway). There are a couple of freeway-grade county routes downstate, but I'll leave those aside for now because they are county routes and thus not required to claim a NY clinch.

OH: There is a series of unsigned primary routes, all designated with suffixes. These are almost exclusively minor connectors and not worth including. Almost anything significant is already in usasf. International Gateway in Columbus may be worth adding to usasf, but I will leave that open to discussion and have no real opinion.

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.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 06:50:37 pm by cl94 »

Offline Duke87

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2021, 07:37:58 pm »
Count me in as one of the users who would like to see unsigned primary state highways added.

There was mention in one of the recent threads that a route, I think something in Utah?, would be useful to have in TM as a reference for people to see its route plotted, but not something that would ever become "clinchable".

That would have been UT 900 and 901 {...}

I don't see why they shouldn't be clinchable, even though I personally believe one could claim a clinch of Utah without them.

Indeed. You will need a Jeep or an ATV, but UT 900 and 901 are driveable public roads. I would consider these as passing the criteria for inclusion, even if the definition of "car" is being forced a little for criteria 3.

Quote
I agree with almost everything in here except for criteria 5. What particular reason would there be to excluding a route like GA 401 (the state designation for I-75)? It is a state route just like any other Georgia state route, but GDOT just elects not to sign it (even while they sign every one of their SR underlays on US routes).

Well, because we're not excluding GA 401... it's already mapped as I-75. Why map it twice? This is clutter and extra work to maintain (any adjustments to I-75 would now also need to be made to GA 401 too).

Also, while this isn't an issue for GA, it would be a huge can of worms for FL, TN, and possibly another state or two where you have routes that are mostly hidden designations for interstates or US highways except for a short section or two where the routes diverge and the state route is signed. Take FL 400 for example. The signed portion east of I-95 is already in usafl, but internally the designation also covers the entire length of I-4. Do we extend FL 400 to cover its entire paper length, and if so do we mark it as a signed route? Do we leave the unsigned portion out? Do we create a separate route for the unsigned portion? This is a mess that I at least do not care to wade into.

"Allow people to track every route number they've been on" is a fair point I will acknowledge, but it doesn't seem to quite be worth all of the trouble of the above.



I've added some commentary to the OP about AL, KY, and OH based on what others have said. Feel free to keep the thoughts coming.

« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 07:42:31 pm by Duke87 »

Offline bejacob

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2021, 08:26:02 pm »
Is there a point of adding unsigned state routes that are entirely concurrent with routes already in another system (see the aforementioned GA401)?

Count me on the side of not including unsigned routes.

Might there be exceptions like the one being contemplated for unsigned Interstates? Possibly. The default position should be to exclude unsigned routes unless there is a very compelling reason to include them.

Offline rickmastfan67

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2021, 08:50:42 pm »
FL: Has a modest number of unsigned routes, not administratively distinct from those signed. Map unless any run afoul of criteria 3-5 (many will run afoul of criteria 5).

Many? I would think 98% would that are unsigned to be honest.

Only 100% true unsigned highway that comes to mind right now in FL, is FL-5054.

Offline US 89

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2021, 09:03:49 pm »
Is there a point of adding unsigned state routes that are entirely concurrent with routes already in another system (see the aforementioned GA401)?

See my post above - it allow users to track all the numbered routes they've been on. Although the mileage is covered already, a lot of people are also interested in keeping track of their route numbers.

Well, because we're not excluding GA 401... it's already mapped as I-75. Why map it twice? This is clutter and extra work to maintain (any adjustments to I-75 would now also need to be made to GA 401 too).

Not like this isn't already an issue for every single US highway in the state, of which there are many...

Also, while this isn't an issue for GA, it would be a huge can of worms for FL, TN, and possibly another state or two where you have routes that are mostly hidden designations for interstates or US highways except for a short section or two where the routes diverge and the state route is signed. Take FL 400 for example. The signed portion east of I-95 is already in usafl, but internally the designation also covers the entire length of I-4. Do we extend FL 400 to cover its entire paper length, and if so do we mark it as a signed route? Do we leave the unsigned portion out? Do we create a separate route for the unsigned portion? This is a mess that I at least do not care to wade into.

Personally I think it would be really nice to have TM available as a resource to track unsigned portions of routes. This becomes even more of a benefit when a route has multiple signed sections separated by unsigned portions. TN 8 is a good example here - it has two signed sections separated by an unsigned portion where it is concurrent with US 127, and then another unsigned portion concurrent with various US highways to the Georgia line. It would be really nice to have a visual for TN 8 through Chattanooga that doesn't involve perusing and deciphering Wikipedia descriptions (which may not exist for all routes) or hunting down DOT maps that aren't necessarily in great detail.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 09:22:46 pm by US 89 »

Offline vdeane

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2021, 09:12:56 pm »
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.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

Offline oscar

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2021, 10:13:19 pm »
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.

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).

At least in the southern part of the province, Saskatchewan is really reliable about signing its primary routes. Every time I heard about an unsigned southern primary route, it turned out that it wasn't an official route at all. I'm unsure about the northern primary routes, but then I haven't omitted any of them from the HB. There are other provincially-maintained systems (unnumbered access roads, 900-series northern secondary highways) not in the HB at all, even those known to have some route number signage.

British Columbia, I'd need to do some checking later.

Yukon has two unsigned primary routes, YT 14 and YT 15, plus a multitude of probably unsigned secondary routes (but I never had occasion to drive any of them, except one that got absorbed into YT 6). While I'm inclined to cut some slack on the unsigned routes rule in the Arctic, Yukon has the best route signage in the North American Arctic, and junction signage for YT 14 and YT 15 seemed to go out of its way to avoid posting a route number for those routes, so I was comfortable leaving them out of the HB.

Northwest Territories has only one current numbered but perhaps unsigned route, NT 10, but it's in the HB anyway. It wasn't signed by the time I got up there. At that point, construction crews were still busy reconstructing the road after it turned into a quagmire the spring after the road opened, and I guess route markers were way down on the list of priorities.

Nunavut? No territorial highway system (the few, short roads, outside territorial parks and Federal installations, are all municipally-maintained), so we don't have any route sets for that territory.

I need to curl back to my U.S. jurisdictions (AK, HI, CA, NV, NM) later this week.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 10:34:02 pm by oscar »

Offline cl94

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Re: Unsigned State Routes
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2021, 10:43:22 pm »
Just thinking out loud here, some other things that might streamline unsigned routes if we ever get to that point:

1) To make things easy, unsigned routes should probably go in a system titled "US select unsigned state highways" or similar. Put routes for every state in that one system (similar to the national park highways, Europe tourist routes, etc.) to make it easy to turn the system on/off. There will probably be few enough routes for a single system to handle it.

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.

3) The "select" aspect is key. Using the criteria set forth by Duke87 (which I generally agree with), there are probably less than 200 routes across the country that would qualify (excluding the mess known as Maryland, which is its own can of worms), maybe even under 100. Almost all of these are well-defined with GIS shapefiles, straight line diagrams, enabling legislation, route logs, and/or various markings in the field (mileposts, etc.).

4) Signed routes that become unsigned but remain official would automatically qualify as a "select unsigned highway". A benefit of this is that it would allow us to quickly move routes between the signed and unsigned systems if the status changes and people wouldn't suddenly run into list file errors or lose credit for something they drove.

5) For the states where numbered but unsigned routes are considered to be in a different system by the state DOT but may still be worth including (NY and CT come to mind), maybe set length or notability criteria for inclusion (i.e. reference routes and SSRs/SRs over a certain length qualify, expressways/limited-access highways qualify, signed reference routes qualify, etc.). Such would allow us to have the "important routes", but ignore the short connectors that serve little purpose on their own.