KFnet in T-Town

Feb. 8, 2010 at 7:22am

8 versus 5.8

It's the little things...

Sometimes I do believe Tacoma gets the shaft for being "it's just Tacoma" to folks that live elsewhere. But I don't believe it's so bad being the underdog sometimes since it gives us something to strive and fight for. In this case, this very minor, mostly insignificant case, I reveal how the very signs that help guide people here seem to thumb their nose at us.

On so many days for so many people driving south on I-5 after work to their abodes here in Tacoma they pass a sign they could care less about. Just around where you cross over the King County line, near where the signs turn to jumbotron TV screens, a regular, green and white way-marking road sign hearkens "Tacoma 8"! You're almost there, just a handful of miles to go!

On a couple recent trips from that direction I decided to see for myself. I could swear it didn't seem like 8 miles stood between the edge of the lit-sign mecca that is Fife to the downtown Tacoma exit. So I reset my trip odometer and watched the tenths tick away. Higher and higher they climbed until I soon realized that I was just exiting toward the city center. Had I followed the sign that previously told me I had 8 miles to go I wouldn't think I was there yet because my odometer only told me 5.8 miles had passed. A full 2.2 miles short of what the WSDOT is telling folks.

I don't think the Nisqually quake tectonically shifted things that much so am a little confused why this number wouldn't point to the edge of Tacoma that comes first (the Portland Ave exit) but instead appears instead to pass East Tacoma, downtown and lead one to the 38th Street exit. The mall.

I don't expect to push for any legislative action nor guerrilla campaign to spray paint the signs to read a more accurate number but thought I would point this oddity out in hopes it only defiantly furthers the pride locals already feel. Be proud, Tacoma, even when the odds seem pointlessly stacked against you.

comments [9]  |  posted under signs, tacoma, wayfinding, wsdot


by fredo on 2/8/2010 @ 7:37am
Good catch Kev!

by panachronic on 2/8/2010 @ 8:26am
There's no conspiracy here. Those signs always reference a point near city's center.

For instance, the edge of Portland is right at the state line. But the sign in the photo is (if I'm not mistaken) somewhere right around milepost 140. If you drive 148 miles south from that point, you will find yourself in downtown Portland, not at Jantzen Beach.

by KevinFreitas on 2/8/2010 @ 8:50am
I suppose geographic center versus cultural center is the difference here. I'm kinda' ashamed, frankly, that the symbolism I read into this is that the mall and surrounding big business is the center of Tacoma rather that where our gov't, most of our art and history are.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 2/8/2010 @ 9:25am
8 versus 5.8, good thing i read this, I thought it was about something else from the title. I guess I have to get my mind out of the gutter.

by Erik on 2/8/2010 @ 12:18pm
Yeah, the exit is a rough one.

by KevinFreitas on 2/8/2010 @ 3:45pm
It would be amazing if we could get better freeway signage about all the great food, museums, shopping, etc off our various exits. Sure be awesome of our tourism folks could snag one or two of those ginormous billboards coming from the north and south to let commuters know they could stop in town if they want a break from the traffic.

by L.S.Erhardt on 2/8/2010 @ 4:05pm
8 is 102 times more powerful than a 5.8

...if you happen to be the Richter Scale (or other logarithmic form of measurement)

You know, those signs aren't free. And what's being put up is done with WADOT money. And as we know, unless you're Seattle or Olympia, the State has no funds for you.

So why don't we find out what it costs to buy and have the state put up a sign? We see them all the time for "gas & food next right" with little company logos. So why can't we pool a couple Gs and get one up like the kind KFr8.us mentioned?

by baronet68 on 4/26/2010 @ 2:33pm
Here's the explanation:

Road distances between cities are NOT measured from 'border-to-border' or 'downtown-to-downtown'. They are instead measured from 'post office-to-post office'. This is because the Postal Service was the first government agency that really needed to know actual road distances between cities.

The interstate system follows the same process by measuring the distance to a city as the distance to the exit that is closest to the city's post office, or main branch if more than one. Usually (but not always) the main post office is located near a city's downtown area. However, Tacoma's main post office is located on South 38th street.

by Non Sequitur on 4/27/2010 @ 3:50pm
The speed limit on I-5 is 60 mph.
60 mph is 88 feet per second.
88 feet time 60 seconds is 5,280 feet.
Thus, 60 mph equals one mile a minuet.

Thus the difference between 8 miles and 5.8 miles is 2:12 @ 60 mph.
If one has been traveling (say, 30 miles) that 2:12 isn't noticeable.


Although I have another home on the web I thought it might be nice to lead by example a bit and put this blog system up to the test myself.

So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.


Hey Clear Channel, Clean Up Your Crap!

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