Lane ranger: Are distances on highway signs exaggerated?
Published: Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 10:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 10:40 p.m.
Geoff Pietsch has a pet peeve while driving on Interstate 75 — the traffic signs stating the distances to Gainesville, he believes, exaggerate the distance.
“Clearest example: South of Micanopy is a sign saying 5 miles to Micanopy and 25 miles to Gainesville. Yet Gainesville is, of course, only 11-12 miles beyond Micanopy,” Pietsch wrote in an email to The Sun.
“I believe the state’s explanation/excuse is that they are giving the distance to downtowns. But that doesn’t wash since downtown Gainesville is nothing like 8-9 miles from I-75 — unless one were to go all the way to the 39th Avenue exit,” Pietsch wrote.
Well, that is indeed the explanation from the Florida Department of Transportation, which sets the distances and erects the signs.
District DOT spokeswoman Gina Busscher said the agency’s guidelines are to measure the distance to county courthouses or city halls.
“Another requirement is that we use a route with the fewest turns and the closest interchange to the courthouse/city hall, which is the State Road 26/Newberry Road (Exit 387),” she said. “Probably using Williston Road would shave off a few miles but it is not the most direct route (you have to turn off Williston Road to Main Street and then to University Avenue).”
Busscher added that her office was asked about the issue a few years ago. The mileage was double-checked and was correct.