29 November 2007

[sign_design, info_design] County Highways in Oregon

1162. One thing not seen often in Oregon are signed county routes. I think this is unfortunate, because having county route numbers are a really nifty way of instilling terrior, a sense of place, and saying "follow Country Route 3" dispenses with all sorts of "go left here ... or was that right ...no, wait, start over" monologue that even I (and you can't get me lost very easily anyhwere in the Valley north of Corvallis) tend to get into (the brain is a funny thing).

There is one county in Oregon that implements a badged county road network, and that county is Douglas. It's a little hard to find maps with the route numbers on online–I do have a map of them, but that's off the official Douglas County map of 1990, an illustration of which is at left (click the map to embiggen).

The county road shield is a standard one: gold FHWA-style type on blue field, an irregular pentagon taller than wide, with mitred corners on the bottom two points and rounded corners on the top three. I've created what Douglas County Route 1's shield probably looks like.

I think one Good Thing to Do™ would be to institute a county route badging system in Oregon's counties, at least the Willamette Valley's. People who still complain about finding their way around Portland (even though it's largely simply laid out) would do with a City Route system (such badging regimes already exist in Winnipeg and Charlotte NC (though Charlotte only has the one badged route, Charlotte Route 4, but they personalize it with a city logo, which makes it kind of cool). This may become important in the near term as we seem to have this mania for renaming roads ...

We'll come up with our own design for those presently. Marion County, with trunk roads converging on the capital city, has particularly interesting numbering possiblities.

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