Monday, May 21, 2007

More From the Road

Stop signals embedded in the pavement

While in Houston last week, I came across a couple of examples of something I had never seen before. That is signal lights embedded in the pavement. The example in the photo above is under a skywalk near The Galleria, where red lights are embedded and facing the oncoming traffic. When the signal light is red, the ones in the pavement also light up. When the light changes to green, the pavement lights go out.

Even more striking were embedded lights in the Theater District downtown. Flashing amber-colored lights in the road surface marked the crosswalks, and made one very aware of pedestrians crossing, especially at night. Unfortunately, I didn't get a shot of one of those. Maybe next time.

The next photo shows a sample of the types of Big Green Signs being used in new freeway construction around Houston. Not only are these notable for the attractive gantry support and their use of the new Clearview font; they also do away with the directional exit number tabs. Instead, the exit numbers are contained within part of the BGS separated by a line. Instead of a left-aligned tab for exits to the left, and right aligned for exits to the right; direction for the exit is indicated only by the orientation of the text itself.

Interstate Highway 10 (Katy Freeway) westbound approaching Katy, Texas

For comparison, here is an example of the old style taken in the Denver area. Notice the left tab for left Exit 217B and the right tab for right Exit 217A. Also notice the sloppy sign hanging job, as the 217A sign is not installed parallel with the sign to its left.

Example of old-style exit tabs

Also, I noticed on the Katy Freeway photo there are no lighting booms. I am not sure how these signs are illuminated, but I don't believe they are backlit.

The next photo was taken through a dirty windshield, but you can get the idea. This is also the older, tabbed BGS style, but this one is significant as it marks the southern terminus of Interstate 45. This is in Galveston, where Broadway becomes a freeway headed north toward Houston and Dallas. A couple of interesting items here. One, the wrong, wider shield is used for the Interstate 45 indicator; and there is not a sign indicating the beginning or ending of I-45 on either side of the highway. The causeway connecting Galveston Island to the mainland is just a few miles down the road from here.

Beginning of I-45 Northbound. Mile 1 exits a mile or so ahead!

Keep checking in. Lots more to come.


Ryan said...

The trip picts are great! One thing about the embedded lights. Colorado Springs used to have these at the intersection of I-25 and Garden of the Gods. It's a SPUI interchange and the first in the city. The lights were green and lit up in succession for the turn lanes. It was really neat to see. Unfortunately, planners never thought about the sand we use in the winter. The sand packed into the lights and they never really worked after the first winter. The lights were removed about a year ago in a resurfacing project.

Randy said...

Interesting. I guess since Houston doesn't have to spread sand due to lack of snow, they work out better down there, much like the Botts Dots. The amber ones flashing on the crosswalks were really impressive after dark.