County Road Naming

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County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:10 pm

The naming guidelines in the Wiki for Michigan aren't entirely clear, so I wanted to get some feedback on naming county roads in Michigan. The Wiki says to use County Hwy XXX, which is good. However, county roads in Michigan are named differently by region (B-15, A-2, etc.). Based on the Wiki naming information, should these be called something like County Hwy 15 or County Hwy B-15? I think everyone just says the number, but it could be potentially confusing if there are any instances of 15 in multiple regions. I haven't gone through to compare the county roads in every region to see if there are duplicate numbers or not.

I also noticed a county road just called by the letter-number designation instead of being called County Hwy XXX. According to the Michigan information in the Wiki, that would be incorrect. I just want to verify that the Wiki is correct and these should all be called County Hwy XXX before I look into correcting any of them.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:07 pm

So, CR-15 in my example? And yes, for many county roads in Michigan, the county roads are definitely an alternate rather than a primary name.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:37 pm

I'll see what the regional coordinator thinks. And if anyone else sees this and wants to leave their opinions as well, that would be good. My only real concern with just B-15 or A-2 is that there are then 8 different designations for county roads. Although that's valid for the state, it's certainly not a standard way of naming roads. I know each state has their own way of doing things, but I think a standard is better so someone driving between states knows what things mean. County Hwy or CR (pronounced in Waze as County Road) are easily recognizable anywhere in the country. B-15 isn't necessarily recognizable as a county road except by those in the state or perhaps nearby states who have heard of it. It's one thing to have some called State Highways and some called State Roads and some called State Routes... those are all clear to anyone hearing them. And interstates are always I-XXX, so that's clear. State roads using a state letter and then number (such as M-XXX in Michigan) are fairly clear as long as the letter matches the state name. That's fairly common across the country. But just B-15 isn't necessarily clear except if you know the area.

CR-B15, CR-15, County Hwy 15, County Hwy B-15... these are all clear when read because they all start with County Road or County Highway in the verbal directions. I do agree that shorter names are nice when displayed and can be nice when read as well. But most county roads in Michigan are going to be alternate names, so won't be displayed. And there really aren't that many county roads in the state, so you are going to have only a small number that are going to be on a sign for an off-ramp and need to be read by Waze. So for the most part, these are more for the editor than for the driver in Michigan. And when editing, it really doesn't matter what it is so long as it makes sense. Of course, I guess that also means that having it be something like B-15 isn't a big deal because in most cases it won't be seen or heard from the client. I don't know... I'll go with whatever everyone decides.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:36 pm

Rather than just typing how they look, here is a listing of about a third of the county road signs in the state. The others are also on that site if you wanted to look, but basically you have A2 through H63. The signs include the county and the letter/number designation, when there is a sign at all (county road signage in Michigan is generally very poor). The state is divided into regions, where each region gets a letter A-H. Then, a number is attached to refer to the individual road.

As far as postal addresses, I tried looking at locations around some of the county roads and the addresses are all based on the road name rather than the county road number. This seems to be true even for many addresses along state roads, such as addresses on M-119 being using the street name of Lake Shore Dr. In almost all, or perhaps all, cases in Michigan, the county road designation is an alternate name and not the main name of the street, so there may not be any addresses that use the county road number. I can't easily verify that, though.

As far as the - between letter and number, I think it's fine for that to go. The signs don't have it, but any names given for the roads anywhere other than the signs uses it. That may just be for readability rather than being official, though. In any case, B15 is just as good for directions, both visual and verbal as B-15 and is probably slightly faster in the TTS because of the extra pause for the dash.

And I wasn't meaning every state should drop their naming conventions, but just that I think it helps to avoid confusion if they were all to use something like CR- or County Hwy in front of any county roads. It wouldn't matter how they label the roads (letters, numbers, letters and numbers, etc.) because it would still look and sound okay. I wasn't really expecting that to happen. It was just an idle comment. :)

There is also potential for the name to be read wrong if the letter is at the beginning of the street name. I'm not sure if the dash prevents that or not as I haven't tested it. What does it do for state roads? For example, if it's labeled just "PA-1", is that read "P.A. 1" or "Pennsylvania 1" or "Pa 1"? If it tries to convert PA to Pennsylvania, there could be potential for A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H to be converted into something by the TTS as well, which would mess up the verbal directions. I don't know if that could be a problem today or could potentially become a problem later or if it will never be a problem. I just thought I'd mention it just in case. I believe if the letter is in the middle, it's treated differently, but maybe I'm wrong about that.

One thing we may need to also consider when naming these... There are roads in Michigan called County Road XXX that aren't county highways with the special signs. They are just regular roads with that label unless I am mistaken. I think the difference between them is perhaps a matter of whether they are inter-county or inner-county. The inter-county ones have the special signs. It may not matter and we could potentially call all of the CR-, but I don't have any experience directly with any of the roads labeled as County Road XXX. I only have direct experience with the ones I mentioned that have the A-H region designations.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:54 pm

CR-B15 would be my opinion as well. I'll see if anyone else responds or at least until I hear back from the regional coordinator before using that format to avoid having to change it later if something else is decided.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:25 am

Thanks for extending them. I was getting other things worked on before asking for someone to do that. However, are you certain that West Lincoln Avenue in Cheboygan should be something other than a Street? It's not a county road and isn't a main road either. Anyone from Cheboygan who wants to get to Pellston is going to go down to West VWF Road except in fairly uncommon circumstances, such as living off on the side there.

Regarding being Primary or Minor, a Minor Highway is:

Wiki wrote:While still a labeled route that can be followed to get from one city/town/neighborhood to another, routing of thru traffic is not always a priority in the street design.


And a primary street is:

Wiki wrote:Major roads or boulevards used to get across a neighborhood or city.


From those, Minor Highway would be correct. It is a labeled route (perhaps not always well labeled in Michigan, but it's still a labeled route) and it's between towns or cities (actually, it's between counties, but it goes to cities/towns). It is not a main road through an individual town or city. Yes, a primary street states that "in some regions county roads are primary streets", but that's a "maybe" rather than an "always". Primary streets are meant to be through a town, in my opinion. Not across the state. Maybe the "County Road XXX" ones can be primary streets, but the County Highways (these are actual county highways rather than county roads) should be listed as Minor Highways.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:39 pm

What do you mean by difficult to locate? I have an entire list of the County Highways for Michigan including where they extend to. There are some questions about how far some really extend due to lack of signage, but most are known and even if it's a little short of the official length, the majority of even those ones are known for certain. And I'm not sure why difficulty in locating them would relate to whether or not they are Minor Highways?

Any of the roads marked with a letter and number in the range of A* to H* (skipping E*) are designated as County Highways. There are also County Roads that are written as County Road followed by a number (I believe all are 3 digits, but I'm not positive on that). The county highway system was meant to provide designated roads between counties that can handle larger amounts of traffic than the typical side roads you have everywhere else. Of course, in most cases, the quality of the road is the same for side streets, county highways, and state highways. Still, those were designated as county highways to provide good traffic flow between counties. I think the fact that the state highways are usually not any better than side roads is why some or perhaps all are listed as Minor Highway instead of Major Highway.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:19 pm

A quick note... I think you meant that Primary Streets are intra-city rather than inter-city. :)

Just to throw this in for anyone who may be reading this and doesn't know much about Michigan's roads... The county highway system was started when a US route (US-31) was moved when I-196 was built. The Blue Star Highway was then no longer marked on the state highway maps because it was no longer a US highway. The owners of a hotel along Blue Star Highway started getting cancellations because visitors couldn't find them on the highway maps, so they spent time trying to get the highway added back. After some time, they got a senator to help get a test system in place that marked Blue Star Highway as County Highway A-2 on the state highway maps in 1970. After testing throughout the year, the County Highway system was made official with regions of A-H set up. The region letter corresponds to the highway name. Since that time, county highways were added for all regions except region E, which represents the "thumb" area of the lower peninsula. Not all counties have added roads to the county highway system, though all approved it at the time it was adopted. Over time, some counties have stopped maintaining the signage on the roads they added to the county highway system due to lack of money. This has led many of the county highways to be poorly labeled. Due to the lack of maintained labels, it may not always be apparent that you're driving on a county highway. This doesn't mean they aren't still part of the county highway system, just that the signs are not being maintained well.

* History paraphrased from Wikipedia.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:25 pm

robc007 wrote:Detroit can't afford primary streets. :}

Lol. They can't afford to maintain them anyhow.

You may want to look at any of those that you're changing from Street to make sure they aren't county highways. I had to add the county highway alternate names to the ones in northern Michigan because they weren't on there as alternate road names from the import. I noticed you added them to the section of the roads around Cheboygan that I wasn't able to do yet, so you probably already noticed that. I'm not sure how they are in southern Michigan as I haven't looked down there yet.

And I definitely agree with using Primary Street on regular roads that have a more important use than normal streets. Any road that the majority of traffic would use to get from point A to point B could probably be labeled as a Primary Street without being incorrect. As long as point A and point B are not close to each other (eg. the majority of traffic from one block to the next would use the same route, but that doesn't make it a primary street). :) Roads labeled "County Road XXX" on the street sign probably would make sense as Primary Streets as well, though I am not sure that I've had any specific experience driving roads with that label, so I am not sure how accurate that is.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:49 pm

Once we get the checkbox for unpaved, that will be easier to handle because you can label it as a primary street if that's what it is and still mark it as unpaved so people can avoid it if they prefer.
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