County Road Naming

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Re: County Road Naming

Postby robc007 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:43 am

I drove through Pellston this week and was able to extend some of the county routes for you.

Unless I'm mistaken, county routes are generally "Primary Street" and the state routes are generally "Minor Highway".

My impression is that the US routes should also be "Minor Highway" unless they are divided and limited access, etc. However, someone has made all of the US routes in northern Michigan into "Major Highway". This is something that I would like to make more consistent with southern Michigan, but my editing area isn't large enough to make any of those changes.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby sketch » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:50 am

robc007 wrote:I drove through Pellston this week and was able to extend some of the county routes for you.

Unless I'm mistaken, county routes are generally "Primary Street" and the state routes are generally "Minor Highway".

My impression is that the US routes should also be "Minor Highway" unless they are divided and limited access, etc. However, someone has made all of the US routes in northern Michigan into "Major Highway". This is something that I would like to make more consistent with southern Michigan, but my editing area isn't large enough to make any of those changes.

That was originally how we did it here in Louisiana, but since there is no real functional difference between major and minor highways, we decided to make US highways Major and Louisiana highways Minor, essentially for display purposes. These are minimums, so a more important state highway can be Major and, of course, a freeway in either system can be Freeway.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby robc007 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:01 am

sketch wrote:That was originally how we did it here in Louisiana, but since there is no real functional difference between major and minor highways, we decided to make US highways Major and Louisiana highways Minor, essentially for display purposes.


I think MDOT has always been more in line with the "functional" depiction. On the State road map, freeways are blue, highways are red, and county routes are black. On the State website, freeways are blue, highways are orange, major roads are yellow, and minor roads are white.

Not that we have to mimic MDOT, but it's what I'm used to seeing around here.

The Waze app, on the other hand, renders major highways and freeways the same, which is a bit confusing when one is a nice big Interstate and the other is merely a surface "pass with care" road.
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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 robc007 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:05 am

Riamus wrote:However, are you certain that West Lincoln Avenue in Cheboygan should be something other than a Street?


Fixed. I wasn't sure about that. WME automatically selected all of Riggsville Rd and I had to either extend it or back it out. :)

Riamus wrote:the County Highways (these are actual county highways rather than county roads) should be listed as Minor Highways.


I have mixed feelings about this. In my experience, the county highways are difficult to locate without local knowledge or GPS assistance. I hope we can get another opinion. sketch?
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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 sketch » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:15 pm

In general, rural routes should be set at a higher level than equivalent routes in built-up areas. Even though they're typically narrow, they still carry high-speed traffic, and are still used for medium- to long-distance routing.

Based on the standards set forth in the Wiki, the Primary Street type is only used for edit intra-city travel; any route used for inter-city travel should be a Minor Highway or higher. "Main Street" small towns, which typically sit along or at the intersection of inter-city routes, won't typically have any Primary Street class routes at all, below a certain size, perhaps unless they are accessed by small collector roads off a main route. I don't think that's very common with Southeast Michigan's grid system, though.

So basically, if a county highway connects towns, it should probably be a Minor Highway. If it's a smaller main road that only serves a town or possibly two towns in close proximity, Primary Street could do.

And since there are necessarily going to be sort of a lot of highways, making all US routes Major Highway is a good way to distinguish them.
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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 sketch » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:27 pm

Riamus wrote:Since that time, county highways were added for all regions except region E, which represents the "thumb" area of the lower peninsula.

Hah, and here I thought they were just being nice to us by choosing not to include anything our clients might pronounce as "East"!
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby robc007 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:54 pm

Thanks for the explanations. I'll upgrade those roads again tonight.

I still think it makes sense to use "primary street" on some of the more useful county roads. I've done this along the I-94 corridor west of Ann Arbor and it makes the map more informative.
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