The move is official

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

All new Roadguy posts will be here:

I’m also reachable by the handy old

Roadguy’s blog is getting a new look, new address

Friday, July 31st, 2009

After three years in WordPress, the Roadguy blog is being moved into’s main publishing system. The transition is underway sometime today (so thank you for your patience). Alert readers who follow the blog via RSS will probably need to update to the latest URL:

The tech gurus are also working to make sure that the redirect gets you to the right place.

Perhaps the biggest change for regular alert readers will be that you’ll need to be a registered user of to make comments on the blog. Under the old system, each blog had its own commenting setup; now, once you’re logged into, you can make comments anywhere under a single name.

Not sure exactly when this will all be complete, but our regularly scheduled transportation conversations will resume ASAP. (And the WordPress archive, with nearly 900 posts, will still be around, so you can revisit the old ones.)

The dusty gravel roads of … Minneapolis

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009


The sealcoating crews have been out in force in south Minneapolis, and yesterday, it was Hennepin Avenue’s turn to get a layer of black goo topped with gravel. As if that particular road weren’t already exciting enough, it now has clouds of dust, no lane markers, and flying pebbles. Avoidance may be the best strategy, and if I were on a bike (or living in a nearby apartment), I’d be wearing one of those masks more commonly seen on scooter-riders in Taipei. If your day does necessitate some gravel travel, you might as well hold off on the car wash until afterward.


(Photos taken today @ 9:30 a.m.)

Roadguy’s next career: Highway sign proofreader?

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

My colleague Shari sent along the following mind-boggling link from our neighbor to the east:

Highway Sign Has Every Word Misspelled But “Exit”

Roadguy may henceforth deny that he’s a product of Wisconsin’s educational system….

Getting the (no turn on) red out, plus no trucks*

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Here’s my weekly column from the paper:


Alert reader Joan called up Roadguy with a blunt opinion to share:

There are certain areas in the city of Minneapolis that still have “no turn on red signs” that make absolutely no sense.

She wanted to know how to get her least favorite sign, at an intersection near the Interstate 35W construction zone, taken down. Matt Laible, city spokesman, said she should dial 311 or 612-673-3000 (outside of Minneapolis) to request that a “no turn on red” sign be removed — or added.

Added? Would someone ever clamor for such a thing?

Laible said that while 77 “no turn on red” signs have been removed since 2005, there are indeed reasons for installing new ones. On Nicollet Avenue at 59th Street, for example, one was added because of the presence of school patrols, while at Park Avenue and 28th Street, a sign was installed because of a high population of elderly residents trying to cross the street — something that’s easier to do if drivers aren’t cutting across while you’ve got the “walk” signal.

The trend, though, is toward fewer signs, meaning a bit of time and gas saved for drivers.



When Roadguy took the above photo the week before last, the word that came to his mind was “brazen.” Not only was the truck ignoring the “no trucks” sign, it also was driving on a section of West River Parkway that’s made up of wood planks.

I phoned our friends at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, which sets the rules for the parkways, and learned that the truck might not have been breaking the rules.

Annie Olson, who’s in charge of such things for the board, said that there’s an apartment building that can only be reached via that stretch of parkway, so moving vans or trucks making deliveries are allowed to drive on it for that short distance without any permits or fees.

Other trucks wishing to use a parkway need to get a $50 permit; trucks heavier than 13 tons aren’t allowed at all. The plank road doesn’t have any special limits.

The truck driver in the picture couldn’t get a permit to cover another sin, however: drifting across the center line.

You’ll really get lost on the way to this terminal

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

It’s official: Highway signs around MSP will be changed to say Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 (story here). One of the things I was told during the debate was that the federal government has rules about how many words or characters can be on an official sign on a freeway. With that in mind, check out this sign I saw yesterday in Illinois, where there are apparently no limits on words, pseudo-italic fonts or parentheses:


My favorite sign, however, was the one below. If travelers find it confusing to have two terminals three miles apart (as MSP does), their heads must really spin when they drive past an airport that has “Chicago” in its name but is 80 miles from Chicago:


The major airlines stopped serving Rockford years ago — I recall that one offered connecting service from O’Hare by bus. So I feel bad that the place needs to drum up business. But putting “Chicago” in the name doesn’t change the fact that Rockford is closer to Madison than it is to the Windy City — or the fact that the airport code is RFD.