We often overlook the fact that everything we see around us has a history attached to it. They simply didn’t appear on our surroundings without coming from anywhere. There is always a history attached to everything—why they were needed, what inspired them, what transpired before they were not present. Take for example the Winter Haven parking lot paving striping. Without these white and yellow stripes on the pavement, we would easily be lost and we wouldn’t know how to navigate the roads clearly and safely.
Romans, Babylonians, and other ancient civilizations had some form of striping during their time. They used bricks in contrasting colors to mark the center of the road. This ensures that people and even chariots know where to pass by. Pavement markings, as we know them by now, however, have only been in existence for about a century. To separate traffic flowing from opposite directions, our forbearers used piles of stones, short walls, or shrubs.
The earlier purpose of such markings was to prevent traffic jam. It wasn’t until later that the striping became significant to the safety of the people and the drivers. The moment that cars, trucks, and buses came to being and increased in number, the markings became necessary to prevent road accidents and to keep drivers in check.
In the United States, the first painted lines on the center of roadways were believed to have appeared in Michigan in 1911. The white markings were inspired by a milk wagon that left a trail of white colored juice on the road because of a leak. An official of the Wayne County Board of Roads allegedly ordered the painting of lines on the Trenton’s River Road.
By 1917, white lines have already appeared throughout Michigan, including a center line along Marquette County’s “dead man’s curve.” At the same time, both Oregon and California implemented programs that would fund pavement markings on their roads. Funds were limited, however, and some counties and cities refused to invest on the striping.
There are some private citizens, though, that paid for the markings in treacherous roads and curves. The sheriff of Multnomah County, Oregon financed the markings on the stretch of the Columbia River Highway while Dr. June McCarroll in Indio, California painted the stretch of a road which is now called US Route 99. She made the decision after a truck forced her car into a ditch on the same stretch of road.