Last year the Rhode Island Department of Transportation announced that state and federal highway entrances and exits would be renumbered, under a new federal standard, to reflect not sequence but proximity to highway mile markers. I argued that this was absurd, and that changing the numbers would not serve the driving population. Today, traveling down to North Kingstown on Route 4, I found that the program had been implemented and immediately located an example of its absurdity.
All the signs had the new exit numbers, along with smaller signs reminding drivers of the old numbers. Exit 7 was now Exit 6, Exit 6 was Exit 5. I thought Exit 5 would be Exit 4 – but no, it was Exit 3. There was no Exit 4. But not long before I reached the new Exit 3, I passed the mile marker. It said “4 mi.” Supposedly the exit was four miles from the Route 95/Route 4 split. Why didn’t they rename it Exit 4 instead of Exit 3? I guess the governor will appoint a committee to find the answer. While they’re at it, how many dollars did it cost to rename the exits, attach the new exit numbers, and also attach signs reminding people of the old exit numbers. However low the dollar figure is, it is far too high.
Last year in a post called “Antelope Freeway, 1/8 miles,” I mocked the state’s ridiculous new exit recalculaton & naming program by alluding to Firesign Theater’s hilarious skit, “Antelope Freeway,” about a guy listening to his radio as he tries out his new car. Here it is. Ha ha.