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Poll

Is landscaping highways considered a distraction?

Yes
- 5 (19.2%)
No
- 21 (80.8%)

Total Members Voted: 26


Author Topic: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction  (Read 1605 times)

tolbs17

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Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« on: January 18, 2022, 02:51:20 AM »

I asked this because this interchange has a VERY attractive design when it was landscaped in 2009.

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6567643,-80.4599394,3a,75y,35.15h,89.44t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s39Y3OKJwBCIZrohfNUY7bA!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3D39Y3OKJwBCIZrohfNUY7bA%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D74.1682%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192

Compare it to this older imagery, nothing has been done and it looks bland.

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6569568,-80.459081,3a,90y,279.89h,95.68t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPf-BWBOwi0S6Dfdzj-Unsw!2e0!7i3328!8i1664

With landscaping being done I feel like it's an extra distraction to drivers that don't want to keep their eyes on the road. So I'm asking this question whether if landscaping highways is a distraction or not! It's obviously not to pedestrians and cyclists!
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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2022, 02:56:52 AM »

A few bushes and trees are not going to distract drivers already buried in their phones. It probably does help with driving fatigue at least.

I've seen landscaping used to block certain views from the freeway that could actually distract or obstruct visibility (especially when the sun is aligned with oncoming traffic).

tolbs17

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2022, 03:04:52 AM »

I've seen landscaping used to block certain views from the freeway that could actually distract or obstruct visibility (especially when the sun is aligned with oncoming traffic).
So that can be considered both yes and no.

Landscaping highways is supposed to give people a more enjoyable ride and scenery.
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Scott5114

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2022, 03:18:25 AM »

I've seen landscaping used to block certain views from the freeway that could actually distract or obstruct visibility (especially when the sun is aligned with oncoming traffic).
So that can be considered both yes and no.

Only if you don't read what he actually wrote. He's saying landscaping can be used to keep people from being distracted.

If landscaping was considered a distraction, it wouldn't be a part of nearly every major highway project of the last couple of decades.

Landscaping can also be used to help stabilize slopes, prevent soil erosion, and reduce noise impacts on surrounding areas, so it has a lot of important uses. It can also be a source of civic pride.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2022, 07:49:30 AM »

No, it actually can help some facilities not feel so draconian.  A good example would be AZ 5q before and after ADOT put beautification money into it.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2022, 09:08:57 AM »

I've seen landscaping used to block certain views from the freeway that could actually distract or obstruct visibility (especially when the sun is aligned with oncoming traffic).
So that can be considered both yes and no.

Landscaping highways is supposed to give people a more enjoyable ride and scenery.

Depends what the landscaping is. 

In this case, it's nothing more than just some trees and bushes.  While it adds some scenery to the area, there's nothing distracting about it.  In some areas of the country, trees and bushes would grow wild and this is something that would occur naturally if left to do so.

Now, if it's a case of planting wildflowers, that could be more of a distraction especially when they're in full bloom.
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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2022, 09:10:30 AM »

Now, if it's a case of planting wildflowers, that could be more of a distraction especially when they're in full bloom.

I remember just south of Franconia Notch on I-93, there were some sunflowers in the median. I think they were natural, but I'm not entirely sure. There were a few cars parked on the side of the Interstate, and these people crossed two lanes of freeway traffic to get to the median and pick some sunflowers.
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Big John

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2022, 05:55:32 PM »

Landscaped roundabouts can block seeing all around the circle.
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tolbs17

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2022, 08:20:41 PM »

Landscaped roundabouts can block seeing all around the circle.
True, because nothing has been done here: https://goo.gl/maps/YayepeA44ufDVSqD8
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tolbs17

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2022, 08:21:46 PM »

So when reading this thread, looking at vehicles is more of a distraction than looking at nice flowers/bushes/trees. That's my guess.
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roadfro

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2022, 12:40:59 AM »



Landscaping can also be used to help stabilize slopes, prevent soil erosion, and reduce noise impacts on surrounding areas, so it has a lot of important uses. It can also be a source of civic pride.

These are all valid reasons.

Additionally, I believe there have been studies that show landscaped highway environments decrease road rage and also lead to less instances of vandalism.

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2022, 10:26:20 AM »

So billboards, signs and statues don't count as landscaping? Because if they are, then there can be too much of a good thing.

I've come to love the new landscaping projects where the medians are decorated with flowers. Compared to those, a jersey barrier is just plain boring.
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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2022, 10:29:14 AM »

I've seen landscaping used to block certain views from the freeway that could actually distract or obstruct visibility (especially when the sun is aligned with oncoming traffic).
So that can be considered both yes and no.

Landscaping highways is supposed to give people a more enjoyable ride and scenery.

Depends what the landscaping is. 

In this case, it's nothing more than just some trees and bushes.  While it adds some scenery to the area, there's nothing distracting about it.  In some areas of the country, trees and bushes would grow wild and this is something that would occur naturally if left to do so.

Now, if it's a case of planting wildflowers, that could be more of a distraction especially when they're in full bloom.

Actually I’ve seen signs in a number of medians instructing crews not to mow because there were wildflowers blooming there. Native wildflowers are an important part of the ecosystem, and generally subtle enough not to cause a hazard.
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cjw2001

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2022, 12:18:04 PM »

Landscaped roundabouts can block seeing all around the circle.
Which is a good thing, as you should be looking at traffic coming from the left and not at traffic that doesn't impact your yield.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9777655,-86.1652741,3a,75y,79.02h,75.74t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s9I0SBh_09Mc3LZhQ4RhvMQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
« Last Edit: January 19, 2022, 12:20:17 PM by cjw2001 »
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GaryV

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2022, 02:42:53 PM »

So billboards, signs //snip// don't count as landscaping?
Lady Bird Johnson is turning over in her grave.
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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2022, 02:47:50 PM »

On another note, some places landscape roads as a way to slow drivers down. Definitely not done on highways, but mostly on 2 lane roads through busy areas. Better way than setting the speed limit artificially low without changing the physical road conditions imo.
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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2022, 07:39:52 AM »

It makes my personal drive pleasurable.
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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2022, 10:25:15 AM »

Now, if it's a case of planting wildflowers, that could be more of a distraction especially when they're in full bloom.

I remember just south of Franconia Notch on I-93, there were some sunflowers in the median. I think they were natural, but I'm not entirely sure. There were a few cars parked on the side of the Interstate, and these people crossed two lanes of freeway traffic to get to the median and pick some sunflowers.

I've discussed this with someone of intimate knowledge of this, and they are grown there but the state is thinking of killing them off because they're afraid someone is going to get killed. Daily in the fall they're out there screaming at people to stop running across the highway to take pictures. It goes hand-in-hand with the people who pull over in the median to take leaf pictures or park all along Franconia Pkwy to go for a hike. The offenders are over 90% out-of-staters to boot.
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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2022, 10:50:56 PM »

Now, if it's a case of planting wildflowers, that could be more of a distraction especially when they're in full bloom.

I remember just south of Franconia Notch on I-93, there were some sunflowers in the median. I think they were natural, but I'm not entirely sure. There were a few cars parked on the side of the Interstate, and these people crossed two lanes of freeway traffic to get to the median and pick some sunflowers.

The most surprising thing to me are the sunflowers in CT…
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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2022, 05:36:00 PM »

So billboards, signs and statues don't count as landscaping? Because if they are, then there can be too much of a good thing.

Billboards and signs don't, but statues and sculptures would...


Nevada DOT landscaping projects will tend to utilize decorative rock, drought-tolerant plants, decorative wall treatments, and the occasional sculptures. For big projects, there's generally a whole landscape and aesthetics plan they stick to that takes into account surrounding history/culture, so there ends up being a theme with a context-sensitive decorative treatment for several miles of a corridor. Generally turns out fairly nice, and not incredibly distracting.
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2022, 07:22:04 PM »

Now, if it's a case of planting wildflowers, that could be more of a distraction especially when they're in full bloom.

I remember just south of Franconia Notch on I-93, there were some sunflowers in the median. I think they were natural, but I'm not entirely sure. There were a few cars parked on the side of the Interstate, and these people crossed two lanes of freeway traffic to get to the median and pick some sunflowers.

The most surprising thing to me are the sunflowers in CT…

The most surprising thing to me is I-93 being in CT.  :)

(Some cultivars of sunflowers are apparently hardy enough to survive down to hardiness zone 4, which goes well into northern New England.  There's one flower farm along the Farmington River in metro Hartford that I recall had a small patch of sunflowers.)
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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2022, 07:24:33 PM »

Now, if it's a case of planting wildflowers, that could be more of a distraction especially when they're in full bloom.

I remember just south of Franconia Notch on I-93, there were some sunflowers in the median. I think they were natural, but I'm not entirely sure. There were a few cars parked on the side of the Interstate, and these people crossed two lanes of freeway traffic to get to the median and pick some sunflowers.

The most surprising thing to me are the sunflowers in CT…

The most surprising thing to me is I-93 being in CT.  :)

(Some cultivars of sunflowers are apparently hardy enough to survive down to hardiness zone 4, which goes well into northern New England.  There's one flower farm along the Farmington River in metro Hartford that I recall had a small patch of sunflowers.)

Growing up in MA, sunflowers were rare, but farms did start growing them more commonly in the mid to later 1990s.
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2022, 07:25:03 PM »

Landscaped roundabouts can block seeing all around the circle.

The roundabout on my street (which serves as a horizontal speedbump to discourage semis from driving into a residential neighborhood, rather than as an intersection) was more aggressively landscaped, even to the point of gaining some large boulders, as an attempt to get drivers to quit simply driving straight through the center.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2022, 07:29:49 PM by MikeTheActuary »
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HighwayStar

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2022, 11:07:47 PM »

Most true "landscaping" is not a distraction, it is a way to make the road more attractive visually.

However, some "decoration" such as mandatory art projects and other such crap is often distracting, on top of being a waste of money.
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tolbs17

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Re: Is landscaping highways considered a distraction
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2022, 11:13:53 PM »

Most true "landscaping" is not a distraction, it is a way to make the road more attractive visually.

However, some "decoration" such as mandatory art projects and other such crap is often distracting, on top of being a waste of money.
True because I think my favorite highways in North Carolina is I-85 in Durham or I-440 in northern Raleigh when they were rebuilt. Take a look at these!

I-440 in Northern Raleigh - https://goo.gl/maps/BcMRVvhLWMXz1DnG9

I-85 in Durham - https://goo.gl/maps/3BQQg5hjKKiMX9Kf8

Now these days I just see highways that are boring (Maybe because they are in the city and supposed to be decorative and nice) such as the Greenville Southwest bypass, Partly the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway and the Greensboro Urban loop.

Although, they did a great job with rebuild Business I-40 in Winston-Salem as you can see here, but what I don't like is that there is no raised grass median like the other 2 examples I posted above.

https://goo.gl/maps/qT96kDpUMQqzrWv6A
« Last Edit: January 23, 2022, 11:16:19 PM by tolbs17 »
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