Friday, December 9, 2011

I've Had Enough

Dear fellow Saint Louisans,

I've had enough! I can't take it anymore! I've tried to fight it, I've tried to hold my tongue, but I must be heard. What's got me riled up? Is it Albert Pujols heading to the Angels? Is it the proposed toll on I-70? Nope, it's none of those. What it is, well, it is I-64 constantly being called highway 40.

For those of my readers outside the metro area of Saint Louis let me explain. Here is a map of the route of I-64. The interstate goes through the middle of Saint Louis and runs out to Wentzville and I-70. The final portion of I-64 towards I-70 wasn't always called I-64. The portion that runs through the city has been I-64 as long as I have lived there.

Now that you've got a minor history of a highway you may never drive on or much less see, let me tell you why it has me so riled up. I have a rule, and this rule seems to be shared by all road signage in America, and that is that an interstate always takes precedence. That means, say, if the interstate is also a highway, and a road, it should always be referred to by its interstate number. In Saint Louis, when referring to I-64, it is very rarely called I-64 but rather highway 40, or simply, "40" as seen on the left.

Okay, I will give you 40 callers a break as 40 is an older highway and a longer road, but still the interstate number should take priority. Sure, us locals may know what we're talking about, but if someone from out of town is trying to find "40" and all they see on the signs are I-64's they could easily get lost. On top of all this I think MODOT is trying to convert us as the signs that tell us how far the next exit is says "I-64."

So isn't it time to change? I know that's funny coming from me who often says, "change is bad" but this change is okay. It may have been “40” back in the day, but it's bigger and better now. Think of it as it's all grown up now and it's been promoted so it's okay to turn your back on the past.

Okay, I must admit now I feel a little bit better. For years I've heard it and I haven't said anything. And trust me when I say that I truly wanted to say something. When I hear something that I know is wrong, or it should be called something else, it is a reflex for me to say it the right way. I don't try to be rude in correcting, but things need to be right regardless of the importance of whatever fact may be said. 

So, moving forward, I still will bite my tongue when I hear I-64 called "40". I've done my part in the crusade to get interstates the proper treatment. It's a slow movement, and I hope you join it as we can move on with the right names. So yes, I do feel better now.


  1. This is pretty funny because I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. :) It still confuses me when people talk about taking I-64. "You mean 40?" But I'm trying...I'm trying.

  2. OR the problem could be solved by giving those highways worded names, not differentiated numbers. What I mean by that is in Vancouver, BC we also have multiple names for our highways. However, rather than calling them two different numbers, we have words (makes sense right!) For instance, Highway 99, which goes from the US border (Peace Arch specifically connecting BC to Washington state) up to Whistler, is known as the "Sea to Sky Highway". Whether someone says Sea to Sky, or Highway 99, it's all the same.

  3. Point well taken Aaron; however doesn't it just add to the confusion when the service roads to I-64 are known as South Outer Forty, etc. and the road signs use those same names? Yes, it's pretty confusing, but I appreciate your efforts to set us all straight.

  4. Good point Gracie. I think though that through Illinois, in segments, the outer road on I-70 is also a "outer 40". I've got an idea to make it more confusing; let's name it "the road formerly called S outer 40 and is now outer 64". That shouldn't be confusing at all :)

  5. ... I thought remembering names of roads was difficult enough, but I don't think I'd ever be able to get around in America! How on Earth do you guys remember like 2 or 3 names for one road?! And how do you look it up on the map? I'm confused...
    (for all the people who don't know: I'm Dutch. And no that's not the same as German as some people on online games seem to think, I'm from the Netherlands. Holland.)

  6. Shall we get into the I-70 170, I-170 debate? There IS no I-170 folks!!!! There....I feel better too :)

  7. No I-170?

  8. Thank goodness for..."In 500 metres, turn right..."