Sitekeeping

A recent article about Chrome moving to mark all HTTP sites as Non-Secure has rekindled some thinking about a potential remodel of the Highway side of cahighways.org. I don’t necessarily believe that the highway side needs to be HTTPS (after all, this is really low impact data, and the risk is relatively low), but the actions of Google plus the desire to ensure that advertising or malware isn’t inserted in the data stream is going to push me to HTTPS. Plus, as a cybersecurity professional in real life, I should practice what I preach. So I’ve renewed the certificate for cahighways.org, and I’ve got the blog side of the site already set to be always HTTPS. I believe I’ve got the Highway side so that the pages are all using or referencing secure sources (some images on the book reference page are broken right now), but I’m waiting for Westhost to help do the final HTTPS redirect.

To understand what I’m planning to do, you need to understand something about the setup of the Highways side of the site, other than it is old. I keep individual files for each highway. I run a perl script over these files that builds them into the pretty version the user sees, puts 8 highways per file, builds all the cross references when highways are mentioned, and such. For non-individual highway pages, it takes a source version of the page and fixes links and references to generate the final HTML version of the page. My remodeled setup will need to retain all of that, and ideally, will not break any link into the site that other sites may have, except, perhaps, forcing them to HTTPS.

I’d like to build upon a notion I use for an application I’ve developed at work, where I download an HTML template file that has markers for the title (%TITLE%) and the gooey center (%BODY%). The generation scripts will insert whatever my content is into that template. At work, I use a hidden template file in a WordPress installation. I can’t do that here, because I use WordPress for the blog and I’ll need a different content management system for the site.

I’d also like the updated site to be more responsive and adaptive — in other words, it would automatically adapt to mobile and other devices. This may need to change how I refer to my image callouts. Luckily, I can have my perl generation scripts fix IMG tags to add whatever I need. I also plan to have a script that will change http: in image callouts to https: (if they aren’t local), and potentially, to do automatic validation that websites are still good by attempting to download from them.

What I’m thinking is that I’ll install a second either content management system (CMS) or blog on the Highway side of the site, and if necessary, make index.html do a reload of whatever the top page is of the CMS. The question is: which CMS or Blog. The Softalicious Installer lists the following blogging software packages as available for installation (in addition to WordPress): Open BlogSerendipityDotclearb2evolutionTextpatternNibbleblogLifeTypePixieNucleusChyrpeggBlogHTMLyPivotXFlatPress, and Movable Type. One thing I don’t know is whether a second installation would create mysql conflicts with WordPress. In terms of CMSs available, there is: Joomla, Open Real Estate, Concrete5, MODX, e107, CMS Made Simple,  Xoops,  Composr,  Drupal,  Website Baker,  PHP-Nuke,  Subrion,  sNews,   Kliqqi,   jCore,   Contao,   Silex,  GRAV,  SilverStripe,  Geeklog,  Bolt,  ProcessWire,  Kirby,  Koken,  Pluck,  ImpressPages,  Quick.CMS,  Sitemagic CMS,  Redaxscript,  ImpressCMS,  Open Business Card,  Monstra,  Mahara,  PopojiCMS,  Bludit,  Microweber,  SiteCake,  Croogo,  Jamroom,  Pimcore,  Anchor,  PluXml,  WonderCMS,  Fiyo CMS,  Typesetter,  razorCMS, SeoToaster CMS, Pagekit, OctoberCMS, Cotonti, Hotaru CMS, TYPO3, Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware 15, Zenario, liveSite, Kopage, SCHLIX CMS, CMSimple, Precurio, appRain, ClipperCMS, and. Wolf CMS. No, I’m not going to link all of these; you can see them here.

So, I’d appreciate thoughts any readers who have made it this far might have.

Share

Headlines About California Highways – January 2018

Ah, a new year. But what a start, with floods in Montecito on top of the recent fires. Let’s look at the headlines, shall we?

  • SR 67 tunnel would potentially connect trails throughout county. A vision hatched nearly three years ago to create an interconnected trail system that stretches across much of the county is inching ahead with a recent vote of the Poway City Council. Officials agreed to fund the creation of designs for a pedestrian tunnel that would be built beneath state Route 67 just north of the intersection of Poway Road and the highway. The designs, which will cost the city $22,000, with half that amount being reimbursed by the county, would then be submitted as part of a state grant application.
  • Sacramento Road Sign in Ocean City to be Updated. For a westbound driver on U.S. Route 50 departing Ocean City, it’s a long road ahead, according to a green highway sign than hangs near the Harry Kelley Bridge. But the cross-country trip to California may not be as long as the sign indicates.
  • The Harse Beauty and Banality of the 110-105 Interchange. The 110-105 interchange holds a unique place in the psyche of Los Angeles. I’ve always called it The Cathedral, because it feels like you’re inside one when you’re driving under the towering, chapel-like crests of the ramps connecting the highways. The sounds of speeding engines in trucks and cars amplify against the network of massive concrete pillars sustaining the bridges, so it almost sounds like voices singing from a hymnal.
  • Golden Gate Bridge gets security upgrade in past year. The Golden Gate Bridge this year has undergone a tightening of security, prompted by terrorism, suicides and two interlopers who made their way to the top of the span in the dead of night.
  • Caltrans: Rising Waters From Climate Change Will Endanger Bay Area Freeways. A new Caltrans study released Wednesday revealed the havoc rising water levels in the San Francisco Bay caused by climate change could create on Bay Area roadways. It is the first of 12 studies Caltrans will conduct — one for each of its regions — as the transportation agency begins to plan for the future impact of climate change

Read More …

Share

Changes to the California Highways Website: September – December 2017

We’ve come to the end of another year, with many promises broken (where is that Infrastructure bill again?), some kept (SB1 seems to be working), and some satisfied only as an illusion. But, if you want politics, you go to my blog. If you want highway stuff with more facts and less opinion, you come to the main pages. Speaking of the main pages, a thought has begun to crop into my head: I need to do a bit of remodeling. I’m “old school”, working off hard-coded HTML, minimal style sheets, and information generated through perl scripts. I’d like to bring the page frameworks into something more responsive, and something that will work better for mobile devices. I’d also like to move any internal site references to HTTPS if possible (and if Westhost gets the certificate stuff straightened out). I don’t really need HTTPS, but being a cybersecurity professional, my site should probably use it even though there is no real risk to mitigate. Not to mention that I don’t want browsers flagging my site as insecure or dangerous, because they can’t understand the context or the purpose of a site. In any case, if readers have pointers to sites I should peruse to learn how to do this, please let me know.

Moving on to the 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. This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(1), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail) from andy3175/AARoads(2), Tom Fearer​/​Max Rockatansky/AARoads(3), Kniwt/AARoads(4), Sparker/AARoads(5): Route 1(1,3), US 6(5), I-10(1), Route 14(1), I-15(1), Route 26(1), Route 27(1), Route 29(1), Route 33(3), Route 37(1), Route 39(1), Route 41(1,3), Route 46(1), Route 49(1), US 50(5), Route 51/Business Route 80(2), Route 58(3), Route 63(1,3), Route 64(1), Route 66(3), Route 67(1), Route 68(3), Route 70(1), Route 74(1), Route 75(3), Route 79(1), I-80(1,2), Route 91(1), Route 99(1,3), US-101(1,3), LRN 117(3), Route 120(1), Route 121(1), Route 123(1),LRN 134(3), Route 137(1,3), Route 152(1,3), Route 156(3), Route 168(4,5), Route 180(3), I-205(3), I-210(1), Route 216(3), Route 233(3), Route 241(1), I-280(1), Southern Crossing / I-380(1); I-580(3), I-680(1), I-710(1), County Route J1(3), and Los Angeles County Route N1(1).

Added links from Challenger66’s posts on the “Sure, Why Not?” blog to the appropriate pages: Route 1, Route 24, Route 25, Route 41, Route 43, Route 58, Route 63, Route 65, Route 66, Route 68, Route 75, Route 99, US 101, Route 137, Route 140, Route 152, Route 156, Route 180, Route 183, Route 201, Route 204, I-205, Route 216, Route 218, Route 233, I-580, County Route G16, County Route G17, County Route G20, County Route J1, County Route J21. Thanks to Challenger (cough) Max (cough) Tom (cough) Whatever your name is today for putting these up.

Moved all the historic route designations to the proper sections.

Fixed the links to the various resolution archives in the chronology. A tip of the hat to James White, Senior Transportation Surveyor, in Caltrans District 7 for catching that the websites had moved.

Added a question to the FAQ to provide links to sites to see how highway money is being spent.

Reviewed the Pending Legislation page, based on the new California Legislature site. As usual, I recommend to every Californian that they visit the legislative website regularly and see what their legis-critters are doing. I noted the passage/veto of the following bills and resolutions (for some of these, I’ve highlighted key phrases in red):

Read More …

Share

Headlines about California Highways: December 2017

It’s the last week of the last month of the year, so guess how that means I’m spending my Christmas? That’s right, doing highway updates before I go out for Chinese Food and a movie. I’ve already processed the October and November headlines, which means I now need to post the December headlines so I can process them. I should have the updates completed, and ready for upload and posting, by the end of the year. Here are your headlines:

  • Hemet City Council attempts to go over Caltrans’ head in median strip protest. A letter written in the strongest terms with supporting data objecting to Caltrans plans to erect a median strip on Florida Avenue is being sent to the state transportation department by the Hemet City Council, following a contentious council discussion Tuesday, Nov. 14. The issue with Caltrans plans to build the median strips in the middle of Florida Avenue from West Acacia through the downtown area and to the eastern city limits has been the subject of controversy between Caltrans District 8 project manager and engineers and the city for months.
  • Westside Parkway and the Centennial Corridor; Future California State Route 58. After completing California State Route 43 I doubled back north to Stockdale Highway to check out a major highway construction project which will eventually reroute CA 58; the Westside Parkway and Centennial Corridor.
  • California State Route 204; Former US 99 in Bakersfield. After finishing the Westside Parkway I swung onto California State Route 58 eastbound. I pulled off on California State Route 204 to take north through the city of Bakersfield.
  • California State Route 65; South Segment. After leaving Bakersfield I decided to take a mountain side way back to Fresno and turned off CA 99 onto the southern portion of California State Route 65.

Read More …

Share

California Highway Headlines for November 2017

November is always a busy month as we come down to the wire to the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference. But I do have time to grab headlines as they come across the wire…. although it does seem there were fewer this month than usual…

  • Boyd Drive (former California State Route 63). Continuing where I left off from the J21 blog I had to find a way out of the Sierras. I’ve taken CA 245 so many times that it seemed kind of passe to do it in some abbreviated way south to Woodlake. That being the case I noticed an oddity on some state highway maps from the early 1950s which showed California State Route 63 running east of Orosi to what was CA 65 along Boyd Drive. Traveling southbound on CA 245 I turned west onto former CA 63 on Boyd Drive.
  • Signed County Route J21. I thought it might be interesting to explore some previous journeys this year before I started writing road blogs. This particular trip was back in January of this year as the Sierras were getting pounded by some of the heaviest winter weather California has seen in a long time. I was looking for an interesting route to take which brought me back to a route my GPS always seemed to be pushing to get off of CA 245; Signed County Route J21. J21 is an 18 mile Signed County Route created in 1968 entirely within Tulare County. J21 runs entirely on Dry Creek Road and has junctions at CA 216 to the south in addition to CA 245 to the north. Much like almost all Signed County Routes in Tulare County, J21 is in fact now unsigned. I began my trip on J21 northward from CA 216 under a malaise of low hanging mountain fog, the guide sign showed Badger to only 19 miles to the north.
  • Throwback Thursday; California State Route 75. I figured that I would throw my hat in for some Throwback Thursdays myself given that I have a ton of older road albums that I’ve been looking at updating. Today’s throw back goes back to February 5th 2010 along California State Route 75 in Coronado.
  • Roadshow: New bridge on Highway 101 is pathway to Caltrain. Q: You mentioned a new pedestrian/bike bridge is coming on Highway 101 at Hillsdale Boulevard. Why in the world do we need separate pedestrian/bike bridges anyway? There was one built on 101 at Marine Parkway/Ralston Avenue a few years ago and there are rarely any pedestrians or bikes on it — certainly not enough to justify the cost. There are already regular bridges at these locations, and they have sidewalks. Why can’t pedestrians and bikes use these bridges as they have for the last 50 years? Pedestrians and bikes share all other roads with cars, so why not the same with bridges? What a waste.
  • Lake County highway projects get go-ahead from state commission. The California Transportation Commission has approved nearly $15 million in highway projects for Lake County. At its meeting earlier this month, the commission approved 90 major “fix-it-first” transportation projects across California, worth nearly $3.4 billion, submitted by Caltrans. Caltrans said it added nearly 1,200 lane miles of pavement repair and 66 bridges to its growing list of projects to be delivered sooner than planned thanks to the imminent influx of revenue from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, or SB 1, the transportation funding and reform package the State Legislature passed in April.

Read More …

Share

Headlines About California Highways from October 2017

We survived October, some better than others. We’ve seen significant damage to our roadways and communities from fires. We’ve seen roads closed during the spring storms start to reopen. We’ve already seen roads being closed due to snow. And winter is coming folks: bringing more storms and wet weather. On the funding front, we’re starting to see the allocations show up from SB1, the increase in the gas tax to cover transportation and transportation infrastructure maintenance. We’re also seeing folks gearing up to fight the gas tax, without a proposal for how our roads will be funded. Interesting times indeed, and it doesn’t even explore how the Federal tax proposals will impact highway funding.

And you thought Halloween was scary.

But… let’s ignore it… and look at the headlines… and for those of you reading this on my blog, I got out the tools and spiffed up the place a little. I’d love to hear what you think of the remodel.

  • I-680 express lanes opening Monday. After over two years of construction, the opening date for San Ramon Valley’s Interstate 680 express lanes are officially scheduled to open this Monday (Oct. 9). The $56 million project has involved converting the single high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction into a toll express lane as a tool to help reduce congestion. It includes one northbound express lane from Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon to Livorna Road in Alamo, and one southbound express lane from Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to Alcosta Boulevard.
  • What can be done to ease southwest Riverside County traffic on the 15 Freeway?. There was a time when traffic flowed freely on the 15 Freeway. There also was a time when we used the Pony Express to send long-distance messages. And while it wasn’t 160 years ago that the 15 Freeway was without congestion, it may seem so when you’re crawling along slower than a tired pony. Temecula Councilman Mike Naggar is leading a rescue posse to do something before the traffic gets worse.
  • Marin carpool lane expansion project still stalled out. Plans to expand carpool lane hours in Marin are still stuck in neutral. Last week local politicians, transportation officials and Caltrans representatives met to talk about a Metropolitan Transportation Commission plan to expand the hours from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 to 9 a.m. southbound on Highway 101 as a three-month pilot. But there remains opposition from most Marin officials, who fear the move would make traffic worse on the freeway. Caltrans — the agency with the final say — has remained non-committal. The initial MTC plan had the pilot going from October to December, but that has failed to materialize.
  • Marin has four highway hot spots on traffic nightmare list. If the Novato-to-San Rafael morning commute feels like it has grown worse in recent years, it’s because it has, according to a Metropolitan Transportation Commission report. The agency released a list of the 50 most-congested corridors in the region and four locales are in Marin. The latest findings — based on 2016 traffic counts — show the morning southbound Highway 101 commute from Rowland Boulevard in Novato to North San Pedro Road in San Rafael is 15th worst in the Bay Area. The ranking was based on traffic measured from 6:40 to 10:05 a.m. Last year it was 14th. While the segment dropped in rank, the traffic got worse.

Read More …

Share

September 2017 Headlines about California Highways

Ah, September. A month for endings. Not route endings, but the ending of summer and the start of fall, the ending of 5777 and the start of 5778, and the ending of the government fiscal year and the start of a new one. I hope that your September ended on a good note. With that, some headlines:

  • New Protected Bikeway Connects Mid-City To Mission Valley. State and local transportation officials on Wednesday opened a mile-long protected bike lane alongside SR-15, creating a safer and more comfortable bike route between Mission Valley and Mid-City neighborhoods. Construction of the $15.5 million bikeway took about a year and a half, but plans for the project were first adopted locally in 2010. The project was a joint effort by Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments, the regional transportation planning agency.
  • California lawmakers act to name stretch of 134 Freeway in honor of former President Obama. State lawmakers Tuesday gave final approval to designating a section of the 134 Freeway as the President Barack H. Obama Highway in honor of the 44th president of the United States.
  • Progress on I-5 Construction in San Clemente. Work on the northbound I-5 ramps at Avenida Pico in San Clemente, which are being realigned to accommodate a freeway widening through the city, is expected to be completed by late October. The widening is part of a $230 million project to extend the carpool lanes from San Juan Capistrano to San Clemente. The project requires the complete reconstruction of the Pico interchange, with Pico being widened and straightened to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion.

Read More …

Share

Changes to California Highways (The Website): June – September 2017

We’re up to the closing three-day weekend of the summer, and that means it is time to start on a website update. It’s been a busy summer and a hot summer, with an almost 4,900 road trip from Los Angeles CA to Madison WI and back, out through the middle (Colorado, Nebraska) and back through St. Louis and the “mother road”. Work has continued on California Highways, especially thanks to some tax modifications that provided a much needed infrastructure boost to the state. As for that promised Infrastructure bill from the Feds, it remains just that, a promise.

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), Bill Deaver(3), Andy Field(4), Gonealookin/AARoads(5), Ron Langum(6), NE2/AARoads(7), Alex Nitzman(8), Max Rockatansky/AARoads(9), Joe Rouse(10), Sparker/AARoads(11); Michelle Sandoval(12), Richard Severeid(13): Route 1(1), Route 4(6), I-5(1), Former US 6(2), I-8(1), I-10(1), Route 12(13), I-15(1), Route 16(1), Route 25(1), Route 27(1), Route 29(1), Route 32(9), Route 36(1), LRN 36(7,9,11), Route 37(1), US 40(9), Route 41(9,11), Route 43(9), Route 49(1,9,7,11), US 50(1,5,9), Route 57(1), Route 58(1,10), Route 62(1), Route 63(7,9,11), Route 65(9), Former US 66(1), Route 70(9), Route 75(1), Route 76(1), I-80(1,9), Route 87(1), Route 88(9,11), Route 89(1), Route 91(1), Route 94(1), LRN 94(11), Route 99(1,13), US 101(1,4), Route 104(9,11), Route 108(1), Route 120(9), LRN 120(9), Route 121(1), Route 124(9,11), Route 132(1), Route 134(1), LRN 135(9), Route 136(9), Route 138(1), Route 140(9), Route 145(9), Route 146(9), Route 152(1), Route 155(11), Route 158(9), Route 163(1), Route 172(9,11,7), Route 174(1), Route 178(1,9), Route 180(9), Route 201(9), Route 203(9), Route 204(1), Route 211(11), Route 237(1), Route 269(9), Route 270(9), US 395(1), I-405(1), US 466(3), Route 480(1), I-505(8), I-580(1), I-605(1), I-680(1), I-710(1), Monterey County Route G13(9), Monterey County Route G14(9), Tulare County Route J37(9); FAQ(12). Note: Almost all of the SB 1 projects discussed here are resurfacing or repair of infrastructure, not new construction or widening. Thus, they are below the level of detail that I normally capture in these pages.

Noted the passing of Matthew Salek’s Highways of Colorado (and updated the regional pages appropriately). If I had lights, I’d dim them in it’s memory as another major roadsite disappears.

Updated the highway types page to clarify the difference between being a scenic highway in the legislative code and being an actual state scenic highway. The Q2-2017 Mile Marker explained the difference: “Many highway corridors are eligible for Scenic Highway status, but receiving an official designation requires the local government to apply to Caltrans for approval and adopt a Corridor Protection Program. The local governing body must develop and implement measures that strictly limit development and control outdoor advertising along the scenic corridor. ”

Sometimes an innocent question can lead one down an interesting path. Such is the case with the question I received from David Walker, who asked “Who or what named the ditches on I-10?”. This led me to UglyBridges.com and the National Bridge Inventory. This resulted in an addition to the FAQ, and a list of ditch names for I-10. I thought I might add them for some other desert routes, but the interface doesn’t make that easy. Another query that didn’t lead to an easy update to the site was a reporter from the OC Register, Kurt Snibbe, who wanted to do a piece explaining California’s road signs. It didn’t quite fit into a particular road’s page, and didn’t quite fit onto a specific numbering page, so it was shoehorned into the page on signing standards and the FAQ. Read More …

Share