Why do ‘city limits’ signs include the elevation?


POP: 3,464,347 EL.: 320 FT.


I can understand why the population is included, but what purpose does listing the elevation serve? As a motorist, why do I need to know the elevation above sea level of the city?

Cecil tackled the question of how but not why. How is the city elevation shown on road signs and maps determined?

I suppose it is to let you know whether you must follow the high altitude directions for Kraft Dinner, Tuna Helper, and the like in a particular city.
Unless someone has a better explanation…

>> I can understand why the population is included

Why? The elevation is immutable, the population is not. Do they update it every few days?

Actually, after an earthquake elevation may, in fact, be different. So, in California at least, they may have to update not just population but also height above sea level from time to time.

I might add that the elevation is not shown everywhere. IN Colorado, sure. Here in Wisconsin, who cares?

Just a theory, in the days before computer chip technology arrived in cars, sudden changes in elevation played havoc with car engines. Maybe elevation was reported to allow car owners to adjust their engine, and then later just became tradition. Might need someone associated with auto history to answer this for us.

For that matter, who cares about the population while driving?

that’s still true today, it’s just not as big of a deal. whenever you move somewhere with a significant change in elevation, you should take your car in for a tune-up. there are a few things that can be tweaked to avoid wear on the engine.

living in the mile-high-city myself, elevation has a whole lot of significance around here. since within this one state the elevation has a range of over 10,000 feet, you can do just a little in-state traveling and be in a whole different ballpark. health is a main factor, as altitude-sickness is prevalent around here. if you see the elevation on a sign coming into a city, you can know whether or not to pick up some tums at the gas station. and what about air? it seems to be a tad thin. sports teams that come here ALWAYS have oxygen on hand, as their players often feel like their breathing isn’t doing any good. another importance of elevation is just so you know–a cool back-country snowboarding story is always better when you can brag about the elevation.

Actually, I like seeing that because it gives me an idea of the size of the town or city.

Population and elevation are standard on California signs, but it varies throughout the country. Some places just have little signs that say “City of XXXX” and leave it at that.

In California, we like all this info for some reason.

The county lines just say the name of the county, they don’t give the population of the county. But in California, you can sometimes be a long way from any county line.

And thus the relative opportunity to score points. [/bad joke alluding to David Carradine cult classic]