Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Newsletter/Issues/Volume07/Issue04

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The Center Line
Volume 7, Issue 4 • Fourth Quarter 2014 • About the Newsletter


As your intrepid editor is sitting at his keyboard, Christmas Eve has just started a little while ago. As 2014 is rapidly drawing to a close, we put together one last issue of The Center Line for the year. We're looking ahead to 2015, which marks the 10th anniversary of USRD. We're debuting a special "tin jubilee" edition of our project logo, which you'll see throughout the next year in various places. Our featured story was written by editors just like you who wanted to share what USRD has meant to them. You'll find your usual assortment of project updates, including the leaderboard. We've put a wrap on 2014 with a year in review, and we're going to set the bar with the 2015 project goals.

The editors and regular contributors would like to wish all of USRD's members, and all of the others who read The Center Line each quarter, a happy and healthy 2015.

Happy New Year!
Featured story

The U.S. Roads Project Is Turning 10!

Contributor: Rschen7754
10th anniversary logo used for the U.S. Roads WikiProject

The U.S. Roads WikiProject celebrates 10 years as a project in 2015. On September 18, 2005, the Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads page was created, though a separate WikiProject for California highways had existed since April 18 of that year. On a top-10 website where even a year can bring about much change, and where most WikiProjects have become inactive, the U.S. Roads WikiProject has somehow managed to remain active, and continues improving content related to U.S. roads to this day.

I thought about writing a tl;dr essay about where I see the project going over the next several years, but instead, I wanted to hear from other editors, because after all, this is a collaborative effort. So, here are what the editors of USRD have to say below.

  • I am Dough4872. I started editing Wikipedia on April 8, 2007 and primarily focused on creating and improving road articles in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Through the attention of project editors, I started becoming more active in USRD affairs in late 2008 and early 2009, including nominating and reviewing articles at GAN and ACR and participating in projectwide discussions at the project talk page at WT:USRD. I continue to focus on improving road articles within the Mid-Atlantic region but can help with other states if needed. I also play a major role in keeping our featured portal P:USRD up and running in addition to making shields for the Shields task force. To me, this project has meant trying to make Wikipedia the most comprehensive source on the web to get information on U.S. roads from their descriptive qualities to their historical background. In the next 5 or 10 years, I hope that USRD articles continue to improve in quality with more GAs and FAs and fewer stubs. Also, I hope that all missing road articles are created and that our list and overview articles are brought up to quality, embodying the Michigan Plan set forth by Imzadi1979.
  • I am Fredddie and I am a bit of a jack-of-all-trades for USRD. I have written a couple Featured Articles, I make maps and shields, I helped redevelop a number of templates we use every day such as {{Infobox road}} and {{Jctint}}, I review articles at ACR, among other tasks. I came to USRD in December 2005 and started out by editing Iowa articles. Over the next year or so, I was not very active; life in the meatspace got in the way. My girlfriend at the time (now Mrs. Fredddie) told me that I needed a hobby and that's when I really became active. This project means a lot to me in a number of ways. I could list them all, but most importantly, I am proud to call most colleagues here my friends. Sometimes they can be pugnacious and stubborn, but for the most part, I don't think I would be around after ten years if it weren't for my friends. They motivate and challenge me to be a better editor; hopefully I do the same for them. Over the next few years, obviously, I hope we grow our editor base. Recruiting women who enjoy roadgeeking as much as we do should be a priority. Hopefully by the time our 20th Anniversary comes around U.S. Route 66 will be a Featured Article. Wikidata is an exciting venture which will help us grow USRD in other languages, I just hope it progresses a little faster than it does in 2014.
  • I'm Imzadi1979, and I got my start with USRD back in 2007 working on fleshing out the missing articles for Michigan. Since then, I joined the IRC channel in early 2008 where a challenge was thrown down: get Michigan onto the Leaderboard for the next issue of the newsletter. At that time, our WikiWork scale ran up to 5 (C-Class came later), and there was a friendly race to get a state below 4.000 on the chart. That friendly competition, a few GANs, ACRs and FACs later and I was hooked on active editing. Since then, I've found other ways to pitch in. I'm the guy who actually assembles these newsletters and pushes the buttons to "mail" them out. I nominate articles, work on portals, and tag most of the newest articles for assessment. Like Fredddie, I'm proud to call several of the other project members friends. I've been fortunate to meet a few of you in person, and talk to a few others on the phone or via Skype. Working on researching and writing articles has had a secondary benefit: it has kept my academic skills sharp and made writing papers for college course much easier once I returned to academia last year. I hope that the project continues to improve its content, adding more Featured Articles and Featured Lists to the mix. I'd love to see more states get close to what Michigan will be able to do in the next year or so: create a Featured Topic on the entire state's highway system.
  • I am Morriswa, and I've been a member of the Project for a few years or so. I have a deep, personal passion for U.S. roads and road maps. USRD just seemed like a great fit for me. I mainly edit articles for roads in the state of Georgia, but -- if I see other articles that need help -- I will touch them up, too. I'm just a little helpful person. Until this year, when I started expressing my real, true self in my personal life, this Project was the only way that I seemed to make a difference in life. My job sucks the life out of me, and I tried to dive fully into the editing. When I saw how fun it was, I got so excited. I hope USRD will keep proceeding on the way it has been going. I think that the Interstates and U.S. highways should have fully fleshed-out state-detail articles. Also, the lists of state highways should be expanded and filled in completely.
  • Well, I am Rschen7754, and I started editing before USRD was founded, but my first edit was to California State Route 78 on March 12, 2005. I found it fascinating that this was a website to where anyone could contribute, and to where people would actually read the content that you wrote. However, much of my work for USRD has been more administrative in nature–starting discussions, keeping project pages maintained, and making sure that project processes keep functioning, among other things. In recent years, I have shifted back towards working on California road articles, making sure that they are the best that they can be and providing information that most other road web sites don't. Over the years I've enjoyed learning how to do new things that I wouldn't have otherwise, and to work with a team of dedicated editors over the course of several years, through high school, college, graduate school, and now the "real world". Ten years in, we have figured out how to write good articles on shorter highways and highways that are less complicated. As recent discussions at WT:USRD have shown, I think we're at the crossroads of deciding how to write good quality articles on the important topics—say, U.S. Route 66, Interstate 95, and other highways that most Americans are familiar with. Things did slow over 2014, but over the last few weeks I've been encouraged to see new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for the project.
  • I am SounderBruce, and I've been watching over Washington since 2007. I started editing Wikipedia after seeing the lack of articles for state highways in my county, and later the entire state, creating a large backlog of stubs that I've chiseled away at. I periodically take breaks from Wikipedia for several months at a time, usually to focus on being a full-time student. I also venture out and take pictures, mainly of Seattle's freeways from overpasses and viewpoints. Editing has helped me improve the way I write and research, which has made my academic studies much easier. For the next few years, I hope that the project will grow large enough to have multiple contributors per state, while also helping support our international roadgeeks.
  • Hey. I'm TCN7JM, and I was here and there for a bit beforehand, but I didn't get very active within the project until I joined the IRC channel. I still remember the exact date: October 12, 2012. With just more than two years of experience, I'm the newest prominent member of USRD (or at least that's what I like to think of myself), but I hope I won't be the last. Most of the stuff I do is behind the scenes. I spend a lot of time creating KML files, getting rid of hardcoded junction lists, performing minor improvements on articles, and reviewing other people's work. However, I have written a few Good Articles. Someday I'll get the time, skills and resources to bring an article to A-Class or even Featured Article status, but now is not that time. I could try to find my own words to sum up why I like USRD so much, but they'd end up being too similar to Fredddie's, so I won't. In the next few years, I'd like to see every single article in the project have a KML file. It isn't as important as other parts of the articles, and right now we're nowhere near having a KML for every article, but it is a goal of mine to eventually give every USRD article a KML. (Maps would be nice, too, but I don't really create maps.) I'd also like us to completely work out what exactly we're doing over at Wikidata. I enjoy working over there, but we're definitely still getting stuff figured out. I've only been here for about 20% of the project's existence, but I still feel as if I have made an impact. My life outside the Internet takes priority sometimes, but I hope that in the future, my impact on USRD can grow even larger.
  • I am Viridiscalculus. I discovered USRD as I began to create articles for all Maryland routes that did not yet have them at the end of 2009. USRD provided me some resources and a number of editors who could serve me with feedback and with models for writing articles. I created my first article, Maryland Route 152, on December 16, 2009, and I discovered the IRC chat January 7, 2010. Over the past 5 years, I have added or rewritten at least 90 percent of the articles about Maryland's highways, with my main contribution being history research. I also work occasionally in other states and contribute to nation-wide tasks. For instance, in 2011 and 2012, I eliminated almost every stub-class article in Virginia. I have created Good Articles in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, and Kansas. My lone Featured Article is U.S. Route 113, which runs through Maryland and a fifth outside state, Delaware. USRD has provided me a sounding board, a means to direct my editing energies, and an online community. I have also gotten to know several of the editors reasonably well and have met a few of them in person at road meets. In the next 5 years, USRD needs to tackle its 800-pound (360 kg) gorilla, U.S. Route 66, which is the project's most popular article and one of the few articles in the project that concerns a cultural touchstone.

2014: The Year in Review

Contributor: Rschen7754

As people have alluded to above, 2014 was a bit of a slow year due to many editors' real-life commitments, and other matters on Wikimedia. We did not meet any of our goals for the year; perhaps they were set a bit too high. But we still had some accomplishments:

Cscr-featured.svg
We had six new featured articles: Interstate 470 (Ohio–West Virginia), U.S. Route 31 in Michigan, U.S. Route 45 in Michigan, Interstate 69 in Michigan, and U.S. Route 141. We got our first featured list using our new series of routelist templates, List of Interstate Highways in Michigan.
Symbol support vote.svg
We had a net gain of 45 Good Articles, as of this writing.
Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg
We had a record six featured articles on the Main Page, with a combined total of at least 65,800 page views from five of them (the page view data was lost for one of the articles)
HWY Cup.svg
TCN7JM ran the HWY Cup this year (which included USRD).

Maple Syrup Report

Contributor: Floydian
Trans-Canada Highway marker

Winter is here, the leaves have changed, and our igloos are built. But fret not, because with winter comes more time inside; with more time inside comes more time to edit Wikipedia! Nevertheless, summer has been productive in the Great North. Since our spring update, three new featured articles have been added to the ranks: the Queen Elizabeth Way, Ontario Highway 61 and Ontario Highway 403. The first, of interesting note, is considered the first divided highway in North America, and once boasted the longest illuminated stretch of roadway in the world! The second began its existence with a bridge constructed between Canada and the United States without government permission! Highway 403, meanwhile, is the fifth 400-series highway Featured Article and for two decades consisted of three separated sections. On the same page, Ontario Highway 407, the first fully-electronic toll highway in the world, is currently the final 400-series highway Good Article nomination. The promotion of this article and 400-series highways would give Canada its first Good Topic and bring it within earshot of a Featured Topic. Will 2015 be the year?

Setting the bar for 2015

Contributor: Imzadi1979

As we approach our 10th year, members of the project have set two goals for 2015.

  1. I-blank.svg
    US blank.svg
    We want to improve the various national articles on Interstate and U.S. Highways. Many of these have state-detail articles, such as Interstate 75 in Michigan or U.S. Route 6 in Iowa, but for 2015, we will be working on improve the parent articles like Interstate 75 and U.S. Route 6. As of this writing, specific metrics for evaluating this goal have not been set.
  2. Greek letter omega.svg
    We also want to decrease the cumulative WikiWork by a net 1010 classes in honor of our 10th anniversary. This can be accomplished by improving a Stub-Class article to Start-Class for a one-class gain, or an ambitious editor could take that stub all the way to GA for four classes. However, all new articles created will add to the total needed.


State and national updates

Assessment roundup

Contributor: TCN7JM

Here are the top ten states in average WikiWork as of December 24, 2014.

Rank State Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub ω Ω
1 Michigan 26 6 172 9 0 0 0 377 1.770
2 Delaware 1 0 55 7 0 0 0 131 2.079
3 New York 12 3 196 329 109 25 0 1943 2.883
4 Washington 0 2 72 78 54 4 1 622 2.953
5 Maryland 4 1 65 344 47 7 0 1386 2.962
6 New Jersey 1 2 102 47 18 82 0 829 3.290
7 Utah 4 3 16 64 131 6 1 787 3.498
8 Iowa 2 1 18 17 87 11 0 491 3.610
9 Arizona 1 0 13 17 46 20 0 361 3.722
10 Oklahoma 2 0 14 67 37 58 0 667 3.747

All of the top ten states stayed in their places, and there was minimal improvement within those ten states. Bubbling under, though, there's an interesting battle for eleventh place going on between Minnesota and California. Here's how that stacks up right now.

Rank State Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub ω Ω
11 Minnesota 1 0 3 7 199 9 1 874 3.973
12 California 8 2 39 7 118 116 0 1161 3.976

Each state still has many low-class articles to be improved, so we'll see how that plays out. For full stats on all 50 states and more updated almost daily, check out WP:USRD/A/S. Now, here's how the project is doing as a whole.

Project Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub Total ω Ω
USRD 66 22 951 1345 2818 4564 1687 11453 50173 4.381
IH 19 1 47 43 244 211 0 565 2255 3.991
USH 15 3 59 36 204 330 1 648 2701 4.168
Auto trail 7 0 6 1 9 28 8 59 239 4.051

We have gained two featured articles since the last issue: U.S. Route 45 in Michigan and Interstate 69 in Michigan. We also got our first featured list using the new {{routelist row}} templates: List of Interstate Highways in Michigan. Aside from this, we wrote 14 net good articles. However, the project's decreased activity over the past few months has led to an average WikiWork decrease of only 0.001 since the last issue.

Project news

Editor: Fredddie
  • We have been whittling away at the list of articles with a hardcoded junction list and now we have 1 articles remaining. Most of the articles remaining in this category are concentrated in three states: North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas. There are other states in the category, but these states only have a few articles. Please do take a moment and help us get the rest of these articles updated to current MOS:RJL standards.
  • There is an ongoing discussion at WT:HWY regarding the ACR process. Opinions have been mixed, but there is some agreement among editors that the process can be streamlined. We have yet to find the balance between getting articles through ACR quickly while still providing a rigorous review.
  • Google announced that they will be dropping support for KML overlays on their Google Maps service. It is not immediately clear if we will continue to utilize Google Maps with {{Attached KML}} after the change in February.

Task force reports

California

California State Route 94, California State Route 98, California State Route 115, and California State Route 177 are now GAs, and Interstate 8 remains at ACR while California State Route 76 passed its ACR. Work continues on the San Diego and Imperial county highways, and is shifting to San Bernardino and Riverside county highways. But the big announcement: California's WikiWork is finally under 4.0, meaning that the average assessment is now a C. ❖Rschen7754

Delaware

The remaining C-class articles in the state have been upgraded to B-class, making Delaware only the second state to have all articles at B-class or better along with Michigan. U.S. Route 13 Business (Wilmington, Delaware) and Delaware Route 1 became GAs while three other articles are at GAN. ❖Dough4872

Maryland

The main article creation work over the past several months has been expanding and splitting the list of former Maryland state highways into multiple lists by number range. These lists include former routes with numbers between 2 and 199, 200 and 399, and one each for the 400s, 500s, and 600s. All entries in these lists are supported by the task force resources, so there are some routes that are listed on other websites that cannot be included because resources are not yet available to support their inclusion. Many of these unsupported routes are between 700 and 999, so the few supported routes in that range will remain in the "main" article for now. I would like to provide special recognition to Dough4872 for promptly and comprehensively correcting and adding redirects for all of these routes. ❖Viridiscalculus

Michigan

As noted elsewhere, Michigan has seen two more FAs and a FL promoted. Michigan Heritage Route would be at WP:FLC by now, but there are some changes coming. Before the Michigan Legislature adjourned for the year, the body sent House Bill 5072 to Governor Rick Snyder's desk. Once this is signed into law, the Heritage Routes will become "Pure Michigan Byways", and the temporary instability in the article resulting from the name change has delayed nomination of the list for FL status. Expect to see it nominated in 2015, along with the next round of FACs. ❖Imzadi1979

Mississippi

The Magnolia State's state highway project gained 8 good articles since the last state update. The state routes 350, 444, 454, 473, 604, 792, and former highways 572 and 602 were promoted. The state's WikiWork is falling just as fast as the gas prices...❖CycloneIsaac

Northern Mariana Islands

It was recently discovered through Google Street View that the Northern Mariana Islands has a signed numbered highway system. As such, List of numbered highways in the Northern Mariana Islands has been created and shields have been made. For now, only the routes on Saipan are included in the list based on the Street View discoveries and the information is to the best of knowledge based on the imagery. It is hoped that in the future better resources on these numbered highways can be found along with information for numbered highways on the other islands. ❖Dough4872

Oregon

Oregon Route 120 is now a GA. It is the first state highway GA in the state. Work continues at splitting List of highway route numbers in Oregon into three pages, one each for Interstates, U.S. Routes, and state routes. ❖Bloonstdfan360


Selected articles

The following articles appeared as the Selected article on a portal or task force page in the summer quarter:

July
US: New York State Route 343
MI: M-119 (Michigan highway)
NJ: U.S. Route 40 in New Jersey
NY: New York State Route 383

Selected pictures

The following photos appeared as the Selected picture on the U.S. Roads Portal in the summer quarter:

July
Skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina (2008).jpg

U.S. Route 74 in Charlotte, North Carolina
August
US: Virginia State Route 253
MI: M-119 (Michigan highway)
NJ: New Jersey Route 5
August
Gateway Bridge Illinois-Iowa 2.jpg

U.S. Highway 30 crossing the Mississippi River at Clinton, Iowa
September
US: River Road National Scenic Byway
MI: Interstate 69 in Michigan
NJ: New Jersey Route 48
September
1956-11-01 M-87 (Main & Center Sts., Fenton, Michigan).jpg

A 1956 view of M-87 in Fenton, Michigan

From the editors

The next quarterly issue should be out in the first quarter of 2015. 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 for the first quarter. 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 3 | Issue 4 | Volume 8, Issue 1