California and lack of exit numbering

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Ray Mullins

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Oct 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/10/96
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Does anybody have background why California stands alone among the
states in not 1) numbering its freeway exits; 2) marking mileposts
by county instead of by state border?

I know that there are a few exceptions on I-5 and I-10 in the L.A. area;
they appear to me to be a leftover experiement.

TIA,
Ray
--
M. Ray Mullins, moving to Roseville CA, and away from Arlington TX (the
largest US city without a transit system, and site of the
regional headquarters of the FTA); m...@lerami.lerctr.org
http://www.lerctr.org/~mrm; SoCalTIP: http://socaltip.lerctr.org

Mich Ravera

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Oct 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/10/96
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Ray Mullins wrote:
> Does anybody have background why California stands alone among the
> states in not 1) numbering its freeway exits; 2) marking mileposts
> by county instead of by state border?
> I know that there are a few exceptions on I-5 and I-10 in the L.A. area;
> they appear to me to be a leftover experiement.

The short answer is "because we like it that way".

The more detailed answer is that we invented freeways and
had always numbered everything (bridges, overcrossing,
callboxes) from county lines. In fact, coming soon, CalTrans
will use metric numbering internally! Another reason is that
many of the freeways were built prior to the construction of
the interstate system and later adopted as interstates. This
would have resulted in renumbering ALL of the exit in the state.

Eric Scouten

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Oct 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/10/96
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In article <53imuq$9...@newshost.cyberramp.net>, m...@lerami.lerctr.org (Ray
Mullins) wrote:

> Does anybody have background why California stands alone among the
> states in not 1) numbering its freeway exits; 2) marking mileposts
> by county instead of by state border?

Apparently, the original 1950s legislation enabling the Interstate highway
system contained an exemption for California, which protested that it
would cost too much and that its (already existing) county-line markers
were sufficient. This exemption has never been repealed (unfortunately).

BTW, several other states mark mileposts by county (Illinois and Kentucky
come to mind) or not at all (Wisconsin, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire)
on US and state routes. California stands alone in marking the Interstate
routes by county lines.

-es
__________________________________________________________________________
Eric Scouten Constructor Constructor Metrowerks Corp.

MW: mailto:sco...@metrowerks.com http://www.metrowerks.com
Me: mailto:sco...@gofast.net http://www.delivery.com/~scouten/

I used to drive a Heisenberg Uncertainty car, but I could never read the
speedometer without getting lost.
-Mark Gadzikowski

Exile on Market Street

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Oct 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/11/96
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In article <scouten-1010...@mingus.gofast.net>,
sco...@gofast.net (Eric Scouten) wrote:

> In article <53imuq$9...@newshost.cyberramp.net>, m...@lerami.lerctr.org (Ray
> Mullins) wrote:
>
> > Does anybody have background why California stands alone among the
> > states in not 1) numbering its freeway exits; 2) marking mileposts
> > by county instead of by state border?
>
> Apparently, the original 1950s legislation enabling the Interstate highway
> system contained an exemption for California, which protested that it
> would cost too much and that its (already existing) county-line markers
> were sufficient. This exemption has never been repealed (unfortunately).

The answer to question 1, it would appear, follows from the answer to
question 2.

I don't think that numbering of exits on Interstates was required prior to
the 1970s. Prior to that time, the only roads I am aware of that had
numbered exits were those in the Northeast and turnpikes (and sometimes,
as in Kansas, the exit numbers were not posted on the exit signs, but only
on the toll tickets). In all of these cases, exits were numbered
sequentially (save for New Jersey's Garden State Parkway).

I suspect that the reason for adopting a milepost-number standard for
numbering interchanges was that it was an additional aid to motorists and
emergency personnel in determining where they were (or where an accident
or breakdown was). Regardless, the standard requires that a highway
within a state have its mileage measured across the entire state. Since
California Interstates do not follow this practice, it would make little
sense to number the exits, as motorists would no doubt find themselves
running into Exit 1, 3, 5... over and over again.

__________________________________________________________________________
Sandy Smith, Exile on Market Street, Philadelphia smi...@pobox.upenn.edu
Univ of Pennsylvania, News & Public Affairs 215.898.1423/fax 215.898.1203
I speak for myself here, not for Penn http://pobox.upenn.edu/~smiths/

"An honest politician is one who, once bought, stays bought."
----------------------------------------------George Washington Plunkitt--

H.B. Elkins

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Oct 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/11/96
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sco...@gofast.net (Eric Scouten) wrote:

>BTW, several other states mark mileposts by county (Illinois and Kentucky
>come to mind) or not at all (Wisconsin, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire)
>on US and state routes. California stands alone in marking the Interstate
>routes by county lines.

Yes, Kentucky does mark its state and US routes inside county lines.
This practice began in the late 1970s with the installation of mile
marker numbers (about the time that Kentucky started using Type II
reflective signs).

I believe that Tennessee also marks its state and US routes inside
county lines. The difference is that in Tennessee, each US route has a
separate state primary or secondary route number. The mileage markers
have both the milepoint and the number of the state route.

For example, in downtown Gatlinburg on US 441, there is a mileage
marker which reads:

1
5
71

where the "15" (I believe that's the number) is the milepoint and the
"71" is the state primary system number for US 441. The route number
is in much smaller type than the milepoint number.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
H.B. Elkins -- Winchester, KY
"You must have the courage to believe the truth!" -- Rush H. Limbaugh III
Kentucky Wildcats Basketball & #3 Dale Earnhardt -- A Championship Combination

hbel...@mis.net <or> HB...@aol.com
+++++++++++++++++++++++++


Leonid A. Broukhis

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Oct 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/11/96
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Stan <st...@bombay.gps.caltech.edu> writes:

>That said, I sometimes wish that CA had a numbering scheme for freeway
>exits. I've seen people's eyes glaze over when I'm telling them how
>to get to my house. I tell them to be sure to get off at *Sierra Madre
>Blvd*, and not Sierra Madre Villa, Baldwin Ave/Sierra Madre, Madre Ave.,
>etc.

My "favorite" is interstate 680 crossing Mission blvd. twice
within 5 miles.

Leo


Joel Garry

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Oct 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/11/96
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RM> From: m...@lerami.lerctr.org (Ray Mullins)

RM> Does anybody have background why California stands alone among the
RM> states in not 1) numbering its freeway exits; 2) marking mileposts
RM> by county instead of by state border?

RM> I know that there are a few exceptions on I-5 and I-10 in the L.A. area;
RM> they appear to me to be a leftover experiement.

I think it's due to the strange funding of the freeways.

If you think it's bad, try driving on the "Thruways" in New York State.

Jason Hanson

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Oct 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/11/96
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sco...@gofast.net (Eric Scouten) wrote:

>BTW, several other states mark mileposts by county (Illinois and Kentucky
>come to mind) or not at all (Wisconsin, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire)
>on US and state routes. California stands alone in marking the Interstate
>routes by county lines.

With regard to Wisconsin, it is true that we do not mark mileposts on
US and state routes generally however US and state routes are marked
with mileposts if the road is a freeway. (ie. many stretches of US151
are freeway - those stretches have mile markers)

Jason


Stan

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Oct 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/11/96
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Exile on Market Street wrote:
>
> I suspect that the reason for adopting a milepost-number standard for
> numbering interchanges was that it was an additional aid to motorists and
> emergency personnel in determining where they were (or where an accident

Actually there is another, more practical reason for this. If you drive
the NJ Turnpike, you will see exits with numbers like 7A, 18E, etc. Using
sequential numbers in the first place sort of assumed that the state would
never grow and require more exits. Kind of short-sighted. Using mileposts
as exit numbers means you can add new exits without messing up the existing
numbering scheme. The only exception to this is if you have two exits
within a mile of each other, in which case they become A and B.

That said, I sometimes wish that CA had a numbering scheme for freeway
exits. I've seen people's eyes glaze over when I'm telling them how
to get to my house. I tell them to be sure to get off at *Sierra Madre
Blvd*, and not Sierra Madre Villa, Baldwin Ave/Sierra Madre, Madre Ave.,
etc.

--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stan Schwarz | "I just want to live like Yogi Bear
st...@bombay.gps.caltech.edu | He kicks ass on the average bear."
---------------------------------------------------- -Stukas Over Bedrock -----

Grant Cooper

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Oct 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/12/96
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In article <53imuq$9...@newshost.cyberramp.net>, m...@lerami.lerctr.org says...

>
>Does anybody have background why California stands alone among the
>states in not 1) numbering its freeway exits; 2) marking mileposts
>by county instead of by state border?

As Eric Souten said, this is because California already had a numbering system
based on county lines. In the 1930s, before Interstates and Federally mandated
numbering, CA was the first state to adopt any form of milepost system for all
state highways (including US highways) - so I'm told :) When the Federal
Government mandated the statewide mileposts for Interstate Highways, CA said
it would be pointless to renumber its highways since it already had its own
postmile system - it would ruin the state's standard highway numbering scheme.
So, out of all 48 contiguous states, CA stands alone in not having this
system.

>I know that there are a few exceptions on I-5 and I-10 in the L.A. area;

>they appear to me to be a leftover experiement.

I have seen these markers and they are a real mystery to me. To elaborate on
Ray's observation, the markers on I-5 are numbered 131 and 132 (with the
corresponding A,B exits; eg: Exit 132A Calizona St.). As far as I've been able
to ascertain, this is the distance in miles from the Mexican Border, the
southern terminus for I-5. Interestingly, this is to my knowlege, the
only place in CA where this exists on I-5; the numbers are located on
4 exits near Downtown LA. However, the exit numbering for I-10 really baffles
me. Five exits are marked - Exits 1 - 5, since the numbering starts from its
western terminus at SR-1/PCH in Santa Monica. Instead of numbering the exits
by mile, it seems the exits are numbered sequentially, like on the PA, NJ,
etc. Turnpikes. Neat, huh? Also, I have seen these exit numbers on several
other freeways, including, I believe, I-710 near LA Harbor. My theory is that
CA started numbering its highways according to the Federal mandate, but
stopped when they got their exemption, sometime in the '60s (?)

Being a native of CA, I used to think that exit numbers were weird and
obviously made for sissies. After all, we in CA are a rugged, indivulist lot
(or so we'd like the rest of you to believe.) After going cross country, I
completely changed my mind. It is easy to find exits (the number AND the
street name provide an exact match) and I could always tell how far it was to
the desired exit. Much better than squinting and trying to read those
god-awful small post mile markers! It seems that CA could institute this
system with a minimum of difficulty - at the very least all they'd need to do
is to place exit number tags on top of the exit signs, nothing complicated.
But Caltrans has to do something totally different and obscure. And don't even
get me started on how they number the cellular Call Boxes!!

Regards,

Grant Cooper
gco...@cts.com

<signature and other stuff omitted from original poster>


John R. Grout

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Oct 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/12/96
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In article <leob.845083399@shellx> le...@best.com (Leonid A. Broukhis) writes:

> Stan <st...@bombay.gps.caltech.edu> writes:
>
> >That said, I sometimes wish that CA had a numbering scheme for freeway
> >exits. I've seen people's eyes glaze over when I'm telling them how
> >to get to my house. I tell them to be sure to get off at *Sierra Madre
> >Blvd*, and not Sierra Madre Villa, Baldwin Ave/Sierra Madre, Madre Ave.,
> >etc.
>

> My "favorite" is interstate 680 crossing Mission blvd. twice
> within 5 miles.

There are numerous examples of freeways crossing and recrossing roads
which they parallel. The most confusing which comes to mind is US 5
which recrosses I-91 quite a few times in Massachusetts (though, at
least there are exit numbers there).

--
John R. Grout Center for Supercomputing R & D j-g...@uiuc.edu
Coordinated Science Laboratory University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Daniel P. Faigin

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Oct 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/12/96
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On 12 Oct 1996 01:36:43 GMT, gco...@cts.com (Grant Cooper) said: But Caltrans

> has to do something totally different and obscure. And don't even get me
> started on how they number the cellular Call Boxes!!

Actually, they are also milage based, as are the numbers on light posts --
from the southern or westernmost start of that highway in the county,
approximately. Thus, a number of (LA County) 014-032 means 3 2/10s of a mile
from the start of the highway in LA County.

Daniel
[A Calif. State Highways page is available off my home page]
--
fai...@aero.org Moderator, Liberal Judaism Mailing List
fai...@pacificnet.net Maintainer, s.c.j FAQ/RL Advisor, s.c.j.Parenting
fai...@shamash.org Daddy, Erin Shoshana misc.kids Albums 95pg48 96pg27
Fai...@dockmaster.ncsc.mil Home Page: http://www.pacificnet.net/~faigin/

Grant Cooper

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Oct 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/14/96
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I did know that, but that's just throwing more fuel into the flames. In a way,
though, it does make sense to have them so specific, after all the tow truck
driver (or emergency vehicle driver) knows exactly where you are and can find
you in very little time. It just *looks* so cryptic.


In article <FAIGIN.96O...@solarium.aero.org>, fai...@aero.org says...

D Banks

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Oct 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/15/96
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Bryan Cowan wrote:


> I never knew about exit numbers until my first trip out of the state at
> age 9. If CalTrans was logical, we would have had a numbering system like
> those everywhere else long ago. But this is a state agency that when San
> Francisco changed Army Street to Cesar Chavez Street (to honor the UFW
> leader) CalTrans whined that it would cost too much to change the exit
> signs on US 101, and despite extensive negotiations with the city of SF
> (including offers for the city to pay half the cost) CT STILL refused to
> change the signs on the freeway. Nearly two years later, the signs on US
> 101 still read Army Street.


I got caught by that Army Street thing last year. In giving me
directions to
get on US 101 south, a friend suggested I drive down Dolores (?), turn
left on Army,
and get on the freeway. I even looked at the map before I left,(an old
map (well, 1994), with Army on it),
but yep, you guessed it, I sailed right past Army. After a few blocks I
stopped, rechecked the
map, realized I must have gone too far, turned back, and finally found
Cesar Chavez Street; only
then did I notice (Army) in small print on the bottom of the sign.

Exile on Market Street

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Oct 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/15/96
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In article <325EFD9E...@bombay.gps.caltech.edu>, Stan
<st...@bombay.gps.caltech.edu> wrote:

> Exile on Market Street wrote:
> >
> > I suspect that the reason for adopting a milepost-number standard for
> > numbering interchanges was that it was an additional aid to motorists and
> > emergency personnel in determining where they were (or where an accident
>
> Actually there is another, more practical reason for this. If you drive
> the NJ Turnpike, you will see exits with numbers like 7A, 18E, etc. Using
> sequential numbers in the first place sort of assumed that the state would
> never grow and require more exits. Kind of short-sighted.

Yup -- forgot about that.

Which brings up an interesting bit of trivia about the interchange numbers
on the Kansas Turnpike (which were printed on the tickets but not posted
on the exit signs).

When it opened in 1956, the Kansas Turnpike had 12 interchanges (counting
the barriers across the highway at (Winfield?) (Exit 1) and Kansas City
(Exit 12)).

An additional interchange was added a few years later between the <mumble>
(exit 7) and South Topeka (exit 8) interchanges, where route K-177 (the
"Prairie Parkway") intersected the turnpike. It was given the number 13.
Imagine the confusion had the exit numbers appeared on the signs?

Gary VanderMolen

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Oct 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/16/96
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> But this is a state agency that when San
> Francisco changed Army Street to Cesar Chavez Street (to honor the UFW
> leader) CalTrans whined that it would cost too much to change the exit
> signs on US 101, and despite extensive negotiations with the city of SF
> (including offers for the city to pay half the cost) CT STILL refused to
> change the signs on the freeway. Nearly two years later, the signs on US
> 101 still read Army Street.

Only in San Francisco would people waste good money to change a
perfectly good street name with a lot of historical significance.
Why didn't they just assign the name "Cesar Chavez Street" to a new street?

ATVDSOT

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Oct 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/16/96
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Not only in SF, Gary. In LA they changed Santa Barbara Blvd. to Rev.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. (couldn't they have at least made it simply
King Blvd....we'd all know) and Brooklyn Avenue to Cesar Chavez Street
(again, Chavez street would've been fine). These are both historic
streets. Yes, it's lame. Let's not even get into L. Ron Hubbard
Street...but, at least it's very short and effected no one except the
Scientologists.

- Don

--
"You don't need permission for anything" - Johnny Rotten

D Banks

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Oct 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/16/96
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FWIW, you'll find a Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in almost every large
American city.

Don Nickell

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Oct 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/16/96
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ATVDSOT wrote:
>
> In article <326503...@cris.com>, Gary VanderMolen <gary...@cris.com> wrote:
>
> > > But this is a state agency that when San
> > > Francisco changed Army Street to Cesar Chavez Street (to honor the UFW
> > > leader) CalTrans whined that it would cost too much to change the exit
> > > signs on US 101, and despite extensive negotiations with the city of SF
> > > (including offers for the city to pay half the cost) CT STILL refused to
> > > change the signs on the freeway. Nearly two years later, the signs on US
> > > 101 still read Army Street.
> >
> > Only in San Francisco would people waste good money to change a
> > perfectly good street name with a lot of historical significance.
> > Why didn't they just assign the name "Cesar Chavez Street" to a new street?
>
> Not only in SF, Gary. In LA they changed Santa Barbara Blvd. to Rev.
> Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. (couldn't they have at least made it simply
> King Blvd....we'd all know) and Brooklyn Avenue to Cesar Chavez Street
> (again, Chavez street would've been fine). These are both historic
> streets. Yes, it's lame. Let's not even get into L. Ron Hubbard
> Street...but, at least it's very short and effected no one except the
> Scientologists.

In Miami, Florida, the Cubans held a protest and had an entire 75 year
old neighborhood's streets renamed to reflect their "heritage"! I get so
sick of that word I could :=0}}}}} (throwup) Here in Santa Fe, NM, you
hear that every time you turn around. Hell, I've got heritage too, from
the south, and it isn't much worse than the Conquistadors, but I'm sure
not bragging about it!!! :=(

It seems to me we are dumping our "U.S. heritage" to illegal immigrants
and/or people that just want make noise.


Bryan Cowan

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Oct 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/20/96
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In article <326503...@cris.com>, Gary VanderMolen <gary...@cris.com> wrote:

> > But this is a state agency that when San
> > Francisco changed Army Street to Cesar Chavez Street (to honor the UFW
> > leader) CalTrans whined that it would cost too much to change the exit
> > signs on US 101, and despite extensive negotiations with the city of SF
> > (including offers for the city to pay half the cost) CT STILL refused to
> > change the signs on the freeway. Nearly two years later, the signs on US
> > 101 still read Army Street.
>
> Only in San Francisco would people waste good money to change a
> perfectly good street name with a lot of historical significance.
> Why didn't they just assign the name "Cesar Chavez Street" to a new street?

Well, since San Francisco has been out of land for 40 years, there ARE no
new streets. As for Army Street, it doesn't have much historical
significance. According to the 1984 book _Streets of San Francisco: The
Origins of Street and Place Names_ by Louis K. Loewenstein, Army Street
was *One of a series of streets in an early Noe Valley subdivision (c.
1860). The Developers, John and Robert Horner, purchased a ranch in this
area for $200,000. They laid out the streets, naming some in honor of
branches of military service. They also designated a Navy Street whose
name was subsequently changed to a number.* So there was nothing special
that occured to name the street Army, just a couple of guys who ran out of
ideas for street names (unless you consider age the sole determinant of
historical significance). Of, course, you could argue that they could
change the numbered avenues on the west side whenever they wanted to honor
somebody.

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