Monday, August 08, 2005

Signs of the times

I've lived in Arizona since the late 1970's, back when the Superstition Freeway was known as the 360 and went all the way East to Dobson Road. Interstate 10 turned into Interstate 17 midway through the Durango curve, and if you wanted to go to Los Angeles, you risked your life racing along Buckeye Road until you got out to Dysart Road and could get back on I-10.

All and all, the last 2-1/2 decades have been good for the highways in and around Metro Phoenix. We've got the 101 and the 202, the 60 goes all the way to Apache Unction before fading into oblivion. We've got the 51 going north, and the two misaligned freeways (the 143 and the 153) that serve only to confuse people on the East end of the airport.

My issue is with the 60. When you get on the 60 and drive through the People's Republic of Mesa you are greeted with freeway exit signs announcing Mesa Ave, Stapley, Country Club and other Mesa city streets. The problem is that one mile to the south, many of the streets undergo a name change. So, if you live off of Cooper, you need to tell a visitor to get off at Stapley. Mesa becomes McQueen, Country Club becomes Arizona Avenue and so forth.

I'm not sure why the Arizona Department of Transportation does not properly mark the exits so that instead of:

Stapley 1 Mile

We would get:

Stapley/Cooper 1 mile

I'm of the opinion that doing so would greatly help both tourists and residents who are not familiar with the area.

Along those same lines, I'm a great proponent of the grid system, and think that it makes navigation quite easy, but there are times when one could use a little assistance.

Imagine that you are on the loop 101 and your destination is on the 21,000 block of 19th Avenue. You navigate to the correct exit ramp and as you are getting off the freeway you really need to know if you are going to turn left or right. This is where ADOT could be of assistance by posting signs on every ramp like this:


Such signs would let people exiting the freeway know where they are in the numbering scheme of things, and thus get into position to make the correct turn. Many cities in the Valley do this a the major intersections, and it is time for ADOT to get with the program.

Of course, if the price of gasoline keeps climbing, it really won't matter.


Anonymous said...

Yes, the sign changes would be nice. However, one can always use mapquest when in doubt.

Anonymous said...

At least you have a reasonable number of freeways. Unlike, say, Tucson, where they keep wanting to squander the money on rail.