Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Newsletter/Issues/Volume08/Issue02

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The Center Line
Volume 8, Issue 2 • Spring 2015 • About the Newsletter

Spring has sprung across the United States, and summer is fast approaching. That means it's time for another issue of the newsletter before we get busy with our summer travels. This issue, we continue our series of tutorials on how to create essential parts of articles on highways with the first two of the big three: route descriptions and history sections. We also switch things up with updates about some of our editors. As usual, we have our regular leaderboard update as well as an update on this year's project goal and project news. As summer travel season is gearing up, we'd like to wish you safe travels and successful editing! ❖Imzadi1979

California state scenic highway marker
Featured story

Route description 101

Contributor: Dough4872

The vast majority of USRD articles are composed of the "big three" sections: route description, history, and a road junction list. Over the next few issues, a guide will be given as how to write each section. In this issue, we will focus on how to write the first two. The header is supposed to be "Route description" with the "d" in description in lowercase. In the route description, you basically describe where the road goes, what other highways it intersects, and the physical surroundings. The section should describe the progression of the route from south to north or west to east in accordance with the mileposts.

In the route description, you should mention major roads that it intersects or has interchanges with. Generally, you should limit the mention of intersecting roads to highways that are notable enough for their own article; this would generally include Interstates, U.S. routes, state routes, and other freeways and generally exclude most county routes and local roads. However, the inclusion of county and local roads may be more necessary to expand the section for a shorter route. The route description should also mention cities and towns that the highway passes through along with other geographic landmarks it crosses such as major rivers or mountain ranges.

As I may imply in my GA reviews, "You should write more about the physical surroundings" in the route description. In describing the physical surroundings, you should mention what kind of landscapes the route passes through along the way, whether it be urban or suburban areas consisting of homes and businesses or rural areas of farmland, woodland, mountains, or desert. In describing the physical surroundings, you do not need to be excessively detailed but should give the reader a general idea of what they are like. It also helps to mention attractions and points of interest that the route passes; generally you should only include them if they are notable enough for a Wikipedia article. Also, you should describe the character of the road itself as in how many lanes wide is it, whether it is divided or undivided, and whether it is a freeway or a surface road. Other information that helps to be included in the route description section are traffic counts (generally the highest and lowest measurements along the road) and what portions, if any, of the highway are part of the National Highway System.

In sourcing a route description, usually either a road map and/or a route log would sufficiently cover. Regarding maps, you can source to the official state road map along with a web mapping service such as Google Maps or Bing Maps to verify the physical surroundings. Most states also have route logs or straight-line diagrams that can also be used to verify information such as intersecting roads and city or county boundaries. Maps and logs can also be used to source the information regarding the traffic counts and National Highway System.

The nitty gritty of in-depth research

Contributor: Floydian

Let me preface this by saying that every highway, every state, every country has different circumstances, and what methods may apply to one situation may not whatsoever to others. On the other hand, I have routinely experienced the discovery of previously unknown sources that benefit numerous articles with some dedication and perseverance. This article will detail a few methods you may not have considered.

The biggest resource in my opinion is the library. While the internet has a good stock of recent and well-known publications, your local library likely has transportation studies or old highway logs going back many decades. Many of these records will be in the "stacks", which is reference only and often requires signing the literature out for use in the library. In addition to official transportation department literature and traffic/transportation studies done by consultants on behalf of those departments, most libraries contain an archive of local or major regional newspapers. These may be in paper format, or on microfilm.

Many library systems provide access to online research services as part of their membership. Digital copies of newspapers via services such as ProQuest or Highbeam can be a treasure trove of information with the proper keyword searches. Avoid complicating your searches and instead search for "Highway X" or "Route X", plus one keyword; set the range of dates if possible. "Hwy. X" and "Rt. X" may return even more results that the first search could miss.

Another oft-overlooked resource is the (somewhat dwindling) archives of Google News, which will not show up when performing a normal search. Instead, click the "search tools" link, and change "recent" to "archives" or "custom range..." I have noticed that slightly different results appear depending on that choice. What appears in a custom date search may not show up in an archive search, and vice-versa.

One final place that can provide unique sources not available elsewhere is your local or state archives. These repositories are often organized in a mish-mash fashion, so be sure to enlist the help of the archivists and to think outside the box to find poorly categorized entries. That last point also applies to the other methods mentioned above, as minor typographical changes can produce results you'd miss otherwise.

State and national updates

Assessment roundup

Contributor: Fredddie

Statistics as of May 31, 2015.

Rank State Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub ω Ω
1 Michigan 26 6 184 0 0 0 0 374 1.731
2 Delaware 1 0 61 1 0 0 0 125 1.984
3 New York 12 3 197 330 109 25 0 1948 2.882
4 Washington 0 2 73 78 54 5 1 629 2.953
5 Maryland 4 1 66 343 47 7 0 1385 2.959
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 12 0 496 3.620
9 Arizona 2 0 12 17 47 20 0 363 3.704
10 Oklahoma 2 0 14 67 38 57 0 666 3.742

Michigan took a giant step forward when it became the first state to have no Stub-, Start-, C-, or B-Class articles; the lowest-class article in that state is now a Good Article. Some of the other states moved a class or two, but not enough to disrupt the order of the top ten.

For full stats on all 50 states and more updated almost daily, take a look at WP:USRD/A/S. Now let's see how the project is doing overall.

Project Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub Total ω Ω
USRD 67 22 974 1366 2892 4542 1698 11561 50534 4.371
IH 20 1 48 41 268 192 3 573 2270 3.962
USH 15 3 66 36 220 318 6 664 2749 4.140
Auto trail 7 0 6 1 10 27 8 59 238 4.034

Our 2015 goal of reducing the cumulative WikiWork by 1010 classes has fallen flat on its face. Since the Winter issue, USRD has added 60 assessed articles and 251 WikiWork classes; on average, these new articles are Start-Class. We now need 1397 classes to meet our goal.

Since the last issue, we did not add any Featured or A-Class articles, but we did add 13 Good Articles. Overall, our relative WikiWork decreased by 0.001.

Editor updates

In other project news...

Contributor: Fredddie
  • As mentioned in the last issue, we've begun to nominate metropolitan area navigation boxes for deletion. As of press time, four batches of template have been deleted with more to come.
  • A New England interstate highway article was deleted in May because in its nine-year existence, it was never cited to any source. This should serve as a reminder to all USRD editors that even when we know a route was part of the highway system, every article needs to have references.
  • There is an ongoing discussion about how we can clean up the USRD project space. Among the proposals are marking WP:PLAN as historical, migrating the shields task force to COM:USRD, and merging pages that have similar or overlapping scopes.

Selected articles

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

US: Oregon Route 120
MI: M-27 (Michigan highway)
NJ: New Jersey Route 87
NY: New York State Route 129

Selected pictures

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

New Jersey Turnpike widening Robbinsville Nov 2014.jpg

The New Jersey Turnpike in Robbinsville Township, with separate lanes for cars only and cars, trucks, and buses.
US: Minnesota State Highway 7
MI: M-26 (Michigan highway)
NJ: New Jersey Route 59
NY: New York State Route 184
2007 12 06 - PWRC - MD197 h.JPG

Maryland Route 197 within the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
US: Interstate 8
MI: M-25 (Michigan highway)
NJ: New Jersey Route 167
NY: New York State Route 38A
Dramatic switchback original.jpg
A switchback along Utah State Route 143.

From the editors

The next quarterly issue should be out in the summer. 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 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