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No Need to Shake Your Smartphone

Pictures seem to be social media’s “bread and butter” these days.  No more just telling people about what you are seeing or what your are experiencing, but now you can snap a picture with your smartphone and show your followers.  One service has been built strictly to do just that, and even caught the attention of one of the “big boys” of social networking when Facebook purchased Instagram.

On Instagram, users can not only share pictures but also small short video clips.  With the application of various filters, the images can even look like old Polaroid instant pictures.  A service such as this seems like a perfect fit for Pennsylvania Highways, where sharing pictures of roads, signs, traffic signals, etc. has been a part of our site for years.  So if you like checking out interesting pictures of highway infrastructure, head on over to our page, but don’t shake your monitor like a Polaroid picture.

https://www.instagram.com/pahighways

 
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2013 Official Road Map

I stopped into my local driver’s license center to see if they had the new road maps. Sure enough, they did not disappoint and in fact did have copies of the 2013 official road map.  No idea why they decided to print another in succession, even so, here are the changes since last year.

Bucks County/Montgomery County
US 202 parkway completed from PA 463 to PA 611

US 202 parkway in Montgomery and Bucks counties completed from PA 463 to PA 611 on the 2013 official road map

Chester County
Exit 320/PA 29 E-ZPass-only slip ramp completed on Interstate 76/Pennsylvania Turnpike

PA 29 E-ZPass-only slip ramp shown as open on the 2013 official road map

Fayette County/Washington County
PA Turnpike 43 completed from Exit 22 to Exit 30

PA Turnpike 43 completed between Exit 22 and Exit 30 on the 2013 official road map

The E-ZPass-only slip ramps on the Pennsylvania Turnpike are now white-on-purple circles. Previous editions up to this point used the standard white-on-red circles. Those are the same that denote interchanges on the Turnpike System. Purple is the color in the federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices now used to denote electronic toll facilities. These interchanges are strictly all-electronic. In other words, they do not have staffed toll booths like the other ones on the original Turnpike.

Those are all of the changes to the 2013 official road map. It has the same dimensions as the previous year’s. However, this year’s cover features a picture of the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Cover of the 2013 Department of Transportation map
 
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2012 Official Road Map

Today I stopped by my local DMV to get my driver’s license renewed. It was an uneventful process. That probably had to do with the fact that there had been an icing event that morning and no one was out traveling as they usually were after Christmas. As I waited for the new one to finish laminating, I happen to notice down at the other end of the counter stacks of state maps.  So, I picked up a copy of the 2012 official road map. I guess better late than never that I was able to secure a copy right under the wire.  No idea why the Department of Transportation and VisitPA decided to print another in succession since there is only one change.

Montgomery County
US 202 Parkway shown as completed from US 202 to PA 463

US 202 parkway in Montgomery County completed from PA 63 to PA 463 on the 2012 official road map

The parkway is a “consolation prize” for the lack of a full expressway. Planning for which took place in the 1960s and 1970s as the Piedmont Expressway. Rather than build an expressway, the new roadway is and will be an at-grade facility with separated trails for biking and walking along the route. This was the more favorable plan for the communities along the new US 202 alignment.

That is the only change to the 2012 official road map. It has the same dimensions as the previous year’s map. However, this year’s cover features a picture of a man kayaking on the north branch of the Susquehanna Water Trail.

Cover of the 2012 Department of Transportation map
 
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OUCH! Watch Where You Stick That Pin!

You might have heard of the website Pinterest, or at the very least, seen “Pin It” icons on sites you have visited.  It is another social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, but not about sharing statuses or links to Icanhascheezburger, but sharing pictures.  People use Pinterest to plan weddings, pick out a place to visit for their next vacation, and design a new living room by posting pictures they find to “boards” on their page.

Businesses are also joining in on the fun of sharing.  The Department of Tourism, VisitPA, has a page that shares pictures from around the state of points of interest and scenes of natures.  Today, Pennsylvania Highways has joined to share pictures relating to the highway system of the Commonwealth as well things relating to highway travel.  The best part is, there is nothing sharp involved.

https://www.pinterest.com/pahighways

 
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Taking Pennsylvania Highways on the Road…Literally

One of the things I like about working on this website is showing and explaining how the highway system of Pennsylvania has evolved over the years.  Now I am taking the show on the road…literally.

So on March 11, I am taking this website and crunching it down to an hour-long presentation entitled Pennsylvania’s Roadways:  From the Lincoln to Eisenhower.  It will be Sunday, March 11 beginning at 2 PM at the Lincoln Highway Experience, the headquarters for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, at 3435 Route 30 East (a.k.a. the Lincoln Highway) in Latrobe.  Refreshments will be provided.

Due to limited seating in the auditorium, advanced reservations are required which can be made through the LHHC’s website or by calling 724-879-4241.  Admission is $10/person for non-LHHC members and $7/person for Friends of the Lincoln Highway.

 
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2011 Official Road Map

Today I received an order from PennDOT which included a copy of the 2011 official road map.  It is not surprising PennDOT went to the trouble of printing one since we elected a new Governor last year and therefore have a new Secretary of Transportation.  These are the changes since the 2010 edition:

Fayette County
PA Turnpike 43 completed from West Virginia to Exit 2 and the US 119/PA 51 interchange to Exit 15

PA Turnpike 43 from the West Virginia state line to Exit 2 and the US 119/PA 51 interchange shown as completed on the 2011 official turnpike map

Indiana County
US 22 is now a four-lane, divided highway from just east of Blairsville to Armagh

US 22 in Indiana County now a four-lane divided highway on the 2011 official road map

Lycoming County
US 15 upgraded to an expressway from north of PA 14 to PA 184

US 15 completed as an expressway through Lycoming County on the 2011 official road map

Pittsburgh Inset
Consol Energy Center shown

Consol Energy Center completed on the 2011 official road map

Erie Inset
PA 299 removed from Powell Avenue

PA 299 decommissioned on the 2011 official road map

Philadelphia Inset
Street Road E-ZPass-only slip ramp completed

Street Road E-ZPass slip ramp completed on the 2011 official road map

Those are all of the changes to the 2011 official road map. For most of the URLs on the map, there is a likewise corresponding Microsoft Tag to scan with a smartphone. However, the link for VisitPA uses a regular QR Code.

No longer appearing on the map is the yellow shading of “Selected Built Up Areas.” Meanwhile, the dark shaded areas of urban concentrations remain.  State Game Lands have changed from a peach coloring to a tan one.  The State Park textured color used to indicated the extent of said park has been removed, but it remains in the city insets.

Above all, the US 22/US 322 shield error on the 2010 map on the Penn-Lincoln Parkway at PA 60 is now the correct US 22/US 30 shield.  There is now an inset for the Elk Scenic Drive in the upper left corner over Lake Erie. A yellow highlight instead of an orange one indicates its path on the main map.

It has the same dimensions as the previous year’s map. However, this year’s cover features a picture of Independence Hall.

Cover of the 2011 Department of Transportation map
 

 

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2011 Official Turnpike Map

Today the ribbon-cutting event for the latest section of Mon-Fayette Expressway occurred. Not only did I pick up several free bottles of water compliments of the Turnpike Commission, I picked up something I haven’t seen in years:  a new 2011 official Turnpike map.

The PTC’s “belt-tightening” in recent years led to them not printing a map. It is evident by looking at this one as it is much smaller than its 2004 ancestor. The reason for this change is summed up in a note below the legend:

To conserve natural and fiscal resources, our Travel Guide and Map is half the size of earlier editions. The new size also responds to a shift in how travelers — in an age of online maps and GPS devices — use printed maps today.

In addition, the map is not a PennDOT official. The Turnpike System is not highlighted in green with a white-on-green Keystone shield denoting the route number. That was the standard since the 1980s.  It appears with these two changes that the Turnpike map is returning to its ones from the 1960s and 1970s which were printed by Rand McNally and General Drafting.

The main map of Pennsylvania features images of postcards of the Turnpike at the top of the map. A mention of the 70 years of the Turnpike is in the corner, the milestone celebrated the year before.  One change I like is that the background of the border states are not pink or purple as they were on the 2004 map.

The back side of the map still includes information on E-ZPass and commercial trucking regulations.  There is toll information but just like the first run of tickets this year, there is no fare schedule. There are strip maps for the system. However, the insets of cities which the Turnpike passes through are no longer.  The following are changes since the 2004 edition:

Allegheny County/Washington County
PA Turnpike 576 completed between Interstate 376 and US 22

PA Turnpike 576 shown as completed on the 2011 official turnpike map

Beaver County/Lawrence County
Interstate 376 replaced PA Turnpike 60

Interstate 376 replaces PA Turnpike 60 on the 2011 official turnpike map

Fayette County
PA Turnpike 43 completed from Exit 15 to Exit 22

Fayette County/Washington County
PA Turnpike 43 under construction from US 40 to PA 88

PA Turnpike 43 completed from Exit 15 to Exit 22 and under construction from there to PA 88 on the 2011 official turnpike map

The Turnpike Commission has PDF versions of the strip maps for the Mainline, PA Turnpike 376, and PA Turnpike 66; PA Turnpike 43; and PA Turnpike 576 available at their website.

The cover of the 2011 official Turnpike map features three postcards of various sections from the original Turnpike with the logo of the 70th anniversary in the middle.

Cover of the 2011 Turnpike Travel Guide and Map
 
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Follow Us (But Remember the Two Second Rule) on Foursquare

Global Positioning Satellites, or GPS, has revolutionized the world.  Now with the help of GPS-enabled devices, being lost is quickly becoming obsolete.  Not only can people be found who were lost and possibly injured in the deepest wooded area, but drivers can find that hidden shortcut, and walkers and joggers can record their latest achievement.

One of the uses of GPS chips has been inclusion in cell phones over the past decade.  Aside from being able to locate you in the event of an emergency when calling 911, it can help navigate unfamiliar territory.  The advent of the smartphone has brought apps utilizing the GPS chip such as Google Maps and Foursquare.

“What is Foursquare?” you may ask.  It is a social networking platform like Twitter and Facebook, but unlike those websites, Foursquare gets you away from your computer and out exploring.  Users can “check in” to various locations from their cell phones, which earn them points and badges.  Check in more times at one place, and you will become “Mayor” of that location which might earn you a perk.

Foursquare is about where Twitter was two years ago.  It is on the cusp of being the “next big thing” in the world of Web 2.0.  Just as organizations jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, they are jumping, or I should say checking in, on the Foursquare bandwagon.  VisitPA (the Department of Tourism) has three badges, PA Retail Polka, PA 4 Score & 7, and PA Shooflyer, that users can earn by checking in at certain places around the Commonwealth.

Now Pennsylvania Highways has joined them, and Washington State Department of Transportation and Missouri Department of Transportation, with a Foursquare page.  It will be used to give tips on highway-related check in points such as the Squirrel Hill Tunnel or one of the Turnpike interchanges, but only read them on the website or let a passenger read them to you.  Perhaps a badge or two will be offered if Foursquare permits it in the future, but before you ask, there will not be a “Pothole Badge.”

https://foursquare.com/pahighways

 
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Announcements News

2010 Official Road Map

Today I stopped at the welcome center on Interstate 70 at the Maryland state line in Warfordsburg and picked up a copy of the 2010 official road map.  I am surprised PennDOT even bothered to print one this late in the year that isn’t a “B” version, especially since there will be a new governor come Tuesday.  These are the changes since the 2009 edition, all of which involve the extension of Interstate 376:

Allegheny County/Pittsburgh Inset
Interstate 376 extended west beyond I-279 to multiplex with US 22/US 30 and replace PA 60
Interstate Business Loop 376 replaced Business PA 60

Interstate 376 extended and Interstate Business Loop 376 signed on the 2009 official road map.

Beaver County/Lawrence County/New Castle Inset
Interstate 376 replaced PA 60 and PA Turnpike 60

Interstate 376 replaces PA 60 and PA Turnpike 60 on the 2009 official road map.

Mercer County
Interstate 376 replaced PA 60
PA 760 replaced PA 60 from I-80 to Sharon

Interstate 376 replaces PA 60 and PA 760 signed in Mercer County.

Those are all of the changes to the 2010 official road map. In addition, there are two mentions of the new 511 system:  one on the back cover under the list of welcome centers and another at the top next to the legend.

Rarely do I find an error on the official maps, but this year there is a blatant one near the junction of the Penn-Lincoln Parkway and PA 60 west of Pittsburgh.  A US 22/US 322 shield is located where there should be, and last year was, a US 22/US 30 shield.

It has the same dimensions as the previous year’s. However, this year’s cover features a view of Johnstown from the Inclined Plane station above the city in Westmont.

Cover of the 2010 Department of Transportation map
 

 

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Announcements News

2009 Official Road Map

This past weekend I stopped at the welcome center on Interstate 70 at the Maryland state line in Warfordsburg. In doing so, I picked up a copy of the 2009 official road map. Here are the changes since the 2007 editions:

Berks County/Chester County
PA 82 removed between Elverson and Birdsboro

PA 82 shown truncated on the 2009 official road map.

Blair County/Centre County/State College Inset
Interstate 99 completed from Bald Eagle to State College in addition to being signed from there to Interstate 80

Interstate 99 is completed between Bald Eagle and State College and signed from there to Interstate 80 on the 2009 official road map.

Fayette County
PA Turnpike 43 completed between Exit 15 and Exit 22 and shown under construction between Exit 22 and PA 88

PA Turnpike 43 open between Uniontown and Brownsville, and under construction around the latter.

Lehigh County/Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Inset
US 222/Trexlertown Bypass completed from PA 100 to Interstate 78

US 222/Trexlertown Bypass completed between PA 100 and Interstate 78.

Tioga County
US 15 finished from PA 287 to New York and PA 287 extended further along old US 15 to Lawrenceville

US 15 completed in Tioga County on the 2009 official road map.

New Castle Inset
US 224 extended further than US 422/PA 60 eastward on State Street and Falls Street

US 224 extended in Lawrence County on the 2009 official road map.

In conclusion, those are all of the changes to the 2009 official road map. It has the same dimensions as the previous year’s; however, this year’s cover is of an Amish buggy driving on one of the newly designated Civil War Trails. You can view the map at PennDOT’s GIS page.

If the Departments of Transportation and Tourism would have waited, they could have given a shout out to our three professional sports teams that won championships in the past year. The North Carolina Department of Transportation did that for the Carolina Hurricanes on the cover of their 2007 map.

Cover of the 2009 official road map.
 

 

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