Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Newsletter/Issues/Volume05/Issue01

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The WikiProject U.S. Roads Newsletter
Volume 5, Issue 1 • Winter 2012 • About the Newsletter

A new year begins, and there are already many changes brewing at USRD. With the exception of New York, all of the subprojects have been consolidated as task forces of the parent project. This issue of the newsletter is being sent out to all USRD project members instead of only subscribers. We're asking all recipients to confirm their membership status on the new, consolidated participants list. Full details on the consolidation and reorganization of the project are detailed below. In addition, you'll also find your quarterly updates and other news from around the project in this issue.

Featured story

U.S. Roads consolidates

Editor: Viridiscalculus

In January 2012, WikiProject U.S. Roads underwent a consolidation process. Members of the national project proposed demoting the remaining 13 state subprojects to task forces of the national project. This change was proposed because, for the most part, collaboration among roads editors in the U.S. occurs at the national level and very few discussions occur solely within a particular state subproject. Having new editors show up at a dormant project is much less useful than having them show up at a bustling project with a larger scope. In addition, there was a lot of redundancy between content of the state projects and that of the national project, notably standards. Most of the remaining state subprojects were either dormant or were mainly active on the contributions of one member agreeable with consolidation, so there was no opposition to the change of those states' roads subprojects into task forces. Those ten projects were for California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington. In the case of Minnesota and Maryland, there was opposition from at least one editor, so discussions were held at the subproject level to determine consensus to proceed with the states' consolidation. Ultimately, the groups of editors from those states agreed to consolidate, although the Minnesota group insisted that their talk page remain intact. The opposition from members of the New York State Roads WikiProject was well organized and strongly in favor of retaining the project's autonomy, so that project will remain separate and not become a task force of WikiProject U.S. Roads.

M-6 article makes headlines

Contributor: Dough4872

On November 20, 2011, M-6 (Michigan highway) appeared on the Main Page as Today's Featured Article to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the first segment of the highway opening. The fact that the article was at TFA attracted the attention of The Grand Rapids Press, who wrote this article about M-6 appearing at TFA on the 10th anniversary of the first part of the highway opening. The article quotes that "Later today, the Wikipedia entry on the freeway will be the featured article on the site's main page."

Planning Department debuts

Contributor: Fredddie

In December, during the discussion about project goals for 2012, there was talk of creating a place to announce personal goals or featured content aspirations, issue challenges to other editors, or just bounce project ideas off other editors. This lead to the creation of the USRD Planning department.

At the time of this writing, there are a few ideas that did not become official goals that have been added to the page. These ideas include adding links to this portal and doing another assessment audit. In addition, there is a challenge to editors to improve any articles for routes they have "clinched" and there is a pledge to get at least one Good Article per month that three editors, myself included, have signed onto.

Stub drive concludes early, successfully

Editor: Imzadi1979

Congratulations to the members of the U.S. Roads WikiProject! This year's project drive called "2011: A De-Stubbing Odyssey" was successfully concluded on December 22. Detcin (talk · contribs) expanded the final stub, West Virginia Route 622, to put the project at a net reduction of 2011 Stub-Class articles on the year. Kudos go out to everyone that participated in this project drive. The successful completion of the 2011 drive caps two years of project initiatives that have significantly impacted the project's overall quality. There are now just over 2,500 stubs left in the project, out of 10,394 articles assessed on the standard Stub–FA scale. This is compared to the 5,967 stubs we had at the start of the 2010 drive. The project's efforts have been noticed in the past, including at a discussion in 2010 that merged some stub sorting categories together. Among the many goals discussed for 2012, one is to prevent the stub count from creeping higher in the future. For any new article created and assessed as a stub, another article would be expanded or improved to offset it.


Contributor: Rschen7754

On September 18, 2005, I founded the U.S. Roads WikiProject as a simple project designed to "adopt" the states without a state highway WikiProject and allow for new WP:WSS stubs to be created with a lower minimum number of articles.

I'd like to briefly recap the history of USRD. We currently have 18 archive pages of WT:USRD, and I neither have the time nor space to mention everything. But I'm going to give a very brief summary. I've organized it into four "eras" of USRD:

  • Before 2006: the "unorganized" era. Before 2006, the road articles were highly unorganized, as was much of Wikipedia during this time. A lot of the articles were created between 2004 and 2006. Highway articles would quite frequently get sent to AFD, with mixed results. There were only state WikiProjects, and very few; USRD was created towards the end of this era, and was a shell. There were very few FAs, and GA didn't exist in its present form for most of this time. This era began to draw to a close with the events that led up to the first Highways arbitration case and WP:SRNC, when the project divided over how to name articles.
  • 2006–2008—the beginnings of USRD—After SRNC, we spent the next few months repairing relationships and catching up with the mess that our articles had become in the meantime. However, towards 2007, many of the USRD facilities that we take for granted today developed, such as assessment, IRC, IH, USH, most of the state highway WikiProjects, ELG (which would become RJL), the shields task force, MTF, and ACR. We formed this project newsletter in January 2007 to respond to issues that were taking place and to unify the project. We began to get our first GAs as a project. The development of {{U.S. Roads WikiProject}} took place; while most collaboration took place at the state level, the USRD project was beginning to form. This era ended in early 2008 with the second Highways arbitration case, when internal disagreements led to an arbitration case, which had very few remedies and did little to resolve the internal problems.
  • 2008–2012—the transition period—After the second arbitration case we entered a transition period, where we slowly went from over 30 state highway WikiProjects to one national WikiProject. A race began to get FAs and GAs, and to reduce WikiWork and the number of stubs through two stub drives. The county challenges and USRDCups played a major role in this as well. The newsletter was eventually decommissioned in 2008, but resurfaced in 2010, after attempts at a project blog failed. The switch to {{Infobox road}} took place, and our notability guidelines developed. The focus of USRD switched from quantity to quality, as we worked on making higher-quality articles. Many events transpired that drew us together, such as the Racepacket arbitration case, the geocoordinates debates, and the revisions to RJL and {{Infobox road}} to make it international. This era recently ended with the consolidation of nearly all the state highway WikiProjects into task forces of USRD. While this happened officially in 2012, this had unofficially been taking place for years as standards merged and editors networked. As our editing base has declined, it is easier to maintain one national project. In addition to this, there are few state-specific variations of standards, and the projects were eventually seen as redundant. New York still remains its own state highway WikiProject; it is hoped that it will merge with USRD in the future, but for now it remains a separate WikiProject, yet still a part of the USRD family.
  • 2012–present—Now that our project has mostly been unified, we are moving forward as one unit. We are taking a year off from reducing stubs to catch up on other issues that need to be resolved. A few of our primary editors from earlier eras are returning, and the project is undergoing a renaissance.

One of our focuses over the next few years should be recruiting and retaining talented editors. Over the last few years, the number of active editors in Wikipedia and in USRD have declined. Certain states remain untouched because there are no editors interested or knowledgable about that state's highways. In order to be successful in this new era of Wikipedia, we need to retain the editors we have while recruiting new editors to replace the ones who do become inactive, and to expand our editing base.

In addition to this, we need to maintain good relations with those "outside" the project. Way back in the first two eras of USRD, we had a history of deviating significantly from the standards and norms of Wikipedia. Over the years, we have developed standards that do comply with typical Wikipedia norms such as MOS. However, we cannot go too far towards the other end of the spectrum; we need to represent our opinions and interests effectively. We should remember that we are part of Wikipedia as a whole and there is no OWNership of articles, yet we are all U.S. roads editors (and plain roads editors) as well and have to defend the project's interests as well. There are some that would label our reputation as "steamrollers" or as a "walled garden." Personally, I'd like to move away from this era.

On a more personal note, it's been a great ride at USRD over the last several years. I started editing back in high school, and since then, I have gone through college and will (hopefully!) be moving on to graduate school in the fall. I've grown up with a lot of you over the years through project discussions and late-night IRC conversations, and it's been great. I look forward to what is in store for USRD and to contributing to it for the foreseeable future.

State and national updates

Assessment roundup

Contributor: Dough4872

Since the last newsletter, progress was made to improve the project's articles. Delaware reached the 3.0 mark. Here's a look at the top ten as of the February 2, 2012, update.

Rank State Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub ω Ω
1 Michigan 10 3 119 56 28 0 0 521 2.412
2 Delaware 1 0 5 48 8 0 0 186 3.000
3 New Jersey 1 2 99 50 24 85 0 871 3.337
4 New York 12 2 152 181 210 127 7 2366 3.424
5 Maryland 4 1 42 268 72 97 0 1662 3.434
6 Utah 4 2 13 58 123 19 1 795 3.614
7 Washington 0 3 37 42 52 51 27 828 3.906
8 Iowa 1 0 7 9 98 15 0 508 3.908
9 Arizona 1 0 10 11 47 28 0 381 3.928
10 Minnesota 0 0 2 6 198 13 0 879 4.014

All states remain in the same position from the last newsletter. For updated statistics daily, check out WP:USRD/A/S.

Taking a look at the project as a whole:

Project Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub ω Ω
USRD 40 19 600 1011 2344 3972 2428 48056 4.615
IH 8 4 41 36 208 227 30 2341 4.226
USH 9 2 37 44 164 281 45 2539 4.363
AUTO 7 0 3 1 8 28 10 241 4.228

Since the last newsletter, the project gained three featured articles. In addition, there has been a gain of 24 good articles to bring the project to 600 GAs. Several stubs have also been removed, coinciding with the 2011 stub drive.

Project news

Task force reports


At the end of 2011, Delaware was completely destarted, becoming the second state to do so after Michigan. Beginning in 2012, the process began to improve C-class articles to B-class and B-class articles to GA. This work has brought Delaware's relative WikiWork down to 3.000.—Dough4872


In the beginning of 2012, the last Maryland stub was removed through the creation of the Maryland Scenic Byways list.—Dough4872


Michigan gained two more Featured Articles in December with the passage of both M-185 and U.S. Route 2 in Michigan. With the passage of the latter, every Upper Peninsula county has at least one highway within its borders that has a FA now. The M-553 and M-554 articles have been merged together under the former's title; the result has been expanded and nominated at A-Class Review.—Imzadi1979


At the end of 2011, the long process of upgrading stubs in Pennsylvania ended, with Baltimore Pike the last stub to be improved. In the beginning of 2012, Pennsylvania got another GA with Pennsylvania Route 332.—Dough4872

Selected articles

The National Historic Landmark John J. Glessner House at 1800 South Prairie Avenue

Prairie Avenue is a north–south thoroughfare on the South Side of Chicago, which historically extended from 16th Street in the Near South Side community area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States, to the city's southern limits and beyond. The street has a rich history from its origins as a major trail for horseback riders and carriages. During the last three decades of the 19th century, a six-block section of the street served as the residence of many of Chicago's elite families and an additional four-block section was also known for grand homes. The upper six-block section includes part of the historic Prairie Avenue District, which was declared a Chicago Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places. (more...)

Selected pictures

Blue Ridge Parkway in Fall.jpg
The Linn Cove Viaduct near Grandfather Mountain on the Blue Ridge Parkway in autumn.
Water is meeting the shore in the foreground of the picture while a pylon based bridge is in the far left corner, which is the ferry dock

State Route 339 (SR 339) is a 8.5-nautical-mile-long (9.8 mi; 15.7 km) ferry route designated as a state highway in the U.S. state of Washington. It connects Vashon Island's Vashon Heights ferry terminal to downtown Seattle's Pier 50, via a passenger-only ferry, the MV Skagit. The ferry is financed by the King County Ferry District (KCFD) and tolls collected at Pier 50. Despite being part of the KCFD, the ferry is operated by Washington State Ferries (WSF). SR 339 is one of only four ferry routes providing access to and from Vashon Island, and has the lowest annual average ridership of the four routes. The state of Washington took over the operation of the ferry route in 1951, and designated it SR 339 in 1994. (more...)

M-15 centerline 1917.jpg
The original M-15 (now County Road 492) between Marquette and Negaunee, Michigan in 1917 showing the first centerline on a state highway.
The Baltimore–Washington Parkway south of the exit for Maryland Route 450 in Bladensburg

The Baltimore–Washington Parkway (also referred to as the B–W Parkway) is a highway in Maryland, running southwest from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. The road begins at an interchange with U.S. Route 50 and Maryland Route 201 (MD 201) near Cheverly in Prince George's County at the D.C. border, and continues northeast as a parkway maintained by the National Park Service (NPS) to MD 175 near Fort Meade, serving many federal institutions. This portion of the parkway is dedicated to Gladys Noon Spellman, a representative of Maryland's 5th congressional district, and has the hidden MD 295 designation. Commercial vehicles, including trucks, are prohibited within this stretch. After leaving park service boundaries the highway is maintained by the state and signed with the MD 295 designation. Upon entering Baltimore, the Baltimore Department of Transportation takes over maintenance of the road and it continues north to an interchange with I-95. Here, the Baltimore–Washington Parkway ends and MD 295 continues north unsigned on Russell Street before following Paca Street northbound and Greene Street southbound to U.S. Route 40 in downtown Baltimore. (more...)

The Big I tumbleweed snowman.jpg
A snowman made of tumbleweed at the Big I interchange in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

From the editors

The next quarterly issue should be out in April. The editors of the newsletter would like to hear from you, the reader. What do you like about the current format? What should be changed? Removed? Added? Your comments are needed.

Lastly, remember that this is your newsletter and you can be involved in the creation of the next issue released in the spring. Any and all contributions are welcome. Simply let yourself be known to any of the undersigned, or just start editing!

Contributors to this issue

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