Don't Tread On Me
November 27, 2008 4:56 PM   Subscribe

What is this metal structure called?

I know of the existence of at least two of these things here in Seattle, the other one on Capitol Hill seems to be functional. Inside the housing is a light fixture, which I believe to be a conventional Edison thread socket. At night the light comes on, and indicates to oncoming drivers the apex of the traffic island.

It seems like an entirely rational concept, but I think I've only seen two of them that I remember. I assume there are others around the country or the world, so there must be a term for them.

What is this thing called?
posted by Tube to Technology (5 answers total)
In Australia, that'd be called a silent cop. That may be an archaic and local usage, though.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:46 PM on November 27, 2008

> In Australia, that'd be called a silent cop. That may be an archaic and local usage, though.

I thought a "silent cop" referred to what's known as a "sleeping policeman" in Britain or a "speed bump" in the US.

This picture looks like something that's meant to indicate the beginning of a concrete median or island that separates traffic into two different lanes. I have no idea if there is a special name for the median or the structure that is meant to illuminate its beginning, but I'm pretty sure that it's not a speed bump.
posted by Third at 11:25 PM on November 27, 2008

Lit lane markers in England are called Cat's Eyes. Though, they function and look a bit different than your thing.
posted by amanda at 7:29 AM on November 28, 2008

There's another one near the south end of the Ballard bridge (it's operational). I've noticed them in other cities as well, but they don't seem to be really common anywhere.

I spent a while digging around on municipal street maintenance and iron foundry websites, on the theory that people who buy or sell those things would have a name for them, but didn't come up with anything. I found other illuminated markers used in that situation, but only in bumps (a housing with a light in it placed on top of the triangular curb thingy rather than embedded at its nose) or on poles.

My guess is it'd be called a “curb marker” (comma illuminated comma blinky comma made of iron?). That's not very specific though.

amanda: Where I live “cat's eye” seems to always mean a retroreflector— frequently a lane marking like a Bott's dot, but I've also heard it used to refer to the round plastic ones people somtimes put on mailboxes, posts, etc., to make them more visible at night.
posted by hattifattener at 1:22 PM on December 11, 2008

Yeah, I think I'll forward this to some of my metal-working buddies; they might know. I wonder if they were made at Olympic foundry here in Seattle?
posted by Tube at 12:31 AM on December 28, 2008

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