Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Newsletter/Issues/Volume09/Issue01

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The Center Line
Volume 9, Issue 1 • Spring 2017 • About the Newsletter


Welcome to the return of The Center Line. This is the first issue published since our Tin Jubilee Year in 2015, and hopefully we are just picking up where we left off a little over a year ago. We have your usual project and state updates, portal content and some new feature stories for you this issue. Until the summer, happy editing!

Colonial Parkway with springtime blossoms
Featured story

Commons and Wikidata revamp

Contributor: Rschen7754

2012 and 2013 were momentous years in the history of USRD: the consolidation of the state highway WikiProjects, the deployment of KML files, and a record-breaking number of featured articles and good articles. But behind the scenes, two initiatives on Wikimedia sister projects were started, and were only completed last year.

California 9.svg
Commons:WikiProject U.S. Roads completed the initial work of tagging all the highway shields properly. In the past, shields were tagged with templates like {{PD-self}} or {{CC-BY-SA 3.0}}, even though the design of the shields themselves was done by the state department of transportation. For example, the shield to the left was created by the California Department of Transportation and should be tagged {{PD-MUTCD-CA}}, because it appears in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices and is thus in the public domain. A full list of the templates to use is on c:COM:USRD/L.

Wikidata:WikiProject Roads/United States is our portal on one of the newest Wikimedia projects, Wikidata. Last year, we completed the initial setup of the project pages and the data items. The project pages dynamically change when data is added to items, easily indicating what facts are missing.

In future months, we hope to add more shields to Commons (including shields for other countries and historic highway shields) and to improve the infrastructure on Wikidata to handle geographic shapefiles and other data.


Route logs for junction lists

Contributor: Fredddie

Recently, I added a junction list to Montana Highway 2, which was the last remaining extant Montana article that was missing one. To be honest, that article still needs a lot of work, but I'm just going to focus on junction lists. If you look at Category:U.S. Roads project articles needing a junction list, you'll see that there are still 634 articles that do not have a junction list, which is roughly 6.5% of all USRD articles. Some state departments of transportation are more forthcoming with their data than others, whether it's in a convenient route log like MnDOT provides, or it's given in GIS data as IDOT does. Some states do not provide any route log data, and as you can imagine, articles in those states lag behind in quality.

So here is my call to action. We can easily halve the number of articles that need a junction list by plugging away at the states that have route data and contacting the departments of transportation in the states that don't to see if they could provide us with the data. Here are the states that have route log data available, but still have a lot of articles that are missing junction lists. I have provided links to these states' route logs and data for your convenience: Arkansas (Microsoft Access Database), Illinois (GIS data), Kansas (Pavement Management Information System), Kentucky (DMI Route Log) , Missouri (HPMAPS), New Mexico (Posted Route Legal Descriptions)

These are the states that need the most attention with regards to junction lists: Maine, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, West Virginia, Wisconsin. With these states, we have little to no route log information. We have to do a little legwork and contact the DOT in these states and territories to ask if they can provide us with route log data. Who knows what other beneficial information they can provide us?

Finding friends at the DOT

Contributor: Imzadi1979

One of the most beneficial things any USRD editor can do is cultivate a working relationship with a DOT staffer. The departments are a wealth of information on their respective highway systems, and in many cases, that information is not online. There are some exceptions where a DOT employee is legitimately a roadgeek and active on various mailing lists or forums. In that case, all we'd have to do is send them a private message when one of us is looking for some information.

In states with decentralized regional or district offices, most have local public information officers. Their contact information is usually online. I've found that a specific and polite request can provide access to useful documents. With one timely request, a local PIO mailed the soon-to-be-replaced paper regional route log, for free and mentioned that if I asked his counterparts, they'd probably be willing to mail out their copies as well. Please note, avoid invoking the Freedom of Information Act in your request if at all possible. FOIA should guarantee that you'll eventually get the documents or information you seek, but it is not free. Government agencies have to do paperwork to account for FOIA requests, and they charge fees for research time and photocopies. If you avoid those magic words, and your request is simple enough, the recipient may be able to answer your questions for free.

Many DOTs operate their own libraries, and the librarians in charge of these facilities are usually quite happy to respond to simple requests. In some states, there is an official state library like the Library of Michigan that also houses government documents. A major public university in that state may also archive public records. These options usually require an in-person visit, but some research requests can still be accommodated remotely online or through an inter-library loan request.

Don't be afraid to ask if your question can be forwarded to someone else. My contacts at MDOT and WisDOT haven't always been the ones to ultimately answer my questions. Instead, they were the foot in the door I needed to get my question in front of the person who could answer it.

This space for rent

Contributor: You!

You may have noticed that this is the first issue of The Center Line in over a year. This newsletter relies on volunteers to contribute content in order for there to be anything published in these spaces. During 2016 and early 2017, we did not receive any submissions, so no issues were published. In short, if you'd like to see future issues, you'll need to submit ideas or feature stories for The Center Line. ❖Imzadi1979

These newsletter feature spaces are available.
State and national updates

Assessment roundup

Contributor: Dough4872

Here's how the leaderboard looks as of April 12, 2017:

Rank State Featured article FA A-Class article A GA B C Start Stub ω Ω
1 Michigan 31 5 188 0 0 0 0 381 1.701
2 Delaware 1 0 63 0 0 0 0 126 1.969
3 New York 12 3 198 332 107 24 2 1955 2.883
4 Washington 0 2 73 78 53 6 1 630 2.958
5 Maryland 4 1 65 346 45 8 0 1389 2.962
6 New Jersey 0 2 102 47 19 81 0 828 3.299
7 Utah 4 3 16 64 131 7 1 792 3.504
8 Iowa 2 1 19 19 87 12 0 504 3.600
9 Arizona 2 0 12 18 47 20 1 372 3.720
10 Oklahoma 2 0 14 66 39 58 0 672 3.754

Since the last issue in 2015, there has been no change in the top 10 and the WikiWork has remained relatively stable in those states, with very little change.

As always, you can find full statistics for all 50 states and more at WP:USRD/A/S. And now for a look at 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 73 20 988 1567 2986 4596 1658 11888 51569 4.338
IH 23 1 53 39 273 188 4 581 2280 3.924
USH 17 2 70 44 239 338 9 719 2974 4.136
Auto trail 7 0 5 1 10 29 9 61 252 4.131

Since the last issue in 2015, the USRD project has had a net gain of 7 Featured Articles and 11 Good Articles. The project has had a net loss of 31 stubs since the last issue was published. The USRD project WikiWork has dropped slightly by 0.01 to 4.338.

Current map of USRD's Featured Articles

State updates

In other project news...

Contributor: Imzadi1979
  • For 2016, USRD decided that project goals would not have annual deadlines, but then we didn't agree on any goals.
  • In March 2016, we discussed adding addition |type= codes to the {{WikiProject U.S. Roads}} banner to complement the existing |type=I, |type=US, and |type=trail codes.
  • Last August, we initially discussed retiring the "bannered route" neologism in favor of "special route", or a more specific term like "business route", as appropriate. A follow-up discussion in January implemented the change for article titles, and work to update the terminology within articles has been ongoing since.
  • Last month, a discussion started regarding articles that combine like-numbered highways in adjacent states, and whether or not they should be split apart.
  • A recent discussion just started on National Highway System status and notability of otherwise minor highway classifications.

Portal selected articles and pictures

Selected articles
Month US MI NY
October 2015 Pennsylvania Turnpike U.S. Route 27 in Michigan
November 2015 Interstate 29 in Iowa M-231 (Michigan highway) New York State Route 418
December 2015 Eisenhower Tunnel Pure Michigan Byway
January 2016 New York State Route 28 H-13 (Michigan county highway) Arden Valley Road
February 2016 California State Route 67 U.S. Route 12 in Michigan
March 2016 U.S. Route 15 in Maryland M-69 (Michigan highway)
April 2016 Nevada State Route 375 Interstate 296
May 2016 H-58 (Michigan county highway) M-48 (Michigan highway)
June 2016 U.S. Route 195 M-37 (Michigan highway)
July 2016 Legacy Parkway Black River National Forest Scenic Byway
August 2016 North Carolina Highway 54 M-115 (Michigan highway)
September 2016 U.S. Route 412 in Oklahoma M-203 (Michigan highway)
October 2016 Arizona State Route 67 Interstate 196
November 2016 Interstate 81 in West Virginia M-67 (Michigan highway)
December 2016 U.S. Route 67 in Iowa Interstate 496
January 2017 California State Route 94 County Road 510 (Marquette County, Michigan)
February 2017 New York State Route 32
March 2017 M-6 (Michigan highway) M-129 (Michigan highway)

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