Monday, October 06, 2008

Signs of confusion

Or, Why we need more Communications majors at the TDOT.

How would you interpret this sign?

Choose one:
a) "If you want to get to I-40 East, you're on the right road--keep going."
b) "If you want to get to I-40 East, turn right here."
c) "If you want to get to I-40 East, turn left here."
d) "A toast to our favorite interstate! Hip-hip-hoorah!"

I'm not sure either. Google Maps helps clarify the situation...if you don't have that in your car, well, good luck.

This road is coming from an industrial part of Nashville. Not a place people come to see the sights. So let's go through the options quickly:

If you choose option "a" you can get to I-40, but not anytime soon and you'll still have to turn to get there...and I haven't seen any more signs to direct you on that route.

If you choose option "b" you'll find out pretty quickly that's not the way (unless you like to take the long way and have pontoons on your vehicle to get across the river).

If you choose option "c"...well, you'll go under I-40 (I don't think that's what they mean)...then you'll come to a major secondary street (Lafayette), again, with no further indication to turn or which direction the interstate might be. Either way you turn you'll come to your needed entrance eventually but in the meantime your stress level may be too high to allow safe travel, given the neighborhood you'll have wandered through on the way, unsure whether you're going the right direction and hoping you don't hit anyone as they cross the street at random locations which sometimes include crosswalks.

I'm doubting option "d" is the correct one, but you never know; these highway guys really like their work. Why else would they take so long to do it?

This from the same folks who put up important information about routes you can't identify right away because they use abbreviations known only to highway workers and maybe truckers; "S.R. 153 closed; detour west." Huh? "S.R."? "Slippery Road"? "Super Ride"? And which way is west again?

AND one of my favorite examples of anti-intuitive TDOT magic is that when you come south on Briley Parkway (after leaving the Opry or the mall), you have to veer LEFT to continue STRAIGHT on Briley, veer RIGHT then LEFT to go RIGHT (west to Nashville) or veer RIGHT then RIGHT again to go LEFT (east to Knoxville or the airport). I suspect this interchange was taken from the Rube Goldberg school of highway design. It works...just have faith.

I kid the TDOT--I do appreciate smooth roads and the often-dangerous work it takes to achieve them. I'm just sayin'...when you make your signs, keep in mind those of us who don't have psychic abilities, GPS, special powers of interpretation or a degree in civil engineering...and give us a CLUE!

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