[Talk-us] Trunk

Paul Johnson baloo at ursamundi.org
Sun Oct 15 05:19:20 UTC 2017

On Sat, Oct 14, 2017 at 11:57 PM, Evin Fairchild <evindfair at gmail.com>

> You clearly haven't driven on US 97. It's a fairly busy road with a good
> amount of truck traffic and lots of little towns along it. That was my
> experience when I drove it. It goes thru central Oregon, which is arid, but
> not totally desolate. There was PLENTY of cars going in the other
> direction. We drove it between OR 138 and OR 58, and drove back to Eugene
> via OR 58, another road that had LOTS of truck traffic, and IMO is fairly
> analogous in terms of traffic to US 2 over Stevens Pass.

I'm intimately familiar with US 97 between The Dalles and Klamath Falls,
and I've been on US 97 between Wenatchee, WA and the Canadian border.  At
least out of the parts I'm familiar with, the only part that is trunk is
the Bend Parkway.  The rest is solidly primary, though I would consider it
far lower if it weren't a US highway.  Two-lane single carriageways without
access controls aren't trunks.  Most of America doesn't have trunks.  Most
long distance highways in the US are primary.  Oregon doesn't have many
motorways, and being a largely empty state with nobody in it, there's just
not a need for trunks in the first place.  Annoying as it might be to
drive, it's just not a place that has a need for roads to speak of, much
less expressways or freeways.

It's not a bad thing to lack trunks.  It's just a statement of fact.  At
nearly 10 million square kilometers but not even 300 million people, the US
is third in the world by both population and area now, and ALL countries
larger than us by population have far higher population density.  Heck, if
it weren't for Eisenhower literally demanding freeways, that's something
that would literally be a "literally Oklahoma, California and New York"
thing.  And Oklahoma mostly because it's always had an inferiority complex
California and built a disproportionately high (relative to population)
number of kilometers of expressway and motorway compared to the rest of the
US, and very possibly the world.

The US is pretty well known for overbuilding highways.  Are we trying to
document how things are on the ground or how things are actually
connected?  If we're going for the former, then yeah, only Bend Parkway and
a brief streak through Klamath Falls is a trunk part of US 97.  If we're
going for the latter, then go ahead with NE2's idea and smash almost
everything into trunk.
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