‘I Love NY’ state signs deemed illegal by the Federal Highway Administration

Luke Rafferty | Staff Photographer

The Federal Highway Administration has called the signs distracting.

The bright blue “I Love NY” signs that dot the highways and byways of New York, advertising attractions throughout the state, have been deemed illegal by the federal government.

The Federal Highway Administration recently called the signs distracting. The FHWA has had issues with the signs since 2011 said Neil Gaffney, a public affairs official for the FHWA, in an email. The signs inform drivers of rest areas and local attractions along the road.

“We have been clear with the New York state Department of Transportation that its tourism-related signs are out of compliance with Federal law and create a safety concern,” Gaffney said.  “The signs do not conform to the federal standards outlined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.”

The federal standards are designed to help drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists move safely with minimal distraction, Gaffney noted.

According to the NYSDOT website, the “I Love NY” sign program is designed to “assist the traveling public, while maintaining the safe and efficient flow of traffic on the State’s highway.”

The NYSDOT could not be reached for comment.

The NYSDOT will most likely face penalties if it continues to put the signs up despite the FWHA’s warnings, Gaffney said. The penalties could include the withholding of federal approval for projects or the withholding of highway funding, he said.

Gaffney added that Greg Nadeau, FHWA administrator, will meet with NYSDOT Commissioner Matt Driscoll this month in Washington, D.C., to discuss plans to bring the state in to comply with the standard.


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