Road Geek Topics

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LyndaleHoosier
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Road Geek Topics

Postby LyndaleHoosier » February 19th, 2013, 8:44 pm

Post comments, questions, concerns on topics ranging from control cities, sign changes, or other general road comments that don't fit in the other topics.

LyndaleHoosier
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby LyndaleHoosier » February 19th, 2013, 8:49 pm

On the topic of control cities...why don't we use control cities, regions, or names more in the Twin Cities area on road signs?

While traveling northbound on 494 in Plymouth, I laughed at a sign that only had country/state road numbers listed on it for the next three exits. I get that MN 55 isn't called Olson Hwy that far west, but to not say "Rockford Road", etc. and only have the county number is silly. I would assume that most out of town folks would be looking for and less confused to look for a name.

Also, lack of control cities is interesting to me. Why doesn't 394 westbound use "Wayzata" or "Western Suburbs" like Chicagoland? Overall, I think there is a huge miss in not using more control cities on freeway signage.

go4guy
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby go4guy » February 20th, 2013, 12:44 pm

The signs on 35W South leading up to the Crosstown are horrible. For 2 miles it says there are two lanes that go to 62 East. Yet at the last minute, you realize only one goes to 62 East and 1 is for Portland exit only. This causes a lot of people to have to suddenly merge, causing a mess on that ramp. How stupid does MnDot have to be?

mattaudio
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mattaudio » February 20th, 2013, 1:05 pm

The plan is that the right lanes to both 62 east and west will not be exit only at some point. MnDOT was building with the future in mind, for when 62 is six lanes east to 77 and west to 212. Also, I don't think the existing signage is that bad... it gets people to use the lanes until as late as possible, to avoid clogging up the 35W mainline even worse. Heck, it would be smarter if more people did that and then zippered later on. It works well, especially for getting on 62 west.

eluko
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby eluko » February 20th, 2013, 5:09 pm

LyndaleHoosier wrote:On the topic of control cities...why don't we use control cities, regions, or names more in the Twin Cities area on road signs?
Not a bad idea. Using Albert Lea for 35 south is equivalent to using Tomah for 94 east. Barely anyone is actually traveling to Albert Lea. I'd rather see Des Moines or even Burnsville used instead.
LyndaleHoosier wrote:While traveling northbound on 494 in Plymouth, I laughed at a sign that only had country/state road numbers listed on it for the next three exits. I get that MN 55 isn't called Olson Hwy that far west, but to not say "Rockford Road", etc. and only have the county number is silly. I would assume that most out of town folks would be looking for and less confused to look for a name.
Ive noticed a lot of inconsistencies with this rule. On 394 for Penn Ave you'll see a shield above its name indicating it's the same road.
Image
Yet the same design for that sign is used differently for CR-42 in Burnsville where the 42 shield is placed above Crystal Lake Road - a separate road altogether.
Image

mattaudio
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mattaudio » February 20th, 2013, 5:35 pm

Speaking of double lane exits, where only one is an exit only...
http://goo.gl/maps/frNVK

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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mulad » February 20th, 2013, 6:47 pm

I always get annoyed by exits that don't have short dashes between the through lanes on the main highway and the lanes that are going away. Mn/DOT gets pretty inconsistent about that. There are also a few places where the short dashes go on for way too long and/or there's an "Exit Only" sign way too far ahead.

I also keep my eyes open for the merge and lane-added signs when entering a highway or approaching an entrance ramp -- they don't always use the correct signage:
MUTCD_W4-1R.png
MUTCD_W4-3R.png
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eluko
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby eluko » February 20th, 2013, 6:48 pm

mattaudio wrote:Speaking of double lane exits, where only one is an exit only...
http://goo.gl/maps/frNVK
Those arrows are huge! They should copy Omaha and put the arrows on the bottom of the sign.
Heres what a properly made sign could look like here:

Image

mattaudio
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mattaudio » February 20th, 2013, 6:55 pm

I don't like the inconsistencies between having none/one/both lane arrows marked as exit only.

eluko
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby eluko » February 20th, 2013, 7:00 pm

mulad wrote:I always get annoyed by exits that don't have short dashes between the through lanes on the main highway and the lanes that are going away. Mn/DOT gets pretty inconsistent about that. There are also a few places where the short dashes go on for way too long and/or there's an "Exit Only" sign way too far ahead.
Ive always thought these to be kind of unsafe. The right lanes are slower and it forces people who aren't paying attention to merge left into faster traffic. Seems like a cheap way to save money on the "exit only" signs.

beykite
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby beykite » February 20th, 2013, 10:34 pm

mattaudio wrote:The plan is that the right lanes to both 62 east and west will not be exit only at some point. MnDOT was building with the future in mind, for when 62 is six lanes east to 77 and west to 212.
By then they will probably need to replace those signs due to aging anyways... :?

In regards to control cities on 35W I'd like to see something like this:
Screen shot 2013-02-20 at 10.14.54 PM.JPG
mattaudio wrote:Speaking of double lane exits, where only one is an exit only...
Ever since visiting Denver I've always been looking for a place for something like this to work:
interstate.png
One lane could have the MN 62 state shield, the other the county 62 shield. Would it be complete overkill?? Most definitely. But would it be cool? Absolutely. :ugeek:
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MNdible
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby MNdible » February 21st, 2013, 4:50 pm

Paint doesn't do so well in Minnesota. But I agree that this a good approach. Keeps eyes down on the road instead of up on signs.

beykite
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby beykite » April 28th, 2013, 6:24 pm

Took this quote from the St Croix river crossing thread.
Mdcastle wrote:I just wish that MnPass would be compatible with the EZPass network so I don't have to keep stopping at toll booths whenever I'm in Chicago.
I think that would be awesome. Regional compatibility with with toll roads and HOT lanes is a great idea. I'm not sure what the status is of the other states are or if they even have programs similar to MNpass but lets just hypothetically assume they all have one... Getting Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and maybe Indiana and Michigan compatible could be a great source of extra income for all the states. You could even market them to people on road trips by selling say packages worth X amount of money. Someone driving from say Fargo-Chicago and back could buy a $20 pass and take advantage of HOT lanes in the metro, Milwaukee and Chicago.

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Le Sueur
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Le Sueur » April 28th, 2013, 9:57 pm

^^^This is a great idea! Sidebar: If you can't stand stopping in IL you can go online and pay them after your trip. (Sometimes worth it, especially if you value your breaks!)

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Mdcastle
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Mdcastle » April 29th, 2013, 7:50 am

Illinois and Indiana are compatible with each other, as well as with the entire Northeast coast. Unfortunately Minnesota chose a different technology from an Israeli company that wasn't electronically compatible with any other state. I'm unaware of any program in Wisconsin or Michigan.

Right now there's an effort to get Florida compatible with the rest of the east coast, or at least the Northeast area. It's a mess because there's two different technologies in Florida, to add the NE technology they'd have either completely retire their old system, or add tri-mode readers to the toll roads, which are "not there" yet as far as reliability. Also, Georgia uses yet another system, so Florida would have to retire their old system AND get tri-mode readers to work to add that state. Getting the NE states to accept Florida is a bigger issue. Most of them have single-mode readers, they'd have to switch to tri-mode readers to accept the two Florida standards, so they're thinking about doing it by reading license plates instead.

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Mdcastle
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Mdcastle » April 29th, 2013, 8:06 am

Another "tip". If you travel to Florida and rent a car the rental place is going to want $45.00 a week for unlimited tolls, and you don't have the option of paying cash on some roads in the Miami area. Buy a sticker transponder instead, which costs $5.00 and includes $5.00 in tolls, then register it with your phone. Either stick it to the windshield, and remove it and close your account at the end of your trip, or scotch-tape it on, keep it, and reregister it on your next car on your next trip.

talindsay
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby talindsay » April 29th, 2013, 12:33 pm

beykite wrote:Took this quote from the St Croix river crossing thread.
Mdcastle wrote:I just wish that MnPass would be compatible with the EZPass network so I don't have to keep stopping at toll booths whenever I'm in Chicago.
I think that would be awesome. Regional compatibility with with toll roads and HOT lanes is a great idea. I'm not sure what the status is of the other states are or if they even have programs similar to MNpass but lets just hypothetically assume they all have one... Getting Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and maybe Indiana and Michigan compatible could be a great source of extra income for all the states. You could even market them to people on road trips by selling say packages worth X amount of money. Someone driving from say Fargo-Chicago and back could buy a $20 pass and take advantage of HOT lanes in the metro, Milwaukee and Chicago.
Sorry guys, you don't actually want this - and here's why: EZpass/I-Pass sensors are permanently mounted in the vehicle because literally any time you pass a sensor you *have to* pay - there's no conditionals around paying. I have my I-Pass sensor mounted to my windshield. MN-Pass, on the other hand, only requires you to pay *if* you're in the lane, and *if* you're single-occupancy at the time. If it were interchangeable with I-Pass/EZPass, then every time you passed within the sensor's range you would be charged regardless of whether you actually were in a charge-worthy state. Have a passenger? Too bad, you'd be paying anyway. Sensor picks you up when you're in the adjoining lane? Sorry, you just paid.

The (dubious) functional assumption of MN-Pass is that your sensor will only be in a sensing spot if you choose to put it there for a specific trip for which you wish to pay; the functional assumption behind EZPass/I-Pass is that you always pay when you pass a sensor.

mattaudio
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby mattaudio » April 29th, 2013, 12:45 pm

How much extra expense would it be if the transponders also had the EZ-pass/i-pass chips in addition to the MNpass technology with these technical advantages?

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Mdcastle
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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Mdcastle » April 29th, 2013, 4:43 pm

E-Z Pass transponders with an "off" switch do exist, Virginia has them.

I'm not sure if multiple systems are possible in transponders, there might be difficulty from a technical / cost / patent standpoint. All the interoperability efforts so far have been on the infrastructure end. Probably 90% of the toll roads use one of four systems, which do not include MnPAss. the problem is there is no such thing as a reader that can read more than three systems, and most of the existing infrastructure can only read two or one.

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Re: Road Geek Topics

Postby Mdcastle » May 12th, 2013, 2:18 pm

I've done some checking on a roadgeek forum, and getting an I-pass actually might make sense for people driving to Chicago or using the EZ-Pass network. It's $10.00 +$30.00 in tolls with no monthly fee, you can take it with you and slap it on your rental car if you fly to New York and rent a car or something as it's usable on the entire E-ZPass network which it most of the lower Midwest / Northeast / Mid Atlantic and the long term plan is to get it usable in Florida. There's a pretty significant discount for cash tolls in Illinois and the new Elgin O'Hare / IL 51 / West O'Hare bypass will be electronic only.


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