If buildings can be put on the National Register of Historic Places, why not roads? That's exactly what's happening for some historic and/or memorably designed and landscaped highways around the country.

For example, there's Connecticut's 50-year-old Merritt Parkway, which was placed on the Register last month. This frequently congested but still lovely road . . . has 35 art deco and classically designed bridges, . . . boasts impressive shows of foliage because of its superb landscaping and plantings . . . and provides a refreshing antidote to the grimy surroundings of metropolitan New York.Thousands of historic buildings have long been shielded from desecration or destruction by being placed on the National Register. Some highways are appropriate candidates, too. Their beauty and historic significance can be far more accessible than even the most famous historic house or building.