Feds back down, Adirondack signs to remain standing

WARRENSBURG - In an apparent victory for local organizations and the Adirondack Park Agency, the state Department of Transportation has reached a compromise with the Federal Highway Administration that will allow the majority of yellow-on-brown signs to remain along the roadways in the park.

In recent months, the Highway Administration has been pushing the Adirondack Park and Catskill State Park to adopt the conventional white-on-brown signs like are standard in federal parks.

But thanks to a recently discovered Memorandum of Understanding between federal and state highway officials adopted in 1977, which states that the Adirondack signs are largely exempted from federal standards, the FHWA has no choice but to relent - at least in the Adirondacks.

According to state DOT Region 2 Director Michael Shamma, the federal compromise could actually increase the overall number of yellow-on brown signs in the region, but would require some signs, like those that identify public transportation facilities, would have to changed to the standard white-on-green format.

"The yellow-on-brown obviously, we are doing it by a special agreement with the feds," Shamma said. "They would love to see both the Catskills and the Adirondacks go with the white-on-brown. We have an agreement with the Adirondacks, but never really had one for the Catskills."

Shamma said that without an MOU, like that in the Adirondacks, the Catskills are being forced to change their signs to conform to the federal format.

But placards designating the Catskill State Park and a logo will be placed at the top of the signs at federal expense.

"Maybe we can embark on an effort to brand the two parks differently," Shamma said. "They came up with these examples of placards."

Shamma said that FHWA officials are very uneasy with the use of yellow-on-brown signs, especially local road signs and any signs that provide drivers with directions.

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