Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Newsletter/Issues/Volume07/Issue01

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The Center Line
Volume 7, Issue 1 • Winter 2014 • About the Newsletter

Welcome to 2014, a year that looks promising to build upon the efforts of the last year and continue great improvements to USRD. In this issue, our editors and contributors have recapped 2013 and previewed this year's project goals. We also have an update on the continuing efforts to update templates to use Lua. All of this with your quarterly dose of state updates and the recap of features from the portal. Here's wishing USRD editors a productive new year, and keep up the good work!

2014 and fireworks.jpg
Featured story

2013 in review

Editor: Rschen7754

The year 2013 for USRD was quite phenomenal. While the year definitely had its ups and downs, we accomplished quite a bit. Let's take a look back at some of our accomplishments this year:

ACR logo

By the numbers:

  • New Featured Articles: 13 (7 from Michigan, 4 from California, 1 from Oklahoma, 1 in Michigan/Wisconsin/Minnesota)
  • Percentage of FACs that passed: 100%
  • Net gain of A-Class articles: 4
  • Number of successful ACRs: 18 successful reviews, compared to 9 in 2012 - thanks to the increase in ACR activity
  • Net gain of Good Articles: 104
  • Relative WikiWork decrease: 0.156
ACR logo

A GA audit began to identify and remove self-published sources in high-quality articles, and ensure that they remain at the appropriate standards.

Kansas Turnpike.svg

The eleven-and-a-half month-long review of Kansas Turnpike concluded, enabling the article to remain as a Featured Article, and updating one of our oldest FAs to modern standards.

Texas FM 359.svg

An initiative to apply the Rockland County Scenario to Texas Farm-to-Market Roads began, thus merging many articles on secondary highways in Texas.

USRD2012 no new stubs.png

We met all of our 2013 goals:

  • Our relative WikiWork is now below 4.4
  • 25 states have no stubs
  • There are no Interstate or U.S. Highway stubs

A task force on Wikidata opened to create items for U.S. roads and manage associated data. Template:Infobox road was written to have the ability to incorporate maps from Wikidata, as were infoboxes on the Simple English Wikipedia and Occitan Wikipedia.

WikiProject NYSR logo (en).svg

The New York State Routes WikiProject became a task force of the U.S. Roads WikiProject, the final state to do so.

Checked copyright icon.svg

A WikiProject on Commons was set up to address licensing of shields and maps, and make sure that files are properly tagged.

Symbol list class.svg

Standards for route lists were documented, and a series of templates were built to make them more consistently formatted and easier to generate.

Logo used for the Australia Roads project, a kangaroo crossing sign

We welcomed WikiProject Australian Roads to the HWY family. Already there is one Featured Article which made it to the Main Page, as well as several A-Class and Good Articles.

Shield for Hong Kong Route 1, used currently as the HKRD logo

We also welcomed WikiProject Hong Kong Roads to the HWY family. Work is focused on determining which roads are notable enough for inclusion.

Today's featured article request.png

We had five Today's Featured Articles, a record for the project. They had a combined total of 74,100 views for the period that they were on the Main Page.


WikiProjects were set up on Wikisource and Meta-Wiki, to foster the inclusion of public-domain texts related to U.S. roads, and to support the development of U.S. road-related material on all Wikimedia sites, respectively.

Project editor retention logo 1.svg

We had several new editors joining the project this year, and making a difference in several areas. This year also saw the return of several editors from earlier years of the project, who added to the energy of the project throughout the year.

USRD Cup.svg

The biannual USRD Cup took place in early 2013, run by Fredddie, and Scott5114 was the winner.


We published four newsletters in 2013; this was the first year since 2010 that we have done so.


Lua was deployed to Wikimedia sites. Work continues to convert templates to this new programming language; details are in the story below.

Map of USRD rel WW.svg

WikiWork, the metric developed by Scott5114 that we use to measure article quality, was featured in the Wikipedia Signpost. Following this, the statistics were added to the tables generated by WP 1.0 bot, and featured in the subsequent WikiProject reports.

The Moon is rising: our Lua progress so far

Editor: Happy5214

2013 was definitely an eventful year for this project, and for Wikipedia as a whole. Early in the year, the Scribunto extension was deployed, and with it came Lua. For the first time in Wikipedia's existence, template writers had access to a real programming language, one that was more powerful and significantly faster than the parser functions that preceded it. Today, Lua is used on practically every article, most notably through the citation and unit conversion templates.

Lua was, in many ways, my way back into this project. I've been programming for years, and I managed to learn Lua in about two days. With this newfound knowledge, I started rewriting {{Infobox road}} in Lua. Over time, I became USRD's resident Lua coder, to the point that LuaCoder is my alternate nick on IRC. Now, with the new project objectives delineated, I have a clear mandate to convert all of our project's major templates to Lua. I feel that this is the time to update you all on my progress.

Our three most important article template families are the infoboxes, {{jct}}, and the junction list templates ({{jcttop}}, {{jctint}}, and {{jctbtm}}). I am proud to say that as of this week, {{jcttop}}, {{jctint}}, and {{jctbtm}} are all completely converted to Lua. We will all benefit from cleaner, more maintainable core, and a small speed improvement. Also this week, I deployed a completed version of {{routelist row}}, using the new unified highway type database to display shields, links, and abbreviations.

Progress on the other two templates, {{Infobox road}} and {{jct}}, has been slower due to their respective complexities. Several sections of {{Infobox road}} have been rewritten, such as lengths and locations. The map module can retrieve a map from an article's associated Wikidata item. More work is planned, and the browse box will benefit from the same unified type database once that is completed.

{{Jct}} is our most complicated template, and there is still much work to be done. The new version will make use of the unified type database, and the Lua version is expected to be significantly faster than the current version when it is fully deployed. Say goodbye to timeout errors when saving long highway articles!

Our project is at the forefront of the rise of Lua. And I'm proud to be the reason for that. Here's to a great year, and quickly loading articles!

Looking ahead to 2014

Editor: Dough4872

Every year, the USRD project sets a slate of goals in improving articles that editors can work on. This year, the project has decided on three main goals to work on during the course of the year. The first goal is to get U.S. Route 66, by far the project's most viewed article, to GA. As a part of working on the goal, the 8 state-detail articles for US 66 also need to be improved to at least B-class in order to provide information that can be plugged into the US 66 article. A further extension, but not a formal part of the goal, would be to get US 66 to FA and have it run on the Main Page as Today's Featured Article on June 27, 2015, the 30th anniversary of the decommissioning of the highway. Please visit the U.S. Route 66 task force for more information on improving coverage in US 66-related articles. The second goal shifts focus from articles to lists by getting 12 Featured Lists for the project. This goal would take the new route list standard and apply it to lists of Interstates, U.S. Routes, and state routes in various states. The third project goal is a metric-based goal, similar to what has been done in past years. However, unlike past years where the project got rid of a certain number of stubs or lowered the WikiWork to a certain threshold, this year the project is striving to get at least 250 articles to B-class. Anyone is welcome to jump in and improve any Stub, Start, or C-class article to B-class. Please see the quality scale for what makes an article B-class.

In addition to these goals that are to be completed during 2014, the project also came up with long-term objectives to work on. The four long-term objectives of the project are to rewrite all of the project's templates to use Lua, eliminating all the hardcoded junction lists by converting them to templates, the addition of maps to all GA, A, and FA-class articles, and the addition of KMLs to all articles that are B-class or better. These objectives have no set deadline to be complete but should be worked on in addition to the three main goals for the year.

The Maple Syrup Report

Editor: Floydian

Greetings from the north, eh! While half the continent is warming up following a windy blast from Canada, articles have been busily improved. In the final weeks of 2013, the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) taskforce saw all stubs removed or improved. In addition, Ontario Highway 71 is at FAC; if promoted, it will be the first Featured Article covering the TCH. Most other work has been focused on Ontario, which has upgraded 27 starts and promoted over a dozen GAs in the past week. On December 27, Ontario Highway 416 became Canada's third featured article. Work is underway to connect the FAs of Michigan with New York by bringing Ontario Highway 402 up to featured status.

State and national updates

Assessment roundup

Contributor: TCN7JM

Here's a list of the top ten states as of January 16, 2014.

Rank State Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub ω Ω
1 Michigan 22 8 174 9 0 0 0 383 1.798
2 Delaware 1 0 53 2 7 0 0 140 2.222
3 New York 12 3 188 335 109 29 0 1965 2.907
4 Washington 0 2 72 78 53 5 0 617 2.938
5 Maryland 4 1 63 342 52 11 0 1416 2.994
6 New Jersey 1 2 103 46 20 80 0 826 3.278
7 Utah 4 2 17 64 130 6 0 778 3.489
8 Iowa 2 1 18 8 91 11 0 480 3.664
9 Arizona 1 0 13 17 46 20 0 361 3.722
10 Oklahoma 2 0 11 68 38 59 0 673 3.781

The top ten states remain in the same order again, but WikiWork in these states has dropped significantly since the last issue. Also, for the first time ever, all of the top ten states are free of stubs! For complete statistics updated almost daily, check out WP:USRD/A/S. Now here's how the project is doing overall.

Project Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub Total ω Ω
USRD 61 23 909 1293 2644 4585 1618 11133 48929 4.395
IH 17 2 47 42 228 228 0 564 2274 4.032
USH 12 5 56 34 194 317 0 618 2580 4.175
Auto trail 7 0 5 1 8 29 7 57 232 4.070

Since our last issue just two months ago we've gotten rid of 299 stubs while adding five featured articles. The new featured articles are Interstate 196, U.S. Route 8, Interstate 296, Interstate 805, and Interstate 70 in West Virginia. U.S. Route 8 is the first featured article for both Wisconsin and Minnesota. We've also gotten a new featured topic, one for articles related to Interstate 96. All six articles in this topic are featured articles.

As of this writing, Interstate 470 (Ohio–West Virginia) is the only article we have at FAC, but six articles await reviews at WP:HWY/ACR.

Task force reports

California has a new FA, Interstate 805, as well as a few new GAs. Work continues to finish San Diego County before moving on to Imperial County.❖Rschen7754
At the beginning of the 2013 USRD WikiCup, Georgia had over 220 stubs. By the end of the year, the state was stub-free.❖Morriswa
Since the last newsletter, Michigan has added a few more FAs, the most recent being Interstate 296. With the promotion of that article, a new Featured Topic related to I-96 was nominated and promoted as well. This is the first FT for USRD in several years, and the first comprising only FAs.❖Imzadi1979
In the past 20 days, State Routes 293, 605, and 167 passed GAN. Work continues for de-stubbing the state, and improve more articles to B-class and above.❖CycloneIsaac
Pennsylvania received a new GA, Pennsylvania Route 115, in December. In the new year, an effort has begun to improve Start and C-class articles to B-class as part of the USRD B-class drive goal for 2014.❖Dough4872
Welcome back from the Beehive State. I-80, I-84, Legacy Parkway, and SR-61 all passed GAN before the end of the year. You can see a map of the highest assessed article by county here. Legacy Parkway is currently up for A-Class review.❖Admrboltz
Welcome back from the Evergreen State as well. SR 906 passed GAN before the end of the year, and will get back into the swing of things soon.❖Admrboltz
West Virginia
I-70 has passed FAC, adding a second FA to the Mountain State, and the first in the Northern Panhandle region. This is the state's first state-detail FA (Interstate 68 is a national level article), and an additional part towards the Interstate 70 featured topic. I-470 is now up for consideration at FAC as well. I-470 is the first FAC for the state of Ohio.❖Admrboltz

Project news in brief

Editor: Imzadi1979
  • As discussed above, work has started to convert key templates used by the project to the Lua scripting language. The impetus for this conversion was complaints that certain longer articles were timing out when edited.
  • {{Cite map}} was updated to allow citation of maps within larger books or atlases. By using |map= and |mapurl= in the citation, the specific title of a map in a larger work will be included in quotation marks. Additional updates forthcoming will deal with citing volume/issue/page information maps in journals or magazines.
  • A discussion on standardizing punctuation in highway abbreviation conventions in project articles was archived without any implementation but more support than opposition.
  • An ongoing discussion related to the usage of alternate titles for Ohio state route articles spilled into another forum.
  • A discussion about adding time zone boundaries to junction lists garnered significant opposition.
  • There is a current discussion related to starting a 2014 edition of the USRD Cup, or expanding it to encompass all of the Highways project.
  • There is another current discussion to change the color scheme used by the Maps Department with an eye toward adopting a scheme compatible with one used by WikiProject Maps.

Selected articles

NY 174 with Otisco Lake in view

New York State Route 174 (NY 174) is a state highway in Onondaga County, located in Central New York, in the United States. The highway is 16.7 miles (26.9 km) long and passes through mostly rural regions. Route 174 begins at an intersection with NY 41 in Borodino, a hamlet of Spafford. It heads generally northward for most of its length, except for short distances in the villages of Marcellus and Camillus. The route ends at a junction with NY 5 west of Camillus, at the west end of the Route 5 Camillus bypass. Route 174 is located along a large mapped sedimentary bedrock unit, known as the Marcellus Formation. The formation is named for an outcrop found near the town of Marcellus, New York, during a geological survey in 1839. The road was first constructed in the early 19th century following the path of Nine Mile Creek. The northern half of the route became a plank road in 1855 by a private corporation that collected tolls from travelers on the road. The state took over the maintenance of the road by the beginning of the 20th century. The former plank road and an extension south to Otisco Lake and southwest to Skaneateles Lake was first designated as Route 174 in the 1930 state highway renumbering. Since then, several minor realignments have been made in the areas of the villages of Marcellus and Camillus to accommodate newly built bypasses.

Selected pictures

M-28 M-64 Duplex Near Lake Gogebic.JPG
M-28 and M-64 near Lake Gogebic.
Inside the San Rafael Swell

Interstate 70 (I-70) is a mainline route of the Interstate Highway System in the United States connecting Utah and Maryland. The Utah section runs east–west for 232.15 miles (373.61 km) across the central part of the state. I-70 was the second attempt to connect southern California to the east coast of the United States via central Utah, the first being a failed attempt to construct a transcontinental railroad. Portions of I-70 were constructed in areas where previously there were no paved roads. I-70 has many features that are unique in the Interstate Highway System. For example, the 110 miles (177 km) between Green River and Salina makes up the longest distance anywhere in the Interstate Highway System with no motorist services. This same piece is noted as the longest highway in the United States built over a completely new route since the Alaska Highway, and the longest piece of Interstate Highway to open at a given time. The construction of the Utah portion of I-70 is listed as one of the engineering marvels of the Interstate Highway System. The choice of the route had a significant impact on the character and culture of the Sevier Valley. I-70 from Green River to Grand Junction, Colorado is part of the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, a National Scenic Byway. Attractions on or near I-70 include, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, Goblin Valley State Park and Westwater. The designation lists several side roads branching from I-70 that lead to dinosaur bones or footprints.

New River Gorge Bridge.jpg
The New River Gorge Bridge, which carries US 19 across the New River near Fayetteville, West Virginia.
US 8 in Lincoln County, Wisconsin, near Tripoli

U.S. Highway 8 (US 8) is a United States Numbered Highway that runs primarily east–west for 280 miles (451 km), mostly within the state of Wisconsin. It runs from Interstate 35 (I-35) in Forest Lake, Minnesota, to US 2 at Norway in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan near the border with Wisconsin. Except for the short freeway segment near Forest Lake, and sections near the St. Croix River bridge and Rhinelander, Wisconsin, it is mostly undivided surface road. The highway was originally commissioned on November 11, 1926, with the rest of the original U.S. Highway System. At the time, it ran between Forest Lake, Minnesota, and Pembine, Wisconsin, with a planned continuation on to Powers, Michigan. Several changes have been made to the routing of the highway since then. The western end was extended south to Minneapolis before it was truncated back to Forest Lake. Other changes on the east end have moved that terminus from the originally planned end location at Powers, to the current location in Norway. US 8's course through the three states has also been shifted to follow different alignments over the years. WisDOT built a bypass around the city of Rhinelander in the 1990s and created a business loop along the old highway through the town. This loop was a locally maintained route through the central business district in Rhinelander. The signage for the loop was removed in 2005.

Icy California Highway 44.jpg
California State Route 44 in the wintertime.

From the editors

The next quarterly issue should be out in April 2014. 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 next issue released in the winter. Any and all contributions are welcome. Simply let yourself be known to any of the undersigned, or just start editing!

Contributors to this issue

Issue 1 | Issue 2