Monday, June 13, 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Crazy South Bay Freeway Sign in Milpitas, California Makeover 2

I concluded the first post on this sign with the following:

Of course, with this one the state engineers may have to order the sign bridge replaced with a new, stouter one. In which case, one can have a fifteen-foot high sign with the arrows down at the bottom and away from the town names, and include the hours and days of the week when carpool are required.

And so I created one.

The arrows are rightly positioned in their lanes. The overhead directional signs above the arrowboard correctly identify which lanes will go where (right lane arrow, McCarthy Blvd or East 237 Calaveras Blvd Milpitas only, centre-right arrow either 237 or 680, centre-left arrow 680, left arrow 680 Express lane). While not perfect, the sign is legible enough to guide the motorists where they need to go. 

And I got the hours on the microscopic HOV 2+ carpools only sign right, too!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Crazy South Bay Freeway Sign in Milpitas, California Makeover

Here is the original captured by Google Street View:

237 South Bay Freeway looking East at McCarthy Blvd overhead sign bridge.
Pretty crazy sign, eh? A lot of info to process and the arrows (six of them of the Sword of Damocles type) appear to indicate the road is supposed to be seven lanes wide!!! It's obviously not the case.

Another misleading aspect of this sign is that the access lane to the 880 Express Lane is indicated to be in the left-hand breakdown lane. That's not the case either.

Plus, there's a tiny sign announcing that the Express Lane is only for 2-occupant -or-more carpools, except toll tag holders can use the lane regardless of how few people the vehicle carries. It's very easy to miss.

What is needed is a sign of the same size with only as many arrows as there are lanes (four, with a fith up ahead peeling off to McCarthy Blvd). It has to be the same size because of earthquakes -- a bigger sign may cause the sign bridge to tip over onto the traffic, or the truss-beam to detach from the pillars and fall onto the roadway, cars and all.

So here's an idea to clean up the sign:

Now we have almost* ALL the information on one sign, 60 feet wide by ten feet tall, same as the existing sign, with everything legible and in their proper place and only FOUR arrows pointing up, one for each travel lane. The right-hand arrow at the inside lane splits to indicate the upcoming exit and the "ONLY" next to it indicates either 237 Calaveras Blvd or McCarthy Blvd only.

* Except carpool required hours and days of the week.

Add exit tabs similar to the type found in Spain and the made-over sign will appear like this:

Of course, with this one the state engineers may have to order the sign bridge replaced with a new, stouter one. In which case, one can have a fifteen-foot high sign with the arrows down at the bottom and away from the town names, and include the hours and days of the week when carpool are required.

An Idea for an Advanced Notice Exit Sign 2

I told you all that I'd do something about those Sword of Damocles arrows. You know, the kind pointing down just so that they look like they could fall off any minute and land on your car, causing vehicle damage and even personal injury or death (if it pierces the roof or if the convertible top is down).

So I have a sign spanning the full width of the southbound tollway at this place:


And this is how I would have it for the present Florida's Turnpike Extension number (SR 821) with my suggested design for a tollway in Florida:

The purple denotes the main road's present TAGS ONLY /  TOLL-BY-PLATE status. I'm going by Route Number and not the goofy fact that it's the Florida Turnpike Extension from original mile marker 4 of the Turnpike itself and not the original endpoint like Massachusetts did for the Mass. Pike.

Note the arrows underneath and divided by a line from the main board like in Australia.

Now here what it would like if it were an interstate:

I picked I-991 for two reasons: first, the existing Turnpike mainline is SR 91 which would become I-91 South in my scheme; second, if you look at a map you'll find most of the state highways in Miami-Dade County are in the 900s series.

Feel free to comment!

Friday, June 3, 2016

An Idea for an Advanced Notice Exit Sign

This is for the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike at the Richmond Heights exit going south. Here's the existing:

So I would like to suggest something up like this:

First, I changed the standard USA exit tab with a pictographic one like the kind they have in Spain. I put the street names met by the exit at the upper right-hand side like they do in Australia. The Route Marker is similar to those from some of my suggested route markers for Florida. And I added the name of the nearest established neighborhood and the name of the nearby public facility / tourist attraction.

All it's missing are those Sword of Damocles arrows. More on that later.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Golden Glades Interchange Makeover 3

Okay, today I'll show you what the State of Florida is planning to do to make over this bad interchange that's utterly constipated with over 400,000 cars (actually all manner of motor vehicles) a day. Again, I'll first show you what the existing bad intersection looks like:

It's a mess, innit? If you can't figure out how it works from the air or a map, it'll be more difficult to make sense of it while on the ground! There are anecdotes of people getting hopelessly lost in this motorway junction of two freeways, a tollway and six/seven other roads. One of these days there'll be legends of the lost Floridian, wandering through the intersection, getting lost, finding his way out on the wrong road, turniong around and going back in ad infinitum.

Well anyway back in 2014 the State Transportation Department did a study and came up with some solutions. Basically they figured a way to get State Route 826 Palmetto Exway EB to I-95 NB, improve the flow of the Turnpike SB to the Golden Glades park 'n' ride and onto I-95 into Miami, and a lot of minor improvements (some "improvements" I wouldn't call them that) for the near term. This is their "Interim" plan for the interchange. Then theyre going to bring in new High Occupancy/Toll Lanes from the Palmetto Expwy to the I-95 Express Lanes to and from Broward County. and an on-ramp from the Turnpike SB into I-95 Express Lane into Miami. This is their "Ultimate" intent for the motorway junction.

So here without further ado is the State's design for the "Interim" plan, or what I call Stage One:

Revised the layout to more accurately reflect the State of Florida's Interim concept plan.
Also so that the State's Ultimate concept plan will fit with even the slightest bit of accuracy! 
And here I show a simplified bird's eye view: The major widenings, the new roads and viaduct, and one of the reworked traffic lights are highlighted in Spanish Orange. The rest are just shown as-is for your ease of viewing.

Bird's-eye view of the Golden Glades interchange with major "Interim" changes planned by the State shown.

Showing ALL the roads that are going to be rebuilt by 2020 is just going to be too damn much!  And would fill this bird's-eye photo with clutter.

Note the major do-overs:

1.  New connector ramp from State Route 826 EB to I-95 NB (on viaduct).
2.  Expansion of the Turnpike Connector SB (which really should be the mainline due to the amount of traffic it carries) to I-95 into Miami. This is going to be at its widest five travel lanes and two breakdown lanes.
3.  Widening and increasing the turning radius of the ramp from S.R. 826 EB to I-95 NB.
4.  Reworking the traffic lighted intersection of NW 7th Ave Ext and the Turnpike on-ramp so there are two left-turn "doghouse" lanes from S.R. 826 EB to the Turnpike NB.

Next I'll show you the State's "Ultimate" plan and tell you what's missing (a few vital freeway-to-freeway/tollway connections and vice-versa without traffic lights) and see how I can fit my ideas for this rat's nest with their plans.

31 May 2016 UPDATE: Revised my "stage one" or the State's "Interim" layout image, second one from the top, for accuracy purposes and to fit their "Ultimate" layout in. 

2 JUNE 2016 UPDATE: Revised marking for the I-95 Express lanes to a smaller marker in a more obvious location.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Golden Glades Interchange Makeover 2

Updated 22 May 2016

Well I have an idea... make a Northside Connector direct from the Palmetto Expressway to I-95 North and call it I-495. Also make improvements to the end of the Turnpike and make it FL I-91. Basically it involves the construction of a new limited-access highway with three-quarters of a stack interchange at the intersection of the Palmetto and the Turnpike.

Bird's eye view. Looking Northeast. Turnpike runs from center-left to lower right, Palmetto is at lower left. I-95 runs up the right side, bottom to top. The Northside Connector with ramps in red runs from the Palmetto at lower left to I-95 at the top. Surface roads called NW 167 St 7th Ave Ext and US 441 North in yellow.

Plane eye's view. Turnpike & Turnpike Connector (FL I-91 TPK) and Palmetto/Northside Connector (I-495) both in blue. I-95 Express Toll Lanes viaduct in purple. Ramps in Red. Surface roads in yellow.

Here you can clearly see that the (new) FL I-91 TPK mainline here follows the bulk of the traffic to and from I-95 out of Miami. The I-495 Northside Connector follows the existing NW 167 St 7th Ave Extension on a viaduct beginning just east of the existing Turnpike - NW 167 St North Miami Beach connector. The existing surface road below is reconfigured as shown in yellow. The ramps are shown in red.
The are four high-level ramps; they carry traffic:
(1) From (I-95) FL I-91 TPK NB to I-495 Palmetto X-way WB
(2) From I-495 Palmetto Xway EB to FL I-91 TPK NB
(3) From FL I-91 TPK SB to I-495 Northside Connector EB (I-95 NB), and
(4) From (I-95 SB) I-495 Northside Connector WB to I-91 TPK NB.
There are also two high-capacity ground-level ramps:
(1) FL I-91 TPK SB to I-495 Palmetto X-way WB
(2) I-495 Palmetto X-way EB to FL I-91 TPK (I-95) SB
Plus there is a two-branched ramp to the Golden Glades Park-and-Ride from the FL I-91 TPK SB and the I-495 Palmetto X-way EB.

The existing interchange of the existing Rte. 826 overpass connecting the Turnpike to NW 167 ST Miami Beach is tweaked:

(1) There is an I-495 eastbound surface road turnoff for NW 167 St 7th Ave Ext and NW 7th Ave North, because you know how traffic backs up at a light.
(2) The existing ramp to NW 167 St Miami Beach is rebuilt so the surface road turnoff can pass underneath.
(3) The existing off-ramp from the Rte. 826 overpass is tweaked to accommodate a merge from the reconfigured NW 167 St 7th Ave Ext.
(4) The existing on-ramp from NW 167 St 7th Ave Ext to the FL I-91 TPK NB is tweaked to accommodate the new high-level ramp no. (4) above.
(5) The existing Rte. 826 overpass feed-in to the turnpike is tweaked to accommodate the new FL I-91 TPK mainline and high-level ramp no. (2) above.
(6) The existing ramp from the FL I-91 TPK SB to Rte. 826 EB is extended or relocated as necessary.
(1) The existing ramp from Rte. 9 / US 441 NB to FL I-91 TPK NB is tweaked and extended to provide access to the I-495 Palmetto X-way WB via the new high level ramp (1) thereto.
(2) The existing US 441 ramps from the Golden Glades Interchange mess at I-95 to NW 2nd Ave are rebuilt / regraded as necessary to accommodate the new round-a-bout.
(3) New slip ramps are included to connect the reconfigured NW 167 ST Ext and NW 7th Ave to the I-495 Northside Connector to and from I-95 (westbound off-ramp west of the round-about, eastbound on-ramp from and east of the round-a-bout).
(4) The existing quarter-cloverleaf from FL I-91 TPK NB to I-495 Palmetto X-way and the existing ramp from I-95 SB to the Rte. 826 overpass WB are done away with.
But the rest of the Golden Glades Interchange that sits on the south side of the railroad tracks, I have no idea how to disentangle it; it's such a mess of spaghetti!

22 May 2016 Update: A tweak on the ramps from the I-91 TPK SB to I-95 SB, I-495 SB, I-495 (95) NB, Rte. 826 EB, etc., would be to have the ramp to I-95 SB/Rte 495 WB/Golden Glades Park-and-Ride split off of the ramp to I-495 EB/Northside Connector instead from the ramp to Rte. 826 EB/North Miami Beach.

Of course, the state has its own ideas, with a design based on what they predict the Average Daily Traffic (ADT) will be in 2040.  Now thanks to climate change and the sea-level rise at Miami and its effects on the porous limerock-encased Biscayne Aquifer, the ADT at this interchange might be... exactly... zero!

So I don't expect my makeover to be built, either.