Primary Street Discussion

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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:02 pm

I did respond to his points. Yet I haven't had answers from you for my questions. I've given many reasons why at least some of the roads don't make sense. And you've basically ignored every reason I've given without being willing to respond to them. So please don't try to tell me that I'm ignoring someone.

There needs to be a reason for how you do something on the map. It isn't something new here. I have reasons why these should not be marked. If there aren't reasons to refute those, then they shouldn't be marked. It isn't a demand, but a simple truth. If there is debate over whether something is correct, both sides need to provide valid reasons for their belief. You have yet to provide anything for the points I've made. Sketch made some points and I provided responses to his points. He is free to respond back. If you have any points, you are also free to make them. I haven't seen any yet other than pretty weak arguments such as that at the time when many highways were not marked, it wasn't very usable (I've explained that when all of the highways are marked, all major destinations from I-75 can be reached via the highway system) or that a road is *sometimes* faster (I've explained why a road doesn't have to be primary just for that reason alone) or that there weren't many on the map (there is no requirement for there to be any if they don't make sense). If you don't want to respond yourself to any of my many reasons, then that's fine. I'll continue discussing it with others. Besides, if they are so trivial to you, then you obviously don't have much of a reason for making the changes.

In any case, let's provide one other explanation. In the urban areas of southern Michigan, pick a point outside of a city on the map as a start point and another outside of a city as an end point. Assume there are no primary streets marked. How many routes can you find that seem logical if you don't know anything about the roads involved? Unless there is a highway that makes that be the only logical choice, you are likely to have many different logical routes to choose from. Streets are often very close together, sometimes as close as a city block even outside of the cities themselves. If you don't have any indication on the map for what is the best route, how do you know? The best route could be for any reason - wider road, faster speed limits, fewer stop lights or signs, etc. There may be half a dozen or even a dozen routes that would appear logical if you didn't have any differentiation in the streets other than highway or street. But there is likely at least one route that is far better because of those reasons. By marking it as a primary street, you provide someone with an indication of which route (or routes) out of many is the best.

Now, look at northern Michigan and do the same thing. Pick a start point outside of a town or city and pick an end point that is also outside of a town or city. Pick something that doesn't have a single highway route between them because that won't be a good example. Now, how many logical routes do you have? In most cases, there is only one or two routes that make much sense because there are far fewer roads and there is typically miles of distance between the roads that will get you where you want to go. You're not going to normally drive many miles out of your way if there is a straight route. In short, if there really isn't any confusion over the best route even if you don't know anything about the roads other than the layout and if they are highways or not, then there is no value to a primary street in that location. If there are a decent number of possible routes that are all logical if you don't know them and one of those really is better than the others (not equal), then that is where there is value in the primary street classification. In northern Michigan, there aren't many locations where that is the case and at least most of the ones provided are not that way.

Van Rd is marked as a primary from US-31. If you're at that starting point heading west, is there another alternative Street route that you might consider if you looked at the map and it wasn't marked as primary? Not really. You'd have to drive a fair distance to get to another street heading west from Van. Unless your destination is far enough north or south to where Van Rd is no longer logical (such as if you're going to Cross Village and then Levering is more logical), there really isn't an alternative that makes sense. So marking it doesn't provide any real value. And in reality, you may make someone think that Van to Pleasantview to Levering is as good as US-31 to Levering to get to Cross Village when it really isn't.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby sketch » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:07 pm

Here's a reason: the map looks like sh-t with no primary streets.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:00 pm

And it looks better with streets that appear haphazard with no real destinations? I think we need a better reason than that, don't you? Certainly you don't think that primary streets are there just to make the map look a certain way? They are there for a purpose, right? To provide a visual reference for the best routes through an area if highways are not available. Is that incorrect? If there is only one route, does that mean it should be shown as a primary road? If so, we might as well mark almost every road in northern Michigan? Would that look good?

The reason I think there is even any debate is Waze's choice to hide streets, but to show primary streets. Most people want to see the streets as they travel and not have them hidden. Because Waze made the decision they did, now people want to have primary streets where they have no valid reason to be just as a way to have something to look at. That doesn't make it right. If there is so much concern for that, then maybe we should instead be pushing to get all streets shown on the map at least optionally.
Last edited by Riamus on Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby sketch » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:02 pm

It looks better with streets. Most rural travel is above 50 mph, which is where Street segments disappear. If it looks "haphazard" it's because (1) the streets themselves are haphazard, or (2) we haven't designated enough primary streets.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:06 pm

Exactly, but that isn't a reason to incorrectly mark streets. It's a reason to change how Streets are shown in the client. You don't classify something incorrectly just because of a design decision. If there weren't primary streets, your reasoning would mean that all of those should be made into highways so they showed, right? Trying to fix one problem by making others isn't the right answer.

Btw, I've seen streets disappear at 35mph when routing. I for one don't like streets disappearing, but I don't agree with stating that a street is more important than ones around it when that isn't the case just to get it to show up in the client.

Let me ask again, what is the purpose of primary streets? To make the map look pretty? Or to provide a way for the driver to know that certain routes are better than others? If there is only one route, in what way does it provide that information? If the route is equally as good as others, how does it help?
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby sketch » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:24 pm

The way we "change the display of streets" is by making them primary streets. We aren't elevating the small residential streets in towns that intersect with highways or primary streets. We're elevating streets that deserve to be elevated because they are a higher class of road than those side streets.

So lets go to the Wiki:
"Major roads or boulevards used to get across a neighborhood or city."
Those houses along the bay or whatever are as close as you come to a "neighborhood" in rural terms. That road is used to get across that neighborhood.

"Usually given higher priority for right of way with traffic controls."
I'm sure those roads all fit this criterion.

"Primary streets may have less residential driveways."
Just a guideline, and not even one thats purported to fit all examples. "May", not "generally" or "usually".

"A town’s “Main Street,” if it is not a highway, is typically a primary street."
This says nothing to say that roads that aren't the "main street" can't be primary streets. To say so would be a logical fallacy. "All interstates are freeways" does not mean "if it's not an interstate, it can't be a freeway".

"In some regions “County Roads” are typically primary streets."
Same as above. County roads are primary streets, but so are other roads which aren't county roads.

"A primary designation is very relative to population and traffic densities. In the smallest rural town, a primary street may barely be wide enough for two cars heading opposite directions to pass each other."
Not much else to be said here.

"In dense urban areas primary streets may need to be a divided road with multiple lanes of traffic in each direction having traffic controls at every intersection."
Of course this doesn't apply.

--

Just cause we would be left with a lot of primary streets up there doesn't mean they aren't worthy of being primary streets. When there are fewer streets, proportionally more of the streets are going to be important.

And we don't necessarily want Street-type segments to show above 50 miles per hour. Their equivalents disappear at speed in many commercial GPS units, and they still look fine. Those segments become clutter at a certain zoom level. The long ones, though, that carry traffic more than a few blocks or so, are important.

I've been at this a long time. I helped create the road type standards, so I'm pretty sure I know what they mean.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:24 am

A subdivision does not make a town. Lake front properties don't make a town just because there are many along the lake. And that would only apply to some of the roads even if it it did. Not every road there has anything to do with lake front property. Some have no more houses on them than any other side street.

Right of way is not really a good explanation by itself. In most rural areas, every street in either east/west or north/south direction will have right of way, while every street in the other direction will not. Except at dangerous intersections, there are generally not many four-way stops.

Fewer residential driveways doesn't even really fit any definition and doesn't really belong there no matter what is correct. By your definition, anywhere WITH many driveways should be primary. By mine, driveways really aren't important.

I've said it before and I will again, I have never stated that multiple roads cannot be primary. I have, in fact, stated that there are valid reasons for multiple roads to be primary when there is reason.

Yes, county roads are not the only ones that may be primary streets. That was very clearly added to give a reason for marking some (not all) county roads as something other than streets. It was put there to show that some (not all) may have a valid reason for being primary streets. It wasn't put there to say that every street has a good reason to be primary.

Nowhere have I said the condition of the road prevents it from being a primary street. The reasons I've given have all been focused on function and value. If the best route of many through an area is a one-lane dirt road, then absolutely, it should be primary.

Your ending says 2 distinct things. One, that it's fine if there are many primary streets (by your definition of why something is primary, the majority of all streets in northern Michigan should be primary) and then you say that we shouldn't have every street show up because it clutters the map. You can't have both worlds. Your reasoning for why these should be primary fits the majority of roads in northern Michigan. You can't pick and choose at that point. Either they are all primary streets or they are not. If you want them all to be primary streets, then the map is cluttered almost as much as if all streets are shown.

The reasoning that marking roads as primary is that they then show on the map is simply not a good reason. At least, not without another valid reason WHY that particular road NEEDS to be shown on the map. If wanting roads to appear on a map is a valid reason, then it means every person can pick and choose what they want to show up on the map. I can make my "neighborhood" all primary streets so it shows up if I wanted without regard to anything else. After all, I live in a subdivision with multiple other subdivisions in the area. On the other hand, I live out in the country and there is nothing special about these roads. In point of fact, these roads should be limited to mostly LOCAL traffic. Do you think the people along Burt Lake want THROUGH traffic driving past all of the time? Or do you think they prefer it to mostly be local traffic? In short, making something appear on the map without having reasons other than that isn't enough. So it really isn't a valid part of the discussion because by itself, it isn't enough. You need another reason.

As to you taking part in creating standards, that doesn't mean the standards cannot be brought back into discussion if they appear to not be correct. It doesn't mean that any single person has a more valid input than anyone else. If you want to say that you know about road types, well, I happen to have personal knowledge of these roads having lived there for close to 20 years. Have either have you lived up there and driven these roads all the time like I have? If we're going to play the knowledge card, I have more personal knowledge of the area and those living there. But as I said, no one's input is greater than anyone else's.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:24 am

Can we get back to just the basics? Why do we have primary streets in the first place? What is their purpose? Is their purpose just to make roads visible or is that just a side effect? Is their purpose to help people navigate and/or find the best routes from point A to point B? Is their purpose to solve routing problems? If so, is that meant as a temporary solution until the routing gets better, or as a permanent classification even if it's no longer necessary for routing? Is there another main purpose for them? Ignore all roads under discussion here and just think about primary streets in general.

EDIT:
In addition to the basic questions above, take a look at this road. It is a far more direct (and faster) route if you were to drive this direction. With the longer route marked as primary, Waze is likely to route you the longer way instead of the shorter way. If no route is primary, Waze will route you the more direct route (assuming no traffic problems). This is part of the issue with "randomly" placing primary streets as you end up telling Waze to route a certain way that may not be the best route.

Note also that there are other problems in that area that could have been fixed instead of worrying about the street type, but which were just left.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby sketch » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:22 pm

No. You misunderstood me. Streets —residential grid-type stuff — are clutter in metropolitan areas. That's why they vanish at speed.

Clutter is not a problem in rural areas. It's a problem in cities. We need Street type to disappear in cities because we have grids that we need to go away when we're going too fast to turn onto them anyway. In rural areas, we need streets to be visible. There isn't a risk of clutter because there aren't enough streets to be clutter.

So yes, almost every street in Northern Michigan should be primary.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby robc007 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:35 pm

sketch wrote:So yes, almost every street in Northern Michigan should be primary.


Before we get carried away, there are some exceptions:

Dirt Roads
1-Lane Roads
Dead Ends, Driveways, and Private Roads
Parking Lots

It might be more accurate to say, most of the paved roads with no speed limit should be primary. Things like length, highway attachment, and MDOT class may not be definitive, but they do help to define the "collector" roads.
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