The Garnet Mine

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The Signs Have To Go

A fight between the state and the federal government has finally come to an end.

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The Signs Have To Go

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If you drive down any highway in New York State you are likely to see a multitude of large blue signs listing the various cultural activities available in that area of the state. However, due to a major legal battle between the state and federal government, the majority of these signs will soon have to be moved.

First installed 5 years ago, these signs were placed across the state as part of the “  I Love New York Campaign” to increase tourism. The various signs contain references to state recreation areas, as well as attractions and important spots on the New York State Path Through History and the Taste New York Food Trail. In addition to the large “motherboard signs” there are also lots of smaller signs pointing people to specific locations. There are even a few within Rye directing people towards the Square House and The John Jay House.

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One of many New York State Experience Signs.

The controversy around the signs is due to the fact that they do not adhere to Federal Highway Administration (FHA) regulations. The FHA says that they the signs display too much information and are too distracting to drivers. The parts of the signs accused of being the most distracting are the non- highway compliant fonts and logos, the display of a website address, and how close together the signs are on the highway.

The Cuomo Administration has refuted these claims saying that the sings have not been shown to cause any accidents and have greatly increased the New York tourism industry.  

However, critics say that this rushed and illegal project has put drivers in danger. They argue that the part of the sign prompting people to visit the state website encourages drivers to use their phones, which is extremely dangerous. The trucking industry also argues that there are simply too many signs which lead to “sign fatigue”. They say that because of this “sign fatigue” truckers may choose to use a GPS as opposed to looking at street signs, which will then lead to them not seeing signs with important information, such as bridge height.

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The multitude of I love NY signs along the side of the highway.

The state was forced to sign a deal to remove these signs after the Federal Highway Administration threatened to pull 14 million dollars in funding from the state highways over the sign controversy. Now that a deal has been reached between the FHA and the state, the majority of the signs will be removed from the highway and moved to other off-highway locations.

As someone who loves history and road trips, I find the removal of many of these signs to be a major disappointment. I understand that safety must be paramount yet I hope that the state can find new ways to promote the vibrant culture and history of our great state. 

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The Signs Have To Go