Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Category Archive: 'roadgeeking'

Changes to the California Highways Web Site – July / August 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Sep 10, 2016 @ 3:14 pm PDT


Labor Day weekend. A traditional time for me to do computer updates, be it writing code while on vacation in Hawaii listening to the Jerry Lewis Telethon when I was in college, or doing updates in the early morning while on vacation (while looking at I-15 in front of me, near one of the most spectacular bridges on that route). Hopefully, these will take less time than the last batch. [Update: They didn’t, which is why I’m finishing things post-vacation at my desk, listening to the music I picked up on vacation.]

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers (which are posted to the roadgeeking category at the “Observations Along The Road” and to the California Highways Facebook group) as well as any backed up email changes. I also reviewed the the AAroads forum. This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(1), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail) from Mike Ballard(2), Coatimundi @ AAroads(3), Concrete Bob @ AAroads(4), DTComposer @ AARoads(5), Jonathan Ledbetter(6), Sparker @ AARoads(7), Scott Presnel (ACSAMapCollector) @ AARoads(8), Quillz @ AARoads(9), Max Rockatansky at AAroads(10), Joe Rouse at AAroads(11), and Joel Windmiller(12): Route 1(7,8,5), Route 2(1,8), Route 4(1), I-5(1,7,11), I-8(6), I-10(1), Route 11(1), Route 14(2,11), I-15(1,7), Route 17(1), Route 29(1), Route 37(1), LRN 43(7), Route 45(7), Route 49(1,11), US 50(11), Route 58(7,11), Route 59(7), Route 65(7,4), Former US 66(1,7), Route 76(1), I-80(1,12), Route 85(1), US 97(6), Former US 99 and current Route 99(1,7), US 101(1,7,9), Route 102(7,11), Route 107(7), Route 116(1), Route 120(1,7), Route 140(7), LRN 161(7), Route 167(7), Route 172(7), Route 180(7), LRN 190(7), I-210(7), Route 262(7), Route 263(1), Route 271(7), Route 276(3), US 299/Route 299(1,10), Route 371(1), US 395(1,2), I-405(1,8), I-580(1), I-710(1), Riverside County Route R2(7,10). I’ll note there were some particular good background information posts on AAroads — I’ve hopefully been able to capture that information so it isn’t lost into the void (with attribution, of course).

Added a link in the FAQ to California’s Postmile Service, an interesting site to map postmiles to geographic locations. Hat tip to Jonathan Ledbetter for the link.

Noted a post by Quillz on AAroads on 7/16/2016 that provided the sign specifications for the 1934 “bear” shield signage. This was put on the pre-Interstate numbering page.

Added some observations on the chronology of LRNs from Sparker at AAroads.


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California Highway Headlines for August 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Sep 01, 2016 @ 7:55 am PDT

userpic=roadgeekingAugust. The beginning of brush fire season in Southern California. So far this month, we’ve seen numerous highways closed due to brush fires, from Route 14 and I-15, to Route 1, to the routes up in Lake County. We need the other LA to send us some rain. So while you’re staying safe (hopefully) on the roads, here are some headlines from the month:

  • Calaveras State Route 49 Rumble Strip Safety Project Complete. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has recently completed an $823,000 rumble strip safety project on State Route 49 (SR-49) at various locations throughout Calaveras County. This project installed rumble strips which are ground into the pavement and designed to alert drivers when their vehicles leave their traffic lane. As tires pass over the rumble strips, drivers can hear the noise and feel the vibration produced by these rumble strips…
  • Highway 99 rest area off-ramp to close for roadway repairs. The California Department of Transportation sent out two commuter alerts for Tulare County motorists. First, the southbound Highway 99 off-ramp to Dodge Avenue will be closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The exit also serves the CH Warlow rest area, just north of Traver.
  • Motorists flocking to newly opened I-580 express lanes in Alameda County. Motorists took nearly 1.9 million trips on Interstate 580’s new express lanes in Alameda County in the first four months the lanes opened to vehicle traffic earlier this year, according to a recent report. The $345 million project opened on the notoriously congested Tri-Valley corridor in mid-February to solo drivers, who pay an extra toll to use the lane, and to carpoolers, who can drive for free.
  • The Future of Neighborhoods: Removing Urban Freeways Gains Fresh Traction. Growing up on the north side of Charlotte, North Carolina, Anthony Foxx remembers the geography of his childhood being defined by a quiet neighborhood of ranch-style houses, well-kept lawns—and an imposing brick wall at the end of the block. On the other side of the wall, there ran a high-speed on-ramp that connected the eastbound lanes of Interstate 85 with the southbound lanes of Interstate 77, two highways that cradled the northeast corner of the neighborhood. For Foxx, the wall, the highways, and the hum of traffic blended into the background. He knew nothing different. Over time, he came to understand they weren’t part of the neighborhood at all but more like interloping house guests.


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California Highway Headlines for July 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Aug 01, 2016 @ 9:36 am PDT

userpic=roadgeekingJuly. The hot summer. While you are hopefully staying cool, here are some headlines related to California Highways that I noticed:

  • Getting the roundabout from the state. Sometime next year or a little bit later, the intersection of Valley Center Road & Hwy 76 will get be converted into a roundabout. The total cost of the project will be $17.5 million, which includes approximately $9 million in construction capital and $3.5 million in right-of-way capital. According to the Cal Trans website the goal of the project is “Reduce the number and severity of accidents at SR-76 and Valley Center Road and realign the curves just east of the intersection.” Design of the preferred alternative is tentatively scheduled for completion in 2016, with construction to be done in 2017.
  • VTA scales back toll lane plans. A controversial plan to construct toll lanes in the Highway 85 median could be abandoned, after city leaders made clear that the undeveloped strip of land dividing the congested highway ought to be reserved for transit rather than solo drivers in the increasingly crowded Santa Clara Valley. In June, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) board of directors agreed to put a half-cent sales tax measure on the November ballot. If passed, the tax would generate $6.5 billion over 30 years, and would help to pay for myriad transportation projects throughout the region.
  • Supervisors approve land exchange with Caltrans for 76 widening . The widening of State Route 76 from two lanes to four between South Mission Road and Interstate 15 requires the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to acquire land from the County of San Diego, but the county was willing to sell land and grant easements to Caltrans in exchange for cash and Caltrans remnant parcels. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 June 22, with Greg Cox in Sacramento, to approve the sale of 6.94 acres of county-owned land and the granting of 2.98 acres of easements in exchange for $143,599 in cash and three Caltrans remnant parcels valued at $155,800. The Caltrans remnant parcels total 112,415 square feet, or 2.58 acres.


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Changes to the California Highways Website: January – June 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Jul 06, 2016 @ 7:13 pm PDT


Yes, I know updates are starting late. Between all my theatre (you do read my theatre reviews, don’t you), the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and other volunteer activities, I haven’t had time to do much on the site. But it is May (and now it is June … and now it is July 4th weekend), and I really should get something done. So let’s at least catch up…

But first, if you take a look at the bottom of this page, you’ll see that this site has existed, in some form, for 30 years. It started as posting of a highway list to the various highway related USENET groups. It then became a site of its own on Pacificnet (which, surprisingly, is still around, but I have no idea who still uses it). During the days at Pacificnet, the cahighways.org domain was created. When Pacificnet got rid of shell accounts in 2004, I moved the site to Westhost, where it has been since. But 30 years. Wow.

I have debated making some changes to the look and feel, possibly going to a content management system. I’m not sure if I could juggle two WordPress installations (as my blog is a WordPress installation on the site). I’ve also though about possibly moving the main information to a wiki. There’s a possibility those would make it easier to edit. However, editing isn’t the time sink — it is going through all the headlines, all the legislative actions, and all the CTC minutes. That simply takes time, whatever the content management approach. I am aware that the look and feel is dated (and not at all well-suited to mobile). I’m open to your comments on this. Please leave your comments on potentially changing the look and feel on this change post on the blog, or mail them to me at faigin -at cahighways.org.

One change that I will likely explore is moving the site to https://. Part of me objects to that change: encryption is really only needed if you have something to protect, and this site is public information. But search engines are starting to insist on it, so when I find time, I’ll check with Westhost and see what is involved. It may mean moving to a newer virtual machine, and will mean upgrading the blog and possibly all the other sites hosted here (mljewish.org, scjfaq.org, casaeclectica.com). But the key words are: when I find time. For now, let’s look at the last four-five months of updates:

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers (which are posted to the roadgeeking category at the “Observations Along The Road” and to the California Highways Facebook group) as well as any backed up email changes. I also reviewed the the AAroads forum. Both of the before are through the end of May 2016. I’ve given up on misc.transport.road. This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(1), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail) from John Culbert(2), djsekani@AAroads(17), Andy Field(3), Ralph Herman(4), Inyomono395@AAroads(5), Jeffe@AAroads(6), Jonathan Ledbetter(7), JustDrive@AAroads(8), Laurence Maller(9), OccidentalTourist@AAroads(10), Joe Rouse(11), Rschen7754@AAroads(12), Arturo Salazar(13), Chris Sampang(14), Larry Scholnick(15), sparker@AARoads(18), Jeffrey Stone(17), and Joel Windmiller(16): Route 1(1,14,8), Route 3(1), Route 4(1), I-5(1,7,3), I-8(3), I-10(1), Route 11(12), Route 12(1,3), Route 14(13), I-15(1), Route 17(1), Route 20(1), Route 23(1), Route 25(1), Route 24(17), Route 29(1,3), Route 37(1,3), Route 39(1), US 50(1,3), Route 41(3), Route 43(3), Route 52(1), Route 57(1), Route 60(1), Route 65(1), Route 66(1,3), Route 69(18), Route 71(1), Route 74(1), Route 75(1,3), Route 76(3), I-80(1,16), Route 89(1), Route 90(1), Route 91(1), Route 92(1), Route 99(1), Route 100(14), US 101(1,3,6), Route 103(10,3), I-105(1), Route 110(1,13), Route 111(17), Route 118(1), Route 119(1), Route 120(1), Route 121(1), Route 126(3), Route 132(1), Route 134(1), Route 138(1), Route 140(1), Route 148(9), Route 154(1), Route 160(1), Route 162(3), Route 180(1), Route 198(3), I-210(4), I-215(1), Route 221(1), Route 245(18), Route 246(1), I-280(1), US 395(1,5,16), I-405(1), I-580(1,11), I-605(1), I-680(1), I-710(1), I-805(1), I-880(1), Santa Clara County Route G4(1), Sacramento County Route J10(2). Los Angeles County Route N4(15), Los Angeles County Route N6(15), Los Angeles County Route N7(15).


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California Highway Headlines for June 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Jun 30, 2016 @ 11:29 am PDT

userpic=roadgeekingI had hoped to finish the updates to the California Highways pages by the end of May. Thanks to an auto accident after the Science Festival led to having to replace a car, that didn’t happen. I then hoped to have them done by mid-June. Thanks to the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB) and seeing (and writing up) 17 shows, that didn’t happen. The plan is now to finish everything by the end of the 4th of July weekend. But we have two shows booked for that weekend, so let’s see if it really happens. Meanwhile, news keeps popping up about California Highways; here’s what popped out in June (those items that have not yet been processed into the pages are shown with ♦):

  • Caltrans wants public input on Highway 17 plan. There are now 60,000 vehicles that drive Highway 17 each weekday. That’s up from 54,500 just two years ago. And by 2040, that number is expected to soar to nearly 80,000. Bracing for the increase, Caltrans wants to improve how motorists get on and off the congested corridor in Santa Cruz County. And the transportation agency is asking for public to weigh in.
  • Roundabouts are coming, but do they work?. On key Napa-area roads, the shape of things to come may be a circle. City and state officials are moving toward replacing a set of busy intersections with a trio of roundabouts to link Highway 29 with downtown Napa. Engineers have offered another circular hub – or two – to replace a convoluted five-way junction on the east end of town. Even outside the city limits, a planned high-speed connection between Highways 29 and 221 could see a towering flyover ramp replaced by yet another pair of roundabouts.
  • Lawmakers unplug a plan to commercialize California’s electronic freeway signs. Lawmakers deadlocked this week on a bill to allow electronic freeway billboards operated by California to show commercial advertising as a way to pay for transportation improvements. However, opponents of the measure said Friday that they would not be surprised to see the proposal brought back next year.


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California Highway Headlines for May 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Jun 01, 2016 @ 11:06 am PDT

userpic=roadgeekingThis post provides links to articles I’ve seen over the past month related to California Highways. As I am finally working on an update to the California Highways pages (Memorial Day weekend), those items that have not yet been processed into the pages are shown with ♦. [Update: Didn’t finish Memorial Day weekend. I have a few more AAroads articles to go through, plus the legislature actions and the CTC minutes. It’ll be done sometime in June]

  • Why a historic highway that united California’s two halves may never reopen to cars. Harrison Scott discovered the Ridge Route in 1955. Then 18, he was out freewheeling in a brand new Ford he’d bought with a loan from his parents. The sinuous route, an engineering marvel that tamed the San Gabriel Mountains through the highway corridor that is now known as the Grapevine, was already a relic. Opened in 1915, and credited by historians with uniting the economies of Northern and Southern California, the notoriously slow and dangerous roadway had been superseded in 1933 by Highway 99, itself to be replaced in 1970 by the 5 Freeway. Scott liked the abandoned motorway, but did not return to the route until exploring it again in 1991, this time on a road trip with his son. Spurred by the boy’s interest, and retired from a long career with Pacific Telephone, Scott became an amateur historian and began collecting photos and stories of the highway.
  • It’s a mess along O.C.’s part of PCH, traffic study says. Traffic congestion and safety conflicts among vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians continue to plague traveling conditions along Orange County’s portion of Pacific Coast Highway, according to a newly published transportation study. The nearly $400,000 report, released last month and conducted by the Orange County Transportation Authority and the California Department of Transportation, examined the iconic but aging 37-mile highway from Seal Beach to San Clemente.
  • Highway 121 repairs could cost $5.5 million. Highway 121 is at least several months and $5.5 million away from once again having both lanes open north of Wooden Valley Road between Napa and Lake Berryessa. A section of the northbound lane on the narrow, two-lane road slipped a half-dozen feet during early March storms. The road reopened on March 25 with temporary signals in place to alternate traffic in the southbound lane.


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California Highway Headlines for April 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun May 01, 2016 @ 12:45 pm PDT

userpic=roadgeekingHere are the collected headlines and other identified articles of interest from April 2016 related to California Highways:

  • Roadshow: Is new Valley Fair interchange dangerous? This man’s son died there. Q I was riveted by your column about the traffic problems at Interstate 280 and I-880 near Valley Fair, and the drivers who related near-accidents. My second son, Michael Boys, was thrown from his motorcycle and killed at that interchange on Dec. 4 soon after the construction was finished. My other sons and I have visited the scene, and it appears to us as well that there are really serious problems that make this a dangerous intersection. He was exiting 280 for 880 north, and that seems the focus of the other people who wrote in.
  • After decade of planning, Hwy 80 interchange reconstruction project gets underway in San Pablo. Following a decade of planning, a $118.8 million project to improve a major Interstate Highway 80 bottleneck in San Pablo is getting underway. Elected officials and local transportation leaders gathered Friday to celebrate the beginning of reconstruction work on Highway 80’s more than 50-year-old San Pablo Dam Road interchange.
  • Lakehead’s New Antlers Bridge Gets Artsy. How about this fish story? Twenty-five-foot largemouth bass spotted at Shasta Lake. It’s not a stretch—it’s art. A design featuring two colorful concrete bass leaping at minnows is repeated four times on the new Antlers Bridge under construction on Interstate 5 about 25 miles north of Redding. If you want to catch it, look fast. There’s an eye-level view of the lunkers—one measuring 25 feet and the other stretching 16 feet—from the current Antlers Bridge spanning the lake’s Sacramento Arm at Lakehead. When traffic switches to the new bridge, which is expected to happen in late summer or fall, the I-5 blur-by will no longer be a viewing option.


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Link Chum Stew: What’s In The Pot This Week, Johnny?

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Apr 17, 2016 @ 3:05 pm PDT

Observation StewThis afternoon, I’ve been spending some time cleaning up. What’s this? A list of links? Let’s write about them before they go stale and rotten (like the plums on the dining room table):

  • Dancing Around Politics. If you’ve been around LA at all of late, you’ve probably been handed a flyer for the Shen Yun dance troupe, who have been performing at halls across the city. You’ve probably never heard of them. The LA Times had an interesting article on who they really are and who is backing them: they are a touring dance troupe founded in New York by practitioners of Falun Gong, the spiritual practice banned by the Chinese Communist Party in 1999. The party calls it a cult; Falun Gong says the Chinese government is trying to eradicate thousands of years of culture and tradition and that its repression of Shen Yun shows an intolerance of freedom of expression and religion. Indisputably, the dance company — marking its 10th anniversary — has become a cultural phenomenon. That fits with what my wife called the show: religious indoctrination.  As the article noted: “Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that the bright costumes and spinning dancers are meant to convey a message. “The Falun Gong has a very well organized, managed and elaborate program of public relations, and Shen Yun is part of that,” said James Tong, a UCLA professor, expert in Chinese politics and author of a book about the Communist Party and Falun Gong. When audiences see Shen Yun, “people want to know more about the Falun Gong.””
  • Digital Last Wills. Here’s a good reminder article from LastPass about Digital Wills. As they note in the article: “When preparing a will, many of us focus on our monetary and physical assets. But what about social media accounts? Or email addresses? Or the myriad of online accounts we use to manage our lives, every day? Making a “digital will” that includes passwords and other important digital details will go a long way in helping those who need to settle your affairs, or in helping you if you need to settle the affairs of others.” It is an important concern: I know I do my banking via Quicken… would my wife be able to easy pick that up. To inform all those whom I’m friends with online of what is happening with me? To pass off my highway pages somewhere? To handle other online financial accounts?
  • Upgrading Your Smartphone the Smart Way. Here’s an interesting article on how cell phone companies get you yet again: the upgrade fees if you buy a phone through them. With some, it is cheaper to buy your phone elsewhere, and then just bring it in and have it activated. Useful information to know.
  • Fighting Blisters. One of the scourges of walking as exercise are blisters. They are the reason I’ve switched to Injinji Toe Socks and Vibram Five Fingers. Too bad I didn’t know about this: there is evidently an easy way to combat blisters: use of surgical paper tape. I’ll have to give it a try one day, especially when the plantars fasciitis is acting up and I need shoes with padding and arch support.
  • Women in Cybersecurity. As you know, I’m part of ACSA, the sponsoring group behind SWSIS — the schoarship for women studying information security. Here’s a profile about one of our first recipients. I met Jill when she came out to ACSAC; I wish I had known this about her.
  • High Fidelity. Yesterday was Record Store day, and alas I missed it. But then again, I have enough records for this month. The iPod is at just under 38,000 songs. But here’s a good guide, for Record Store Day, about getting the right equipment to play your records. As for me, I have two turntables (Technics and Sansui), a good JVC amplifier with a phono curve, which feeds into my soundcard and the Roxio tools for recording to MP3 or WAV.
  • Free, as in Free Gigs. How would you like 2GB of free days for a month or two? Evidently, Verizon has a promotion where if you use Android Pay at three retailers, they’ll give you and extra 2GB for two months. The giveaway is part of a promotion that encourages people to start using Android Pay, which is essentially the Android version of mobile payments. Any Verizon customer with a postpaid plan who has an Android Pay-compatible phone will get 1GB of free data the next time they use Google’s mobile payment platform. Use it another two times, for a total of three separate purchases, and Verizon will throw in another gigabyte of free data.Once you’ve got the data freebie, Verizon says you’ll be able to use it across two billing cycles. The offer ends on June 14.
  • Mulholland Drive. Lastly, here’s a fascinating history article on Mulholland Drive: its origins and first plans. If you happen to be inspired to drive all of Mulholland — including the dirt portion across the top of the Santa Monicas, keep your eye out for a watch. I lost it there sometime in high school :-).


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