Road-Geeky Things Of The Past That You Miss...

Started by thenetwork, February 28, 2024, 02:57:34 PM

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This is a thread to reminisce about road things you remember when you were younger that aren't around anymore, either due to technology upgrades, changes to MUTCD requirements, etc...

Growing up in and around NE Ohio in the 70s and 80s, before I could drive, there were so many different types of traffic signals in use from different manufacturers all around the area.  In most cases, there were signals from the 1940s to the then-present day, mostly made out of metal with glass lenses.  I recall most towns/suburbs in my area were not completely "uniform" in the signal brands they hung at the various intersections or assembled for crosswalks.

As roads were widened or intersections that had got busier, many of these municipalities would add an additional (turning arrow) segment to the existing signal making them odd-looking "Frankensignals", or mix brands when adding additional signals due to widenings.

Back in those days in NE Ohio, it was a literal who's who of signal manufacturers and models.

By the time the 90s came about, cities were upgrading their signals en masse, using a single maker/model for all their intersections -- mostly made of non-metal and a plainer looking light than those of the past, with all 12-inch heads.

Thank goodness for all of the online sites that pay tribute to all those signal models of the past and those who took photos of the old-timer lights that are/still in the wild in places.

Other things you miss from the roadgeek past???


The few remaining flashing greens in Massachusetts. That said, they're not quite gone yet...

Traveled, plus
US 13,44,50
MA 14,22,40,107,109,117,119,123,126,141,159
NH 27, 111A(E); CA 133; NY 366; GA 42, 140; FL A1A, 7; CT 32; VT 2A, 5A; PA 3, 51, 60, QC 162, 165, 263; UK A100, A3211, A3213, A3215, A4222; FR95 D316

Lowest untraveled: 25 (updated from 14)



Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.


I-95 dead ending in New Jersey as confusing as it was.
Decommission 128 south of Peabody!

Lowest untraveled number: 56



Virginia used to post the majority of road signs (other than street blades) that weren't on overhead assemblies using spiffy-looking white wooden posts. Those are long gone and I don't remember the last time I saw one actually in use; nowadays they use metal, which is probably better in terms of not unnecessarily cutting down trees but doesn't have the classy look that the white posts did. (Note that there is also a place in Virginia named "White Post," so a Google search would likely turn up a fair amount of irrelevant stuff.)

Cutout route shields are another bygone standard I liked.
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"
—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.


The old Mountain Parkway shield with the tree and Bert T. Combs banner.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.



Concrete highways, incandescent traffic signals, and worded pedestrian signals.
It's all fun & games until someone summons Cthulhu and brings about the end of the world.

I also collect traffic lights, road signs, fans, and railroad crossing equipment.



Wooden posts painted black and white by the side of the road, in lieu of guardrails.

Big John

When care was taken to make traffic signals look attractive.  Most are now ugly utilitarian clones.


Jokes about the duration of construction of the Union City, TN bypass

Max Rockatansky

The McDonald's in the middle of the Chicago Skyway.


Quote from: Max Rockatansky on February 28, 2024, 05:16:27 PM
The McDonald's in the middle of the Chicago Skyway.

Yes. I once had to call my wife from the outdoor payphone in its parking lot.


The AAA triptik that my parents used to get for long road trips.


Chris Sampang

Big John

Un-neutered shields, and I mean more than just Interstate highway signs.


Quote from: Max Rockatansky on February 28, 2024, 05:16:27 PM
The McDonald's in the middle of the Chicago Skyway.

How about the McDonalds over I-44?


Keep right except to pass.  Yes.  You.
Visit scenic Orleans County, NY!
Male pronouns, please.

Quote from: Philip K. DickIf you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.


Quote from: Rothman on February 28, 2024, 04:05:54 PM
The old Mountain Parkway shield with the tree and Bert T. Combs banner.

The old Mountain Parkway shield without the Bert T. Combs banner.

The cutout Daniel Boone Parkway signage.

The old Kentucky parkway signs without the politicians' names or the "Unbridled Spirit" logo that were different colors (blue on white for the BG, white on blue for the WK, the oversized P for Purchase (blue) and Pennyrile (green), C for Cumberland (blue), A for Audubon (brown), etc.)

Square signs instead of rectangular ones for three-digit US routes and three- and four-digit Kentucky state routes.

Government would be tolerable if not for politicians and bureaucrats.

Great Lakes Roads

Getting the tickets at the various toll roads.



The Georgia welcome signs that mentioned the Olympics

The Old Man of the Mountain (the basis for NH's route marker)

AAA TripTiks on paper

MT Reasonable & Prudent speed limit

Metric specifications in the MUTCD

States that changed from sequential (or no numbering, as in CA) to mile/distance exit numbers non-controversially (once it got to the point where all the sequential states were Northeastern, it seems that whenever that change is proposed in any of the remaining states, it gets political opposition based on it being a "waste" of money)

Clearview font being non-existent
Control cities CAN be off the route! Control cities make NO sense if signs end before the city is reached!

Travel Mapping - Most Traveled: I-40, 20, 10, 5, 95 - Longest Clinched: I-20, 85, 24, 16, NJ Tpk mainline
Champions - UGA FB '21 '22 - Atlanta Braves '95 '21 - Atlanta MLS '18


Yellow business route shields in Wisconsin.  Also, wayside rest areas in Wisconsin.  Another is the route shields over distant mileage signs, also route shields over the big black on yellow curve 'arrow' signs in Wisconsin.



NJ's busy traffic circles, capable of being two or three lanes wide, with no striping whatsoever.

The traffic meters a few hundred feet before reaching the circle, which was simply a standard traffic light that would allow some traffic into the circle, turn yellow, then red, then green again to let more traffic approach the circle.


The Crimefighter streetlights of Chicago. Sure, a few other places also had them, but they set the Windy City apart from every other big city in the nation.
Go Cubs Go! Go Cubs Go! Hey Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are gonna win today!

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