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Author Topic: More AZ Musings From a Visiting Roadgreek...  (Read 633 times)

thenetwork

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More AZ Musings From a Visiting Roadgreek...
« on: April 26, 2017, 08:53:49 PM »

It's been a little over a week since I visited family in Arizona, and I still had some musings from my travels there as a visitor or "outsider" that I wished to share:

ARIZONA IN GENERAL:

1) Why are the Bridge Clearance signs white on green?  If I was driving a taller vehicle, I  would probably not pay as much attention to those signs on the overpasses.

2) Why the Arrow ONLY signs with either a LEFT LANE or RIGHT LANE blade above them.  Isn't it easier to just use LEFT/RIGHT LANE MUST TURN LEFT/RIGHT text-only signs? 

3) What's with keeping the mystery of those yellow SPEED REDUCED AHEAD signs so secret as to what the speed is dropping to?  At least in Illinois, they show the upcoming speed limit below their REDUCED SPEED AHEAD signs.

4) I swear I saw a short stretch of roadway with 3 NO PASSING ZONE yellow pennants on the left.  These were 3 separate passing zone areas, BTW.  Oh, if I could earn a dollar for every yellow NO PASSING pennant I saw in AZ...

5) The use of Clearview is weird, especially in the Phoenix area.  There could be two side-by-side BGS, and the font size for the control cities can vary widely while the cardinal directions/shields and distance information are standard sizes!   WTF?

6) As much as I love monotube gantries, the older gantries with the flared, bottom mounts are classic, and I believe are exclusive to Arizona (???).  Sad to see those old soldiers disappearing.

TUCSON AREA:

1) I was surprised at how old some of those traffic signals are in Tucson.  I know it's harder to tell with the black backplates on them, but I swear I saw an installation of GE Streamline signals still in use!  (I want to say that it was at Swan & Grant).  There were also a lot of signals that looked to be over 40+ years old on some of the secondary roads (original??).  Same with some of the NuArt (?) lighted street signs. 

2) No love for the doghouses?

3) I always loved those weird-looking "giraffe" streetlights.

4) I love the BRIGHT LED No Turn On Red (symbol) signs at some of the intersections.  These are used at intersections where right turns can be permitted at some point during the red phase.


Overall, a fun trip.  It's always neat to see how states can be very different in signing, lighting, signaling, etc...
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 12:05:42 AM by andy3175 »
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pumpkineater2

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Re: More AZ Musings From a Visiting Roadgreek...
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 01:34:41 AM »

3) What's with keeping the mystery of those yellow SPEED REDUCED AHEAD signs so secret as to what the speed is dropping to?  At least in Illinois, they show the upcoming speed limit below their REDUCED SPEED AHEAD signs.
They just like to keep us on our toes I guess... of course, once you've driven a particular road enough times, you know what its going to drop to :-P
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: More AZ Musings From a Visiting Roadgreek...
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2017, 07:49:30 AM »

3) What's with keeping the mystery of those yellow SPEED REDUCED AHEAD signs so secret as to what the speed is dropping to?  At least in Illinois, they show the upcoming speed limit below their REDUCED SPEED AHEAD signs.
They just like to keep us on our toes I guess... of course, once you've driven a particular road enough times, you know what its going to drop to :-P

Its still annoying, especially on mountain roads like 89A or US 191 where you get some nanny speed limit which is way below what you were just driving.

kphoger

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Re: More AZ Musings From a Visiting Roadgreek...
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2017, 10:24:26 AM »

2) Why the Arrow ONLY signs with either a LEFT LANE or RIGHT LANE blade above them.  Isn't it easier to just use LEFT/RIGHT LANE MUST TURN LEFT/RIGHT text-only signs? 

How is text easier than an arrow?
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Pink Jazz

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Re: More AZ Musings From a Visiting Roadgreek...
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2017, 10:58:53 AM »


5) The use of Clearview is weird, especially in the Phoenix area.  There could be two side-by-side BGS, and the font size for the control cities can vary widely while the cardinal directions/shields and distance information are standard sizes!   WTF?

I have noticed this too, and this practice actually continues today with their use of non-Modified Series E.  ADOT never did this during the pre-Clearview Series E-Modified days.
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J N Winkler

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Re: More AZ Musings From a Visiting Roadgreek...
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2017, 11:46:29 AM »

ARIZONA IN GENERAL:

1) Why are the Bridge Clearance signs white on green?  If I was driving a taller vehicle, I  would probably not pay as much attention to those signs on the overpasses.

New Mexico does the same thing--I'm afraid I don't know the reason for them either.

2) Why the Arrow ONLY signs with either a LEFT LANE or RIGHT LANE blade above them.  Isn't it easier to just use LEFT/RIGHT LANE MUST TURN LEFT/RIGHT text-only signs?

This is a feature, not a bug, and in Arizona part of the motivation may be accommodating high proportions of out-of-state and snowbird drivers.  I actually dislike the text-only signs because it is typically impossible for even a young driver with good vision to differentiate the left and right versions in time to move smoothly into the correct lane for a turn.

People who are able to glide into place where these signs are used are typically exploiting local knowledge without actually reading the signs.  This is not a desirable state of affairs:  good signing should offset the inherent advantage of local knowledge, instead of making it easier for locals to cut off strangers.

3) What's with keeping the mystery of those yellow SPEED REDUCED AHEAD signs so secret as to what the speed is dropping to?  At least in Illinois, they show the upcoming speed limit below their REDUCED SPEED AHEAD signs.

It is a permissible option in the MUTCD but not one I think Arizona DOT (or any other agency) should be using.  I think part of the motivation may be to make it easier to revise speed limits on the fly.

Arizona is also, if memory serves, one of the states that prefers staggered speed limit reductions instead of an abrupt but conspicuously signed transition from open-road speed (typically 55 to 65 MPH depending on road geometry) to urban speed (30 MPH?), though not to the extent of Oklahoma, where closely spaced 65-55-45-30 transitions are the norm.

4) I swear I saw a short stretch of roadway with 3 NO PASSING ZONE yellow pennants on the left.  These were 3 separate passing zone areas, BTW.  Oh, if I could earn a dollar for every yellow NO PASSING pennant I saw in AZ...

There is substantial variation among the states in use of pennants, which don't actually have to be used for any kind of no-passing zone.  Some states use them for every no-passing zone, some only for vertical curve no-passing zones, others only for intersection no-passing zones, etc.  In Arizona snowbirds may be driving this aspect of engineering policy.  Arizona does use snowplowable pavement delineators but, unlike the case in California, these do not differentiate passing zones.  Arizona also has a generally dry climate but the "sky islands" receive a significant amount of precipitation, which means markings obscured by snow and rain.
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