Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Boulevard’s got ’em! (Being a paraphrase of a chewing gum advertising jingle of the 1960’s.)

We rely on Roadway Markings to tell us where we should - and should not - drive our vehicles. Yellow lines, white lines, et cetera.

Where I grew up, in the northeastern U.S., roadway markings consisted of paint applied to the road surface. On our annual forays down South, we would drive on highways that incorporated raised ceramic buttons in their lane markers. These things, it turns out, have a name: Bott’s dots, named after the California traffic engineer who invented the glue used to attach them to the roadway.

It was pretty obvious why we didn’t have Bott’s dots on our roads back home. The snowplows would scrape ’em right off.

Larger versions of Bott’s dots are used in some localities to mark off traffic lanes where crossing from one lane to another is strongly discouraged. She Who Must Be Obeyed remembers calling these things “City Titties” as a young SWMBO growing up in Foat Wuth, Texas. In size and shape, City Titties are somewhat smaller and perkier than the hemispherical type of Elephant Turds used in the Miami area for lawn edging and other Bad Taste Yard Decoration.

Recently, I heard the term “gourd” used to refer to a zebra-striped zone in a roadway upon which one is not supposed to drive. This came from a friend who was involved in a minor collision and who was (improperly) ticketed for “driving on the gourd.” I can’t find any references to the word “gourd” being used in this sense anywhere on the ’Net...are any of my Esteemed Readers familiar with this usage?

Update: Commenter LauraB appears to have cleared matters up. The term is “gore,” not “gourd” or “guard,” and it refers to the triangular area where roads split or merge. These areas are frequently marked off by stripes.

In retrospect, duh.

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