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Author Topic: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?  (Read 2366 times)

thsftw

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Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« on: November 29, 2022, 04:40:11 PM »

I have to admit, I wish that other states used the cutout shields like California at least on US highways. Anyone know what the reason is that California uses them on the US highways and state highways? I know Interstate are cutout in any state they're in.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2022, 05:11:00 PM »

the reason

As far as I know, they simply never stopped.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2022, 05:13:12 PM »

Virginia also uses cutout US highway shields but they are not the same as ones in CA nor do they conform to any standard. You can find pictures of some in the Road Sign Uno thread (search US 52/460).

Otherwise there might be another state that uses cutout shields for their state route/highway design?
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2022, 05:57:57 PM »

the reason

As far as I know, they simply never stopped.

Correct, California never did stop.  The US Route shield and California State Route shield are close to the same spec as they were in 1964. 

The green spade fared well in visibility tests in snow and fog.  Said reason was even cited in a 1964 CHPW volume about what the spade changed from white.  Apparently yellow also tested very well for visibility.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2022, 06:52:25 PM »

Virginia also uses cutout US highway shields but they are not the same as ones in CA nor do they conform to any standard. You can find pictures of some in the Road Sign Uno thread (search US 52/460).

Is Virginia still installing new cutout US Route markers?

Otherwise there might be another state that uses cutout shields for their state route/highway design?

Maine uses cutouts for their state route shields.  Here is an example.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2022, 09:00:06 PM »

California's cut-out US shield design for sign posts is a bit different than the old cut-out shields formerly used in other states long ago. The treatments on big green signs are pretty unique looking too.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2022, 10:22:38 PM »

California's cut-out US shield design for sign posts is a bit different than the old cut-out shields formerly used in other states long ago. The treatments on big green signs are pretty unique looking too.

Well, yes and no.

A vague timeline is as follows:
- 1926: the first US shields are created as a federal standard. state name/US/number, block font, cutout, 18"
- 1948: the 18" cutout shields are changed to use the modern FHWA Series round fonts but are otherwise the same in layout and content. At the same time, an "oversize" shield is introduced, 24", with just the number, with the shield outline on a white square blank. The guidance in the 1948 MUTCD suggests using the oversize shields at junctions and the cutout shields as reassurance markers.
- 1957: AASHO issues a supplemental document with guidance on Interstate System signage. This is where the cutout shield with US and number but no state name came from. Several states adopt it, including California, but notably also Colorado. California adopts the AASHO shield for all independent-mount contexts, not just the freeway usage it was intended for.
- 1961: the MUTCD eliminates the cutout shield, using the oversize shield in all contexts. Background color changes from white to black. California ignores this and keeps using the AASHO shield.
- 1970: the shield outline is adjusted to make the use of wider series fonts more practical. This is the shield that 49 states use today. Caltrans couldn't care less.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2022, 10:41:38 PM »

I know Interstate are cutout in any state they're in.

Wisconsin would like to have a word with you.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2022, 10:41:44 PM »

Yet Florida in 1994 caved into the feds an eliminated their colored route shields for the current 49.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2022, 11:01:22 PM »

California is because Caltrans wants to be different. See also: the cutout "one way" signs, the "XX ZONE AHEAD" speed reduction signs, and the fog line flare before interchanges in some places.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2022, 11:32:16 PM »

A lot of why California does certain signs differently is an artifact of signage standards dating back to the ACSC and CSAA signing highways.  The Division of Highways was very resistant to a lot of the standards established in the early Federal MUTCD versions, especially signage with colors.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2022, 11:39:29 PM »

Virginia also uses cutout US highway shields but they are not the same as ones in CA nor do they conform to any standard. You can find pictures of some in the Road Sign Uno thread (search US 52/460).

Is Virginia still installing new cutout US Route markers?
As best I can tell, the most recent one was installed by the city of Hopewell a little less than a decade ago, as a carbon copy of the cutout that was in the same location before.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2022, 12:46:42 AM »

A lot of why California does certain signs differently is an artifact of signage standards dating back to the ACSC and CSAA signing highways.  The Division of Highways was very resistant to a lot of the standards established in the early Federal MUTCD versions, especially signage with colors.

This. I also get the impression that a lot of it is from Caltrans having had to invent a lot of their own standards, due to doing a lot of things years before any other state did (this is especially true of freeway signing). Since they were the first to do a lot of things, their way of doing things got adopted as the first pass at a national standard. Then, when the standards change, they don't feel much of a need to catch up with everyone else. And thus, you get the Caltrans Cinematic Universe™.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2022, 02:16:23 AM »

California is because Caltrans wants to be different. See also: the cutout "one way" signs, the "XX ZONE AHEAD" speed reduction signs, and the fog line flare before interchanges in some places.

California is in their own universe in other ways to, but that’s for a social media debate or on another forum, but they were the last to add exit numbers to interstates. They still won’t use conventional mileposts and use black on white posts resetting at each county line with numbers displayed their own way. Then they have their own traffic lights set ups with all mast arms and back plates.

These say that they have their own set ways and I guess you can say that they’re stubborn. However one can say that NJ is equally stubborn with their own jug handles and full serve gas.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2022, 04:23:24 AM »

I will say that California, for as unique as they are in some respects compared to other US states, still has standards that are very identifiably American in every single way. The differences, at the end of the day, are incredibly minor. It's ultimately why I don't think the FHWA will ever come after them (not anymore at least).

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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2022, 04:41:55 AM »

California also has a massive base of installed signage using their preferred standards. Even if FHWA did want to drop the hammer on them, it would take decades and a billion dollars to bring them into compliance.

It would also be pretty hard for FHWA to justify dinging Caltrans for their deviations from standard while turning a blind eye to TxDOT's use of Clearview against the terms of the 2011 Clearview circular and ODOT and NMDOT's everything.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2022, 10:34:32 AM »

I've noticed that SC has a unique way of signing its US routes, with the roads themselves getting the regulation shield with the black background, but on the freeway BGS's, the shields are somewhat similar to CA, with a black outline but no letters above the numbers. Could it be that someone from SCDOT was impressed with Caltrans' work, so they decided to adopt it as their own?
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2022, 11:35:15 AM »

I've noticed that SC has a unique way of signing its US routes, with the roads themselves getting the regulation shield with the black background, but on the freeway BGS's, the shields are somewhat similar to CA, with a black outline but no letters above the numbers. Could it be that someone from SCDOT was impressed with Caltrans' work, so they decided to adopt it as their own?

If I'm not mistaken, that is the MUTCD standard. For example:

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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2022, 03:19:18 PM »

No, Henry means something like this (photo courtesy of TheStranger, and ganked from another thread):


Note that the shield has a black outline. It also has a totally different shape and aspect ratio than the federal standard wide US route shield.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2022, 11:47:23 AM »

No, Henry means something like this (photo courtesy of TheStranger, and ganked from another thread):


Note that the shield has a black outline. It also has a totally different shape and aspect ratio than the federal standard wide US route shield.

Ah. It's not the California stuff I was confused about, but the South Carolina stuff. When I was looking on Google Street View to see what Henry was talking about, I stumbled on one of the few signs that follows the MUTCD standard, or I didn't look closely enough to see that it didn't, and then went on from there.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2022, 07:18:37 PM »

FYI, this is a random interchange from SC that'll prove my point:

https://www.google.com/maps/@33.9347128,-81.080524,3a,75y,116.86h,84.61t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1snQK7B_6a_h0qjli1iVj2Xg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

The similarities in the shields serve as evidence that Caltrans was the inspiration behind them. (But once again, the MUTCD shields are used on the highways themselves.)
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2022, 07:58:58 PM »

Then they have their own traffic lights set ups with all mast arms and back plates.

This is not unique to California at all. Arizona has a very similar standard right down to even the curved mast arms. Utah has also been full of curved mast arms and backplates for years though their traditional setup does look a little different. A ridiculous number of states are almost all mast arms with backplates if you include places that use straight mastarms - including almost all of the rest of the West and a lot of the Midwest too.

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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2022, 11:43:53 PM »

California also has a massive base of installed signage using their preferred standards. Even if FHWA did want to drop the hammer on them, it would take decades and a billion dollars to bring them into compliance.

It would also be pretty hard for FHWA to justify dinging Caltrans for their deviations from standard while turning a blind eye to TxDOT's use of Clearview against the terms of the 2011 Clearview circular and ODOT and NMDOT's everything.
Which ODOT? I'm assuming you meant Ohio and not Oregon?
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2022, 08:17:52 PM »

California also has a massive base of installed signage using their preferred standards. Even if FHWA did want to drop the hammer on them, it would take decades and a billion dollars to bring them into compliance.

It would also be pretty hard for FHWA to justify dinging Caltrans for their deviations from standard while turning a blind eye to TxDOT's use of Clearview against the terms of the 2011 Clearview circular and ODOT and NMDOT's everything.
Which ODOT? I'm assuming you meant Ohio and not Oregon?

Probably Oklahoma, where Scott5114 lives.
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Re: Is California the only state to use cutout shields, and why?
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2022, 08:42:41 PM »

California also has a massive base of installed signage using their preferred standards. Even if FHWA did want to drop the hammer on them, it would take decades and a billion dollars to bring them into compliance.

It would also be pretty hard for FHWA to justify dinging Caltrans for their deviations from standard while turning a blind eye to TxDOT's use of Clearview against the terms of the 2011 Clearview circular and ODOT and NMDOT's everything.
Which ODOT? I'm assuming you meant Ohio and not Oregon?

Probably Oklahoma, where Scott5114 lives.

And known along with neighboring New Mexico to produce some of the strangest signs known to man.

 


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