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ArcMap- How to create accurate buffers between points along a roadway

Question asked by jrh072 on Mar 27, 2013
Latest reply on Apr 18, 2013 by rfairhur24

I'm using ArcGIS Desktop 10.1 and need the ability to create a line or polygon buffer between points along a roadway (line) feature class.  Here's the scenario:  We need to create a spacing buffer between signs measured along the road right of way (in this case, following the road centerline will work fine).  We have road centerlines and points for the signs. In some cases, we need to make the buffer area along both sides of the road, at other times only one side of the road.  In the past we have used a buffer tool on the sign points to at least get  us a representation of the approximate buffer area and then visually applied it to one or both sides of the road.  Not ideal, and less accurate the more the road curves, as our buffer should be applied along the road line, not shortest path. (we do not need the complexity of accounting for slight distance change caused by elevation changes). Another helpful method was creating a buffer on the road centerline, marking all points with a property for the side of the road, buffering the points, running a union on the point & line buffers & keeping only the sections of the point buffers matching the side of the road of the point.  Long process for a less than elegant solution, and still inaccurate.

I know there must be a good, accurate way to accomplish this, so I'm reaching out the the forum for some suggestions.  Ideally we would have a line or polygon of a specific length that extended from the point features in each direction along a roadway exactly parallel to the centerline, with the ability to widen and offset the this point or line feature as needed to "reach" across the road where applicable.  I attached a picture showing the point buffer methods I described above (radius buffers) and made a crude line buffer in yellow to illustrate more of what I'm envisioning.

I have very limited scripting & coding experience, so I'm hoping to accomplish this primarily with the toolsets available in ArcGIS or ET GeoTools.

Thanks ahead for any helpful assistance!