[Talk-us] Fwd: Trunk versus motorway

OSM Volunteer stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Fri Nov 30 02:27:41 UTC 2018

Eric Ladner <eric.ladner at gmail.com> wrote
> That may be more of a note to motorists that "hey.. this freeway is coming to an end" rather than an absolute marker of "this freeway ends here at this sign".  San Diego's own GIS system has it marked as I-8 all the way up to where it splits into motorway links at Nimitz/Sunset Cliffs.

Having grown up there and surfed Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach many times, yes.

> Arguing about where the motorway ends and a trunk/something else begins before an at-grade intersection is just splitting hairs.   IMO, it's a motorway all the way up to the intersection.  If you were standing with your back to the intersection looking down the motorway, there'd be nothing visible that would convince you it's not a motorway.

According to Caltrans, the term "freeway" refers to a route that is restricted in access and does not have cross traffic.

"End Freeway" simply means that a route that has been restricted in access and free of cross traffic for the last number of miles has come to an end, said Caltrans spokeswoman Reid.

Although the route will often continue "well-maintained" and "free" for a while more, drivers should look for cross traffic and traffic lights just ahead, she said.

This is from the Los Angeles Times' "Traffic Talk" column, August 30, 1996.  And yes, I know for a fact (from having driven millions of miles of California Highway and recently passing my written license test again) that a "white sign with black text is a regulatory sign," meaning "by law, beginning where this sign is placed, forward."

In Santa Cruz, there is about 50 meters of highway=trunk between Highway 17 (freeway, motorway) and where 17 ends at signalized Ocean Street (highway=primary).  At first I was nonplussed about this being so tagged in OSM, but as I remembered where the regulatory (therefore, by law) "End Freeway" sign is (confirming it today), it actually is tagged correctly.

So, Eric is correct on both counts:  it is "hey, this freeway is coming to an end" AND it is "this freeway ends here at this sign."


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