International Highway Sign Makeover

How would you design a traffic/ road sign? All the elements of sign design you never thought of, come into play when you really start planning a better road sign.

The idea isn’t new. I’ve saved screen captures from the Wayback Machine from the older site (below). Glad to see someone else has taken up the idea and kept it going on another site. I’m linking there first so people can see what’s new and contribute ideas of their own.

I used to send possible highway route signs to the owner of The Great International Highway makeover website, Mr. R. V. Droz, a while back. Well I found out recently that his email link at his website is inoperable. Rats. I hope it’ll work well in the future.

Source: International Highway Makeover 2

From the old site, by Robert V. Droz.

Highway route markers have gotten boring over time. In the 1940’s, there were many varied shapes and colors. Many governments opted for the MUTCD default (circles) or plain blank squares. The justification for those sparse designs is that they provide for increased number visibility and easy recognition. True enough, but nothing says you can’t design a useful sign that’s graphically attractive. Linked below are many examples of potential re-designs.

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Culvert Installations from Saskatchewan

Source: Culvert Installations

About Culvert Installations

Welcome to this collection of culverts. It’s a work in progress. Saskatchewan’s total road surface is 160,000 km, enough road, according to The Government of Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure, to circle the equator four times. Under all these roads you’ll find culverts. All of these culverts have stories. These are my photos of Saskatchewan culverts, the basis of a book in progress. The writing is underway.

Brenda Schmidt is a writer and visual artist based in Creighton, a mining town on the Canadian Shield in northern Saskatchewan.

Ontario’s Vanishing Highways

This was a link included in a list of Ontario’s roads. All but this and one other of the history links were 404 (gone) on the Internet. I don’t have permission but I am saving the contents with the original link and credit to the source.

 
Ontario’s Vanishing Highways
 
Ontario’s provincial highways are becoming a kind of endangered species these days. In a largely successful effort to get the province’s budget under control, the Ontario government has been “downloading” various expenses onto counties and municipalities, one of which is Ontario’s highway system.

If you look at a map from the early 1990s, you’ll see lots of shield symbols, which represent a King’s Highway (a primary highway designation). Since around 1994, roads have been downloaded by removing the King’s Highway designation and renaming the roadway as a county road. In some cases, the numbered shield symbol has just been replaced with a county flowerpot symbol, and the number has stayed the same. In many other cases, the numbers change.

One casualty of this cost-cutting mechanism was King’s Highway 2, which was the main east-west trunk through southern Ontario before Highway 401 was completed decades ago. Highways 2 and 401 basically ran parallel, so despite the history of the road, it was cut up into strings of county roads with different numbers. Many other highways in Southern Ontario are meeting the same fate– if they haven’t disappeared altogether, they have become discontinuous, with stretches of county-designated roads (some with different numbers) in between the King’s Highway portions… somewhat confusing.

Having lived in southwestern Ontario, I drove or rode my bicycle down many of these highways, and even though they’re just name changes, I still get a little wistful. Highway 2 used to go from Detroit to (almost) Montreal. I lived blocks away from it London, and an old girlfriend lived a block away from it near Toronto. 22, 51, 73 and 81 are gone; 4, 15, 17 and 21 are being carved up, just to name a few.

I was at a farm auction once in 1995 and I saw a group of Ontario highway signs for sale. They looked brand new, but they were a configuration I’d never seen before, with number 3 on it. That made sense, since Highway 3 is nearby, but these were very different signs. I was a student at the time, and I wish to this day I could have afforded the $40 for one. According to my information, Highway 3 (which runs from Windsor to Fort Erie) remains largely intact.

The Ontario highways up in the northern half of the province are fewer in number and more spread out, and as far as I know, they aren’t going to be changing with the times, aside from stretches of road within town limits. Most of the King’s highways, secondary highways, and tertiary highways are staying the same. That’s good news to me… I grew up riding on secondary highways 552 and 556. But as for the King’s highways down south… It’s the end of the road.

Jon Upton : The Back Bumper

Source: TRAFFIC JAM: The Back Bumper – Ontario License Plates

Historical Highways Society of Ontario 

Gone now except for the web archives. Wish I had found it sooner. They even had events when they met up. I’m not hugely social but I would have gone to at least one to see what more I could be watching for when I see road signs, bridges and such. I do notice somethings myself. No doubt the group members had more historical information and resources (photos too).
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About Us:
The Historical Highways Society of Ontario (H.H.S.O.) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and research of Ontario’s highway heritage. Founded in the Fall of 2003 by the current co-presidents, Josh Anderchek and Cameron Bevers, this group now boasts over twenty members from all parts of Ontario. Through research and documentation, the organization is hoping to preserve the fascinating past of our highways for future generations to enjoy. The group’s research and historical findings will be posted into this website for years to come.

Our Mission Statement:
The H.H.S.O. was created not only to preserve the history of former highways, their routings and changes over time, but to help in continuing the tradition of maintaining our highways viable presence for years to come. This includes being active parts in Public Information Centres for Highway construction, including reconstruction or realignment projects, as well as bringing public awareness to how important it is for our Province to be served with a seamless, high-quality highway system. We also work in suggesting alternatives, and supporting them, in maintaining a historical presence in a highways reconstruction, by having structures restored to there original glamour as close as possible while still maintaining a high standard of public safety.

Source: Historical Highways Society of Ontario – HHSO.ca

Apples and Sweet Peas (2007)

Apples and Sweet Peas Window 1321616077 Apples and Sweet Peas Side View 1322507724 Apples and Sweet Peas Machinery 1322509914 Apples and Sweet Peas Front View 1322511380 Apples and Sweet Peas Broken Front 1321615039 Apples and Sweet Peas Barn at Front 1322504404 Apples and Sweet Peas Barn 1321618541 Apples and Sweet Peas Back View with Apples and Shed 1321618263 Apples and Sweet Peas Back 1321617921 Apples and Sweet Peas Apples 1322506632 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322512548 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322512246 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322511992 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322510820 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322508550 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322508056 Apples and Sweet Peas 1322505032 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321620759 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321620179 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321619667 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321619331 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321616653 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321616345 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321615531 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321615263 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321614687 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321614409 Apples and Sweet Peas 1321613115An old brother and sister lived at this house until they died. No family were left to carry on with it.

The fields were being used by a neighbour, rented or bought the land (I forget which now). He stopped along the road when he saw me taking photos. Was concerned about what I was doing. But, happy to tell me the story of the place after we talked to him. At the end of the conversation he suggested we pick all the apples we wanted from the trees at the back of the house. He even invited us to come back again and pick more.

I did go back a few times to this house. I met more of the family on another occasion. Later we dug up wild garlic and daffodil bulbs which grew in the long grass. Most of the daffodils came up (three years later) in our own front yard.

 

Wreckage in Barrie (2007) Gone Now

Wreckage in Barrie The Sheds Outbuildings 1404541279 Wreckage in Barrie 1405424438 Wreckage in Barrie 1404541531 Wreckage in Barrie 1404541403 Wreckage in Barrie 1404540981Driving through Barrie one day and noticed this place. I had my nephew in the car with me but stopped anyway. He wasn’t a little boy then but I still watched him while I had a look around. He liked seeing the old place too. These days he also explores old places (and takes more chances than I would like, especially exploring at night).

I didn’t find out much about this house. It is gone now. Made way for new townhouses. I remember it when I drive by the same area in town. It had a nice spot on a hill with a winding road.

 

An Ode to the Milestone

The milestone. That round white concrete thing squatting next to the road. A remnant of a bygone era, the pre-signpost era, the era of coach and rider. If the milestone does have a function, hardly anyone these days knows what it is. Should you see the stone to your left, it tells you how far you are from the last town. One on the right tells you how far away the next town is. The milestone – or kilometer stone – still has a function!

Source: An ode to the milestone | Travels with Pierneef

An Urban Exploration Directory is Too Much Work

I had wanted (and tried!) to build an urban exploration directory of sites. I have experience building and maintaining a web directory, for years. But, I’m finding the project is too big and too vast to take on and build to my own standards of over-perfection. So, I am just working on a directory for Canadian urban exploration groups, photographers and resources.

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I am still adding other links but I’m not going to focus on them. I may turn some of the links into pages sorted by location. But, that is down the road somewhere.

Old Photos and Old Blog Posts

I haven’t updated my own photos to my Flickr account (or the groups I started there) since 2013. I feel guilty, sort of. Mostly I think I just ran out of steam. I have still been taking photos. Getting them up online was a routine for awhile and then I got behind and more behind and then drastically behind.

I still moderate at Flickr. I don’t login as often as I used to but I’m keeping the groups going. I like to see the new photos come in and (for the groups which I moderate for someone else) new photos can’t get posted without moderator approval. On my own groups I didn’t set them up that way. But, this means I have to have faith in people to post relevant photos. I’ve been really lucky or fortunate. I seldom need to moderate my groups for Ontario or Canadian explorers. Now and then someone posts a road trip photo, not understanding the idea of urban and rural exploration versus a road trip.

Anyway, I am merging older posts from my personal blog into this one so my older exploring and photos will be here, soon. I’ve started adding some but the old blog is a disorganized mess. It has been around since before the days of categories and tags. I’ve found posts which don’t have anything, not a title even. So, it is taking time to sort out the madness.

The nice thing about doing this is finding places I had forgotten about. I only hope all the photos will come along nice and easy as I move the posts over. At least it is another WordPress blog so it shouldn’t have a conflict that way.

Wish me luck!