Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Newsletter/Issues/Volume07/Issue02

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The Center Line
Volume 7, Issue 2 • Spring 2014 • About the Newsletter

Here in the northern half of the country, winter stuck around quite late. It was only three week ago that parts of Michigan were still receiving measurable snowfall, and Lake Superior had ice floating in her bays and harbors just last week. The "spring" edition of The Center Line is coming out on a similarly delayed schedule. There's lots of things happening around the project. This issue we get an update about the on-going work behind the scenes to improve the templates that make our editing so much easier; there are some big developments in our Lua conversions this time around. We're also debuting a new feature this time in place of the state updates. Now that the warmer weather is here, we would like to wish everyone safe travels and productive editing. ❖Imzadi1979

Featured story

Under a moonlit (and lightning-quick) sky: Lua, {{jct}}, and what's next

Editor: Happy5214
Lua logo

Summer is almost here! Many of you will take time to enjoy the warm weather, go on vacation, or perhaps participate in the HWY Cup. And while much of our editing crew will focus on article improvement, I am continuing my efforts to convert our most important templates to Lua.

While many templates have seen improvements, the most important news to share is the deployment of the Lua version of {{jct}}. Jct is more complicated and widely used than any of our other templates, and rewriting it has been my top priority over the past few months. The new jct leverages the speed of Lua, reducing article load times significantly. Errors when saving long articles are now a thing of the past! Data is now provided by several string modules, which were already used by {{routelist row}} and will eventually be used by browse boxes. These string modules use a simple syntax, promoting contributions by non-coders, while still providing all of the power found in the original code. This rewrite would not have been possible without the help of several editors, who assisted in the data conversion and gave useful feedback on issues of importance.

Other templates also received much-needed work. {{Jcon}}, which is used for Ontario road articles in place of jct, was also rewritten to serve as a wrapper for the Lua version of jct. However, this change has not yet been deployed. The route list templates also received some new features and bug fixes. Of particular note, {{routelist bottom}} was rewritten to include a color key, using {{jctbtm}} as a model.

So, what's next? I will unfortunately be on a semi-WikiBreak until at least August, so Lua progress will likely be slow over the next few months. There are a few templates that I would like to give updates on. Now that jct and the {{jctint}} family are done, two templates come to my mind: {{USRD}} and {{Infobox road}}. Our banner needs major work, but I'm currently in a holding pattern on that front. As far as I can tell, Module:WikiProjectBanner will use a different model than the current {{WPBannerMeta}} system. Therefore, I will wait until that module is complete before I redo our project's banner. As for our infobox, I'm waiting on a new extension called Capiunto, which should provide a cleaner and more powerful infobox-building library. Infoboxes on many road articles include browse boxes, and these navigation templates are also used in other places. Ideally, that would be my next rewrite, since much of the required code was already done as part of the jct rewrite. The only major code to write would be the actual box code and additional string modules. Perhaps I will be able to do that this summer.

Before I go, let me remind you that none of this is possible without you. Your feedback and coding help is greatly appreciated, and I would like to thank all of you for your continued support. You can always contact me on my talk page, and I'm usually on IRC, though at odd times. Until next time, have a nice summer, good luck in the HWY Cup, and happy editing!

The new and improved HWY Cup

Editor: TCN7JM
WikiProject Highways logo

When is the USRD Cup not the USRD Cup? When it's the HWY Cup! This newly expanded competition, hosted by yours truly, is run very similarly to how the USRD Cup has been run in years past. That is, points are awarded for just about anything that pertains to the WikiProject: content creation, media, recognized content, project participation, and even stuff as simple as converting hardcoded RJLs to use {{jct}}. The only major difference is that instead of being limited to the U.S. Roads WikiProject as it was before, it now includes articles and editors from all over WikiProject Highways.

The field for the 2014 HWY Cup consists of thirteen editors; these include 2013 USRD Cup host Fredddie and two-time (2010 and 2013) USRD Cup champion Scott5114, as well as four editors from outside of the United States. The Cup began at midnight (UTC) on June 1 and will run for three rounds—each lasting about a month—until a winner is crowned at the end of August. For more information on the HWY Cup including the current scoreboard and the exact schedule, check out its page here. Good luck to all thirteen competitors.

Making shields 101

Editor: Dough4872
USRD Shield.svg

One of the main departments of USRD is the Shields Department, which is responsible for making SVG highway shields intended for use in articles. While making a shield may sound like a daunting task, most shields are simple to make with templates available. In order to make shields, you will need to install a vector graphics editor on your computer (Inkscape works really well) and download the Roadgeek 2005 fonts (available here). Once both are installed, download a shield template (several templates are available at Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Shields task force/Templates) and open the template in the vector graphics editor. Here, you can edit the text just like on a word processor to change it to the number desired. One important step that needs to be done before saving is to convert the text to path so it will show up with the proper font on Wikipedia. Once your shield is done, it can be uploaded to Commons. Make sure to use the proper license for each shield (most highway shields are PD-MUTCD). There is a great tutorial at Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Shields task force/Tutorial on how to make highway shields using Inkscape.

The maple syrup report

Editor: Floydian
TCH blank.svg

Well, it's spring; the maple syrup is flowing and our igloos have melted, so we're off to the cottage! Two new Featured articles have been promoted since the last report, bringing the total number to five. These include amongst them the first article representing the Trans-Canada Highway, Ontario Highway 71, promoted on March 3. The second article was Ontario Highway 402, promoted on May 5. In addition, more than a dozen new Good articles have been promoted. The Queen Elizabeth Way, one of the earliest divided highways in North America, is currently a Featured article candidate.

And with that, we hope to see you at the Highway Cup. Best of luck!

State and national updates

Assessment roundup

Editors: Imzadi1979 and TCN7JM

Here's a list of the top ten states as of June 6, 2014.

Rank State Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub Total ω Ω
1 Michigan 22 9 173 9 0 0 0 213 382 1.793
2 Delaware 1 0 53 3 7 0 0 64 143 2.234
3 New York 12 3 194 331 109 28 0 677 1960 2.895
4 Washington 0 2 72 78 53 5 0 210 617 2.938
5 Maryland 4 1 65 344 49 10 0 473 1409 2.979
6 New Jersey 1 2 102 47 19 81 0 252 828 3.286
7 Utah 4 3 16 64 131 6 0 224 781 3.487
8 Iowa 2 1 18 14 87 11 0 133 482 3.624
9 Arizona 1 0 13 17 46 20 0 97 361 3.722
10 Oklahoma 2 0 13 68 37 58 0 178 668 3.753

The top ten states remain in the same order again, but WikiWork in these states has varied a bit in a few cases since the last issue. For complete statistics updated almost daily, head on over to 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 62 24 934 1312 2705 4565 1609 11211 4927 4.382
IH 18 1 48 41 231 225 0 564 2269 4.023
USH 12 6 56 34 196 327 0 631 2639 4.182
Auto trail 7 0 5 1 8 29 7 57 232 4.070

The bad news is that we've only lost nine net stubs since the last issue. The good news is that we've gained 25 net good articles as well as one featured article: Interstate 470 (Ohio–West Virginia). WP:HWY/ACR has stalled a bit lately, and there are currently four articles awaiting reviews of some sort, so if you're looking for a way to help out the project, try reviewing an article there.

As a new feature, we can now compare USRD against all of its sister roads projects. There is a "live" table at Wikipedia:WikiProject Highways/Assessment/Live which will be supplemented with a bot-edited table to give us the same type of historical record we have for USRD. One thing to note in comparing the projects is that USRD and CARD have a more limited scope; for those two countries articles about city streets are handled by WP:USST or WP:CANST and they omit bridges while other projects have included such articles.

As of June 6, the table was still updating with the last of USRD's articles in the "All Roads" category because there should be around 21,700 total articles at present. For the projects we have:

Project Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub Total ω Ω
USRD 62 24 934 1312 2705 4565 1609 11211 4927 4.382
UKRD 4 0 13 100 204 715 834 1870 9721 5.198
CARD 5 2 51 43 171 163 1022 1457 7864 5.397
AURD 2 2 6 3 58 270 444 785 4269 5.438
HWY 0 1 15 22 95 606 4561 5300 30873 5.825
INRD 0 0 0 0 2 26 487 515 3060 5.942
HKRD 0 0 0 1 2 8 255 266 1581 5.944

Five years ago...

This was the leaderboard five years ago this May. Let's compare it to the current leaderboard (as of June 8).

State Ω (2009) Ω (2014)
Michigan 3.662 1.793
Utah 3.747 3.487
New York 3.884 2.895
Arizona 4.240 3.722
Connecticut 4.661 4.145
Vermont 4.832 4.475
Oklahoma 4.947 3.753
Guam 5.000 4.842
D.C. 5.130 4.438
Washington 5.183 2.938

A chat with our newest USRD members

Editors: Imzadi1979 and Fredddie

For something new this issue, we decided to ask our newest project members a few interview questions to see what interests them. We would like to welcome ACase0000, Bloonstdfan360, CycloneIsaac, Philroc, PointsofNoReturn and Thewombatguru to USRD. These are quite the varied group of individuals with a wide range of interests

First we were interested to see what articles they were working on. Two of them work on international road topics in addition to USRD. Thewombatguru hails from Europe but is working on adding KMLs and converting junction lists to use the templates, while Bloonsfanstd360 works on both Oregon and Taiwan highways. Among the rest of the interviewees, we have editors working on articles in New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia, and stubs in general.

Next we were curious what goals these editors had. ACase000, while working on Tennessee, wants to make those articles "them the best [he] can, and make them better than before." CycloneIssac wants to "destub most of Ohio road articles", and PointsofNoReturn is aiming to "get U.S. Route 9 in New York back to GA class."

The last thing we wanted to know was what were our new editors' favorite highways. Philroc said, "Interstate 95, especially north, because that leads to New York!" A West Coast Interstate seems to a a popular choice: Bloonsfanstd360 likes "I-84 in Oregon as [he likes] how the highway is at night", and Thewombatguru is fond of I-84 in Idaho. In a bit of a running joke, CycloneIsaac's favorite is "Ohio State Route 822, one of the most useful highways", and ACase0000 likes "U.S. Route 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park".

Project news in brief

Editor: Imzadi1979

Since the start of 2014:

  • The USRD main page has been updated to a new format. Some of the specific content has been spun out to other pages to keep the landing page for the project crisp and clean.
  • The Federal Highway Administration has released an updated Route Log and Finder List, the first since 2002. The new online publication updates the statistics on the Interstate Highway System through December 31, 2013.
  • The project discussed handling news of major car accidents in highway articles, but there was no consensus on any guidelines for including or excluding the content in the articles.
  • It was suggested again in April that we need to rename {{U.S. Roads WikiProject}} to {{WikiProject U.S. Roads}}. The banner template was not renamed in the end. In an unrelated proposal, another editor suggested that the various roads and highways portal should be renamed to uncapitalize the word "Roads". This proposal was also not successful.
  • Current discussions at WT:USRD and other talk pages are open about various glitches with the changeover of {{jct}} to Lua, upgrading the WP:USRD/STDS to a department of the project, splitting Pennsylvania Turnpike into separate articles, and changes approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) at their recent spring meeting.
  • There are currently two open nominations for featured content: U.S. Route 31 in Michigan is at WP:FAC, and List of Interstate Highways in Michigan is at WP:FLC. We have four articles at ACR as well.

Selected articles

SR 89A south of Sedona

State Route 89A (SR 89A) is a 83.85-mile (134.94 km) state highway that runs from Prescott north to Flagstaff in the U.S. state of Arizona. The highway begins at SR 89 and heads northward from Prescott, entering Jerome. From Jerome, the route then heads to Cottonwood and Sedona. The highway is notable for its scenic value as it passes through Sedona and the Oak Creek Canyon. The route then enters Flagstaff, where it crosses Interstate 17 (I-17) and I-40. The highway ends at I-40 Business in Flagstaff. What is now SR 89A became a state highway in the late 1920s as SR 79. The highway was extended and improved several times through 1938. SR 79 was renumbered to U.S. Route 89A (US 89A) in 1941 and then to SR 89A in the early 1990s.

Selected pictures

Sidewalk Highway.jpg
An older "sidewalk highway" segment of U.S. Route 66 in Miami, Oklahoma.
Near the eastern terminus in 2011

The Wendover Cut-off, also called the Wendover Road or Wendover Route, is a two-lane highway in the western part of Tooele County in the U.S. state of Utah. Stretching 40.3 miles (64.9 km) from Wendover to Knolls across the Bonneville Salt Flats, a part of the Great Salt Lake Desert, the cut-off was once part of the primary link between the Nevada state line and Salt Lake City. The first roadway across the Great Salt Lake Desert was completed in 1917 as a single-lane highway. It was added to the Utah state highway system in 1919, and replacement plans had begun to arise as soon as 1921. In 1923, the current cut-off was approved for construction and opened in 1925. The United States Numbered Highway System brought the arrival of the U.S. Route 40 (US-40) designation to the highway, the Lincoln Highway was also routed along the cut-off. Later, the cut-off was also designated as part of US-50 and US-50 Alternate (US-50 Alt). Upon the completion of the parallel Interstate 80 (I-80), the previous U.S. Route designations were deleted from the United States Numbered Highway System, and the cut-off was turned over to the county.

Wy niobrara1.jpg
A former section of U.S. Route 18 and U.S. Route 85 in Niobrara County, Wyoming.
Route 4 approaching its southern terminus at US 1 in North Kingstown

Route 4 is a 10.37-mile (16.69 km) long numbered state highway located in Washington County and southern Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. The route is a major north–south freeway in the southern Providence metropolitan area, directly linking Providence with eastern Washington County, the beaches of Narragansett and South Kingstown, and the city of Newport. Route 4 begins as a two-lane divided highway at an intersection with U.S. Route 1 (US 1) in the town of North Kingstown, becoming a freeway after 1.89 miles (3.04 km). The route continues to the city of Warwick, where the northbound lanes merge into Interstate 95 (I-95). The origins of Route 4 date back to 1952, when construction began on a short, unnumbered arterial from US 1 to Routes 2 and 102 (exit 5) in Wickford. In 1965, work began on a 5.4-mile (8.7 km) freeway from modern exit 6 north to the merge with I-95. The freeway, designated as Route 4, was completed in 1972. The Route 4 designation was also applied to the Wickford arterial. In 1988, the missing link in Route 4 between exits 5 and 6 was completed and opened. There are plans to upgrade the southernmost portion of Route 4 to freeway status. Although the project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2007, the $55 million project has been postponed indefinitely.

Dusk in North Miami Beach, Florida, along State Road 826.

From the editors

The next quarterly issue should be out in July or August 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 summer. 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 | Issue 3