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Midwest/Plains Trip - Secondary Routes and Street Names

Posted by mdroads on 21 August 2014 in English (English)

Spent the last few days after vacation going over my OSM notes from the roads of the Midwest and Plains (trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota).

I noted some of the differences in naming and signage conventions between counties, especially secondary level numbered roads (ref=) and street names (name=) in counties with mile after mile of PLSS grids. Many of these differ from TIGER, and will have been renamed, especially for E911 purposes. On the way back I even saw two separate name signages, one the old street names in town, and the other a new grid naming system.

Pennington County, SD

Blade signage:

White on green, standard pentagons on end of sign. No county numbers given, only blank pentagons with county outline on blade signage, and also logos for USFS or city maintained roads.

Route markers:

County roads are marked with (unnumbered) pentagons reading “Begin Pennington County Road”

Street grid:

Number grid system in the flat parts of the eastern county. Was driving, so no further details.

Deadwood, SD

Had brown street name signs for walkways within Mt. Moriah Cemetery. Standard green in the rest of town.

Custer County, SD

Blade signage:

White on green, standard pentagons on blade signage for county, also logos for USFS or city maintained roads.

Route markers:

Small vertical markers, white on green, “CUSTER CO ### CS”, also some National Forest markers.

Street grid:

No system to speak of, too mountainous to have an obvious grid system, except in the towns.

Crook County, WY

Blade signage:

standard with road names only

Route markers:

Standard pentagons.

Street grid:

None observed, no numbered names. US/State Highways had no other names.

Rest of South Dakota in grid areas

Street grid:

Streets EW, Avenues NS, numbers increasing eastward and southward.

Kansas overview

Blade signage:

Most areas small, white on green. Small variations between counties. Route markers: No county shields noted along US 36 corridor where I traveled.

Street grid:

Varied by county. NOTE: roads near/on county lines are named by both counties in their respective grid systems.

Brown County, KS (Hiawatha)

Street grid:

  • EW Numbered Streets from 100th in the south to 340th in the north, increasing 10 per mile. Intermediate streets ending in 5 as well.
  • NS Roads, alphabetized proper names with one or two grid streets beginning with each letter, increasing eastward. Intermediate roads share the first letter as the full grid roads. (example Goldfinch, Hazelnut, Horned Owl, Jackrabbit, Kestrel.)

Jewell County, KS (Mankato)

Street grid:

  • NS Roads Numbered, 10 Road to 310 Road increasing 10 per mile eastward.
  • EW Alphabetized Roads southward
    US 36 was P Road.

Marshall County, KS (Marysville)

Street grid:

  • NS Roads Numbered, increasing 1 per mile eastward.
  • EW Alphabetized Roads southward
    US 36 was Pony Express Highway along this route, but would in the grid would be a name beginning with K.

Nemaha County, KS (Seneca)

Street grid:

NS Roads lettered, EW Streets lettered. Increasing south and east. Letter and number for intermediate road. Observed an M4 Road halfway between M and N. along US 36.

Republic County, KS (Belleville)

Street grid:

  • NS Numbered Roads, 10 Road to 310 Road increasing eastward. TIGER may have these as “County Road 1“ through “County Road 31“
  • EW Lettered Roads A Road to Z Road, increasing southward. TIGER may have these as “County Road A“ through “County Road Y“

Smith County, KS (Smith Center)

Street grid:

  • NS Lettered Roads, increasing eastward, A-Z,AA-EE.
  • EW Numbered Roads southward, 10 per mile..
    The geographic center of the contiguous USA is at the intersection of 130 Road (K-191) and AA Road.

Washington County, KS (Washington)

Street grid:

  • NS Alphabetzed Roads, increasing eastward, including AA-CC after Z.
  • EW Numbered Roads increasing northward
    US 36 was named 19th Road along much of the trip before turning SW diagonal, then taking up 17th Road.


Street grid: System varies by county, mostly saw numbered.

Minnesota along I-90

Route markers:

White squares along I-90 until reaching the eastern half of the state, then pentagons.

Street grid:

Avenues NS, Streets EW, increasing 10 per mile northward and eastward. Statewide?


Blade signage:

In the town of Castalia, there were still old blades with the Tiger name (Merrill St), and a new set of number-based grid (128th Street)

Route markers:

Standard pentagons. CR Numbering system is Axx-Jxx for EW routes, and Kxx-Zxx for NS. In the northeast corner, EW were A-B prefix and W-X for NS. The central part of the state reaches further east, and this is where the Zxxs are located.

Street grid:

Streets EW, Avenues NS, incrementing upward 10 per mile westward and northward.

Ohio Turnpike overpasses

Route markers:

None seen until Portage and Warren Counties. White square marker Street grid: Signs on overpasses had both standard name and grid-based number, e.g., “Brown St CR 500 N”

Tags I wished had more official subcategories

Posted by mdroads on 16 May 2011 in English (English)

landuse=residential classifications: There are several different that could fall under this... single-family, townhomes, apartments, high-rise apts/condos, mobile homes, etc.

A clearer definition of the difference between landuse=commercial, =retail and =industrial. Lots of offices are considered in zoning as 'light industrial' and called 'industrial parks', as opposed to 'heavy industrial', traditional industry with smokestacks and factories.

Fraternal lodges/meeting halls: Still lots of these around, though many of them are quite old, not just the buildings, but the average age of the members.

Towson, MD overview and the lack of planning

Posted by mdroads on 4 May 2011 in English (English)

Noticed (after working in the area over 8 years) just how anarchic the planning is in Towson, MD. It's the unincorporated county seat of Baltimore County, and has old original houses next to multi-story office buildings. Most of the original housing survives west of Bosley Avenue, and many original structures are to be found as businesses/bars/stores on York Road. Out east of town on Joppa Road, the houses are zoned commercial for miles out. East Joppa is a major route out on the east, but West Joppa, though more important a few blocks west, sneaks through that first western block as a back alley service road for businesses on Allegany Avenue.

The town's WWI monument was dwarfed by what's now the Towson Circle retail complex, to the immediate southeast of the traffic circle. Towson Commons to the south has become a retail white elephant, to the extent their full potential was never reached. Towson Circle features a Barnes & Noble and a few other stores, and Towson Commons is mostly offices and a multi-screen cinema after the Borders bookstore left. Only one or two stores survive along ground level on Pennsylvania Avenue (AKA Sushi Alley).

All said, the landuse=tag makes an interesting hodgepodge in these places. Several of the adjacent tall buildings are landuse=commercial next to =residential. Lots of parking to be accounted for, all of it guarded jealously. I'd like to find elevation data for the taller buildings, to make 3D analysis possible.

Location: East Towson, Hampton, Baltimore County, Maryland, 21286, United States of America

Pittsburgh TIGER cleanup

Posted by mdroads on 22 April 2011 in English (English)

Like the other counties mentioned earlier, Alleghany County, PA (containing Pittsburgh) is another poor TIGER specimen. To complicate things is the hilly environment which narrows streets and also streets in TIGER which are actually pedestrian walkways or, more often, staircases.

I began my Pittsburgh TIGER cleanup on the south slope near Mount Washington, and now on the north slope (Spring Hill, East Allegheny, Millvale). In the interval were edits on the Hill District from the Civic Arena east to Herron Hill, and the Allegheny waterfront between 16th and 40th Streets.

Location: Spring Hill, Spring Hill-City View, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 15223, United States of America

Dirty TIGER in PA, MD

Posted by mdroads on 13 April 2011 in English (English)

The TIGER data in York County, PA was horrific. York City and Lebanon were completed some time ago. Just completed Red Lion, Dallastown and Yoe (that's a real place). Back in Maryland, bad early TIGER data is found in Anne Arundel, Garrett and Queen Anne's Counties.

Location: West Broadway, Red Lion, York County, Pennsylvania, 17356, United States of America