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Author Topic: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters  (Read 1827 times)

TheHighwayMan394

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2019, 05:10:16 PM »

The thing is, using letters doesn't avoid overlapping designations. You won't have one County A intersect another County A, but because each county set up its own system and laid out its own routes, there will be multiple County As throughout the state. Basically each county can have it's own County A, County B, etc. There are many instances where say, County A in Grant County will continue as County A into Iowa County. But you can have adjoining counties each have a County A that are separate routes that don't intersect, don't continue from one county to another, but are parallel to each other. For example, Clark County has a County A that runs east-west, and continues into Marathon County as County A. But a few miles to the north, Taylor County has its own County A that also runs east-west, but doesn't intersect the Clark-Marathon County A. So it's important to know which county you're in. Confused yet?

I mean, you still have that same problem using numbers.

Adding to the problem is that Wisconsin does not post the county name in the shield.
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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2019, 07:11:07 PM »

The thing is, using letters doesn't avoid overlapping designations. You won't have one County A intersect another County A, but because each county set up its own system and laid out its own routes, there will be multiple County As throughout the state. Basically each county can have it's own County A, County B, etc. There are many instances where say, County A in Grant County will continue as County A into Iowa County. But you can have adjoining counties each have a County A that are separate routes that don't intersect, don't continue from one county to another, but are parallel to each other. For example, Clark County has a County A that runs east-west, and continues into Marathon County as County A. But a few miles to the north, Taylor County has its own County A that also runs east-west, but doesn't intersect the Clark-Marathon County A. So it's important to know which county you're in. Confused yet?

I mean, you still have that same problem using numbers.

Adding to the problem is that Wisconsin does not post the county name in the shield.
Sure they do, County is part the name 😎
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SEWIGuy

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2019, 08:53:42 AM »

The thing is, using letters doesn't avoid overlapping designations. You won't have one County A intersect another County A, but because each county set up its own system and laid out its own routes, there will be multiple County As throughout the state. Basically each county can have it's own County A, County B, etc. There are many instances where say, County A in Grant County will continue as County A into Iowa County. But you can have adjoining counties each have a County A that are separate routes that don't intersect, don't continue from one county to another, but are parallel to each other. For example, Clark County has a County A that runs east-west, and continues into Marathon County as County A. But a few miles to the north, Taylor County has its own County A that also runs east-west, but doesn't intersect the Clark-Marathon County A. So it's important to know which county you're in. Confused yet?

I mean, you still have that same problem using numbers.

Adding to the problem is that Wisconsin does not post the county name in the shield.


Because no one gets confused. 
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paulthemapguy

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2019, 12:38:51 PM »

The thing is, using letters doesn't avoid overlapping designations. You won't have one County A intersect another County A, but because each county set up its own system and laid out its own routes, there will be multiple County As throughout the state. Basically each county can have it's own County A, County B, etc. There are many instances where say, County A in Grant County will continue as County A into Iowa County. But you can have adjoining counties each have a County A that are separate routes that don't intersect, don't continue from one county to another, but are parallel to each other. For example, Clark County has a County A that runs east-west, and continues into Marathon County as County A. But a few miles to the north, Taylor County has its own County A that also runs east-west, but doesn't intersect the Clark-Marathon County A. So it's important to know which county you're in. Confused yet?

Ok, but that's not an argument against using letters.  That's an argument for avoiding multiple designations within a small distance of each other, which is a problem that appears when using numbers as well.  I agree that we should avoid the poor planning that results in identical designations used on separate nearby alignments.
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invincor

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2019, 12:45:32 PM »

Adding to the problem is that Wisconsin does not post the county name in the shield.

Pierce County used to.  There were places where, when one county highway intersected with another, the signage said "PIERCE" on the top, then the letter(s) in big boldface in the middle, and then "COUNTY" across the bottom.
You'd only ever see this when it was internal county signage though... get near a state or US highway and it'd be state-standard there, presumably because the state was providing those signs.

I've always been annoyed that they have hardly any reassurance markers on their county system though.
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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2019, 02:02:21 PM »

County named signage exists in pockets all over the state.  And it's not all old signs.  I've seen brand new ones posted in the last decade or so.  I think I last saw that in Florence County somewhere.
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kphoger

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2019, 02:36:27 PM »

I like the use of letters because they're ... easier to remember than 3- or 4-character designations .

But "normal" county highway numbers do the exact same thing, just with numbers.  Either a blue "17" pentagon or a white "N" square is preferable for memory aid to a white "1043" elongated circle, but I don't see how a white "N" square is preferable to a blue "17" pentagon.

So..?  How is "N" any easier to remember than "17"?  It isn't.

So mostly, all in all, I like the use of letters because it avoids overlapping route designations.  It keeps the same number from occurring twice in a small area.  Keep your county route 14's away from my state/US route 14's, etc.

The thing is, using letters doesn't avoid overlapping designations. ... you can have adjoining counties each have a County A that are separate routes that don't intersect, don't continue from one county to another, but are parallel to each other. For example, Clark County has a County A that runs east-west, and continues into Marathon County as County A. But a few miles to the north, Taylor County has its own County A that also runs east-west, but doesn't intersect the Clark-Marathon County A.

So..?  How does using letters avoid the same designation from occurring twice in a small area?  It doesn't.

Ok, but that's not an argument against using letters.  That's an argument for avoiding multiple designations within a small distance of each other, which is a problem that appears when using numbers as well.

But we're not arguing that numbers are better than letters.  We're arguing against your assertion that letters are better than numbers.  So far, the only reason that hasn't been debunked is that using letters means "they're completely disambiguated from the numbered state routes".  But, then again, you argued against that very assertion yourself by saying later that "normal non-roadgeek motorists don't look into distinguishing between route types much".
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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2019, 02:43:44 PM »

Using letters gives us 26 opportunities to make things distinct while also making them simple.  Instead of using the number 17 twice, we can use 17 once and the letter Q once.  It's not as complex as perhaps I was making it.
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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2019, 03:08:47 PM »

Using letters gives us 26 opportunities to make things distinct while also making them simple.  Instead of using the number 17 twice, we can use 17 once and the letter Q once.  It's not as complex as perhaps I was making it.


It also usually speaks to the quality of the road and its relative importance.  (Not always.  There are exceptions.)
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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2019, 04:09:39 PM »

So we don't end up like Louisiana or Kentucky that has way to many short numbered highways. Missouri also has a lettered system and a letter can only be used once per county. Some letters here appear to be off limits, Like 'S' and 'Q', and 'I'.
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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2019, 04:27:52 PM »

Missouri also has a lettered system and a letter can only be used once per county. Some letters here appear to be off limits, Like 'S' and 'Q', and 'I'.
G, I, L, Q, S aren't used to avoid confusion with numbers, though O is used.
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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2019, 04:48:18 PM »

So we don't end up like Louisiana or Kentucky that has way to many short numbered highways. Missouri also has a lettered system and a letter can only be used once per county. Some letters here appear to be off limits, Like 'S' and 'Q', and 'I'.

Wisconsin's lettered highways are county highways.  Missouri's lettered highways are state highways.  Not the same beast.
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mgk920

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2019, 12:21:55 AM »

Missouri also has a lettered system and a letter can only be used once per county. Some letters here appear to be off limits, Like 'S' and 'Q', and 'I'.
G, I, L, Q, S aren't used to avoid confusion with numbers, though O is used.

'G' and 'S' exist here in the Appleton area.  Brown and Outagamie County 'S' runs across Outagamie County between New London and I-41.  'L' and 'R' were originally not used because they were used to denote turns in other routes, a usage that has long since been replaced with arrows.  Also, when the present-day US 10/WI 441 bridge across Little Lake Butte des Morts between Appleton and Neenah was opened in 1975, it was signed as Winnebago County 'Q'.

Mike
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SSOWorld

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2019, 03:10:19 AM »

Missouri also has a lettered system and a letter can only be used once per county. Some letters here appear to be off limits, Like 'S' and 'Q', and 'I'.
G, I, L, Q, S aren't used to avoid confusion with numbers, though O is used.

'G' and 'S' exist here in the Appleton area.  Brown and Outagamie County 'S' runs across Outagamie County between New London and I-41.  'L' and 'R' were originally not used because they were used to denote turns in other routes, a usage that has long since been replaced with arrows.  Also, when the present-day US 10/WI 441 bridge across Little Lake Butte des Morts between Appleton and Neenah was opened in 1975, it was signed as Winnebago County 'Q'.

Mike
He pointed out Missouri doesn't use them.  Wisconsin doesn't hold back - every letter is used at least once.
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2019, 06:06:17 PM »

County Is are often emphasized with serifs to prevent confusion with ď1Ē.
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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #40 on: October 14, 2019, 05:03:14 PM »

I saw a lot of maps that labelled Winnebago CTH II as County 11 when WI 150 was first decommissioned.  Even ol' Randy Mac got that one wrong.
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Big John

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #41 on: October 15, 2019, 01:03:23 PM »

^^ And a BGS had that wrong too at first.
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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #42 on: October 17, 2019, 06:21:38 PM »

The solution is to have some counties use Latin letters, others use Greek letters, a third group use Cyrillic letters, and the rest CJK characters. By the four-color theorem, there should be no confusion. Some letters (like A and T) are used in multiple alphabets; these would be the ones that cross county lines.

(In reality, using numbers modulo 4 for the four groups would be much easier than letters/characters that nobody has heard of before.)

Or highways could be designated by emojis. The smile highway :D. The laugh highway :-D. The coffee highway :coffee:. There are well over 2000 emojis, so duplication should not be a problem. /sarcasm
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SSOWorld

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Re: why Wisconsin county trunks use letters
« Reply #43 on: October 17, 2019, 10:10:54 PM »

see this for Illinois 🖕
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Scott O.

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