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Author Topic: Jakeroot's South-Central Road Trip  (Read 2656 times)

jakeroot

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Jakeroot's South-Central Road Trip
« on: March 29, 2015, 06:25:41 PM »

I'm finally back from my week-long road trip across the southern US. I've called it the "South-Central Road Trip" instead of "Southeast" because I failed to visit the Carolinas, Florida, or Georgia.

Anyways, my thoughts on the things I saw are below. I'm not writing a huge summary of everything I did, but rather keeping things road-related to hold thy interest:

Itinerary: DFW Airport > Texarkana > Memphis > Nashville > Birmingham > Tuscaloosa > New Orleans > Houston > DFW (and home)

- First impression of Texas: "Holy frontage roads!" I've never seen so many in my life. I knew Texas had them but it's only when you use them in real-life that you realize how different things are compared to when you don't have them. As boring as they make the interchanges (damn near all of them are diamonds) they do work well. The only problems I had with them were trying to turn onto the frontage roads from a business. People drive damn-near as fast on the frontage roads as the actual freeways, thus making a right-angle turn onto what is effectively a freeway rather hair-raising. Luckily our hybrid had the torque to get up to speed quickly. The other problem was when there's a signal right after a merge, and you have to merge with the freeway exit ramp (which has priority) and you have to turn left at the signal. You basically have to just ignore the yield sign and merge with traffic. It felt like driving in Egypt.

- The Clearview: Most of states I travelled through used it. I did not see it in Mississippi or Tennessee, but it was everywhere else. For the most part, I did not see bad usage of it (to me, bad usage is text out of scale, lines of text too close together, and lack of green space). Texas was the best at using it closer to what the FHWA prefers, but none of the states struck me as bad users. Louisiana would probably be at the bottom of the list for usage since they regularly used it inside route shields (the C-C-C and I-10 near Baton Rouge and Lake Charles come to mind) and in negative contrast situations (very few non-Clearview "Exit Only" uses when the rest of the sign was Clearview). Arkansas, Alabama, and even Texas (though to a far lesser extent) all used Clearview in negative contrast situations, though Louisiana is still the "winner" (FWIW, I don't consider Louisiana to be a bad user of it, since I like Clearview [as most of you know]). I have some photos below of Louisiana Clearview

- Pavement Markings: Alabama was my favorite in this respect. Close second was Tennessee. Two things I've always loved were in both, the latter far more often in Alabama: chevrons in the gore point, and continuity lines to separate lanes that are ending/beginning (closely-spaced dotted lines where lanes diverge or merge). Also saw a lot of diagonally-painted yellow lines in the flush medians (example [here]). Some cities in my area use them (read: Tacoma) but the vast majority do not.

- Traffic speeds: Outside of Texas and I-49 in Louisiana, the speed limit was 70. Now, traffic speeds were much higher. Many times I was going with traffic at about 90 mp/h. 90 in a 70 back in Washington is suicide (no one goes that fast, so you'll stick out like a sore thumb and almost certainly be spotted by even the most unruffled of state patrolmen). Left lane campers were not too common, but a good flash of the headlights usually got them moving over (not that I had that issue too often, mind you). Slowest drivers were, weirdly, Texans. I guess they're just really laid back.

- State-named Shields: Saw far more state-named reassurance shields in Arkansas than in any other state. So far as I can tell, Arkansas' Interstate shield design guidelines must still call for the state name in the shield, since even the newer shields had the state name. Do consider I come from an area with no state-named reassurance shields at all. Other states used them but Arkansas was far ahead in this regard.

- Downtown New Orleans: What a complete disaster. Many streets (namely, St Charles and Canal) have basically no lane lines at all. For Canal, the locals were treating it as two lanes, though Google Earth suggests that it's normally three lanes. The pedestrian crossing signals were broken/missing in many places, so I usually just crossed with the parallel traffic signal. Apparently, pedestrians don't always have the right of way, so I often found myself waiting at a crosswalk for cars to finish passing. Back home, I'd have my middle finger firmly raised at the drivers ignoring the crosswalk signs, but here, so far as I can tell, the old French law of "pedestrians have no rights" still seems to apply (this extends to other laws since  NOLA seems to stick to Napoleonic Law as compared to traditional British Common Law).

I'll post more things as I remember them, but the above are the things that stuck out to me.



Below are some photos (keep in mind I have heavily condensed the photos -- if you want a larger version, let me know -- I also have photos of things without me in it :D)

Not impressed with this shield assembly in Cullman, AL:


My favorite sign assembly in America ... I-12 @ I-10:


A couple interesting uses of Clearview by LA DOTD:



Highest speed limit in America (SH-130 near Lockhart, Texas) and a person's name? No, just two cities. :-D:
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 07:49:57 PM by jakeroot »
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SignGeek101

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Re: Jakeroot's South-Central Road Trip
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 06:54:16 PM »

Glad you had a nice trip! Great pics! It looks greener there than it is here  :-P

The Clearview use reminds me of home...

http://goo.gl/maps/1mNl6

Still don't like it though.  :)

jakeroot

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Re: Jakeroot's South-Central Road Trip
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2015, 07:48:17 PM »

Glad you had a nice trip! Great pics! It looks greener there than it is here  :-P

Thanks! The last day it was nearing 31 Celsius. Though, the first day was miserable and rainy.

The Clearview use reminds me of home...

http://goo.gl/maps/1mNl6

Still don't like it though.  :)

You either love it or hate it.
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1995hoo

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Re: Jakeroot's South-Central Road Trip
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 08:39:07 AM »

I like the "Exit Only" arrow pointing at your head.  :-D
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jakeroot

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Re: Jakeroot's South-Central Road Trip
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2015, 03:48:49 PM »

I like the "Exit Only" arrow pointing at your head.  :-D

My head is void of anything tangible. Things go in and go straight out.
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