15 November 2007

[info_design] Road Blades Not For the Ridiculous or Wimpy

1117. It's sure a tough world out there; if you're a wimp (who happens to live outside Redmond, Oregon), they'll put a sign on your road so bullies can find you:

NW Wimp Way, greater Redmond, OR – photo courtesy Crallspace
Used with permission

And, as this street blade sighted near Veneta, Oregon (in rural Lane County about 15-20 miles west of Eugene) will attest, it's not so hard to find the route to the absurd – you just have to find the right sign:

Ridiculous Rd, Veneta, OR – Photograph by Crallspace
Used with permission

Links in the text above take you to a Google Maps display of the road concerned. We note that Ridiculous Rd comes off Suttle Road, which is ironic, because ridiculousness is rarely "suttle" (subtle).

Tehnically speaking, the two signs present location information in a certain way. The bare minimum is represented by the NW Wimp Way sign. It's in a location along US 97 north of Redmond called Terrebonne, an unincorporated community which is the closest thing Redmond has to a suburb. A sign with this information (which doesn't look municipal or county but looks like a standard sign put up by the State authority) is very useful if you know the local area and clearly readable if you don't but aside from the hint of an urban-style address grid centered on nearby Redmond, it doesn't tie you psychologically to the local human geography. The initial W is important, because street names increase alphabetically from the Redmond center, but that wouldn't be obvious to the visitor.

The Ridiculous Rd sign shows another form of geoencoding. The small number, tucked underneath the street type in the lower right hand corner, is actually a county road number. This is useful to county maintenance entities, probably somewhat useful to EMS, but not terribly useful to the traveler except to perhaps connote the fact that this is an official road and not a private drive, which would at least prevent embarrassing turnaround behavior.

Though both signs have little more than basic info, they are designed well in that they are clearly and unmistakably readable, though if someone who's looking for Ridiculous Road still can't figure out to turn down that road after seeing the sign, we don't know what sort of extra help they might need. Time to seek professional assistance, or maybe a spirit guide – and considering that the Oregon Country Fair occurs every year near Veneta, there should be something appropriate available nearby.

OH WOW UPDATE: Stan of Dinglemunch finds a ... disturbing detail in the Google imagery for the NW Wimp Way area. Wow.

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stan said...

If I ever get to name a street someday, I'm gonna call it Road Lane Place Avenue Boulevard Street.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

That's a good one, Stan. I LOL'd on that, seriously.

You are no doubt aware of NW East Rd and NW South Road back here in Washington County?

And Idaho Falls, ID has a main street called simply Boulevard (to be complete, North Boulevard and South Boulevard, depending on which side of the division line you're on).

It's not Boulevard Avenue, which some maps have it. Just Boulevard.

Anonymous said...

Glad you liked the photos!!

Anonymous said...

Oops... my friend is signed in here---it's Crallspace.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

They are bodacious, that is true, Mr. Crall ... if that is your name! B-)

Seriously, I'm looking for both street blades both normal and strange. I'm compiling a gallery and want all the examples I can get. Spread the word!

And you do take good pictures. I like your eye.