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Striping on roads depends on various guidelines

How does the city of Medford decide which streets get center stripes and which don't? Sometimes it seems kind of random.

For instance, near where I live, you have Country Club Drive and Dellwood Avenue, which are just a block apart and seem very similar in size and the amount of traffic they carry, but Country Club is striped and Dellwood is not. What is the deciding factor on these and other streets?

— Rob L., Medford

Well, Rob, it's not nearly as random as you suggest. In fact, there's a whole raft of guidelines that come into play in determining what gets striped and what doesn't.

We got the low-down from our friends at the Medford Public Works Department. (Just a side note, Rob: It's always good to be on friendly terms with the folks who can fix potholes and make sure your flushes head in the proper direction.)

Anyway, according to our dear friends at Public Works, the department follows federal guidelines in striping streets and placing signs on public roads within Medford.

And those federal guidelines — found in the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" — requires roads that are at least 20 feet wide with an average daily traffic load of more than 6,000 vehicles be striped with a center line.

The feds also say that roads as narrow as 18 feet in width should be striped when daily traffic exceeds 3,000 vehicles.

All other city roads are striped based on city policy and engineering judgment. As a policy, Public Works stripes local roads within the downtown area, as well as select roads throughout the city that are not fully improved or that carry a high volume of traffic.

Regarding the term "engineering judgment," that comes into play in situations where narrow local streets make turns or have features, such as partial improvements, that could be made safer with striping.

Public Works also notes that Jackson County has jurisdiction over several roads within the city and may stripe them, as well.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.