Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Most in New York State, and some located in less significant portions of the nation, by now know about the State’s kerfuffle with the Feds concerning road signs appearing along I-90, the New York State Thruway.

Moementarily, leaving to the side the State’s notorious and long-standing spelling problem, and the fact that it insists upon building bridges at the widest point of a river and for no less than four billion American dollars (and that’s Billion with a “buh”), signage matters.

In a nutshell: The dust-up concerns various and numerous signs the State placed all along I-90 and all touting, in one form or another its I-heart-NY campaign.

The Feds claim that their regulations regarding the content and placement of road signs along interstate highways clearly and plainly forbids exactly the kinds of signs the State has chosen to erect.

Newspaper reports seem to support the Feds’ claim. In essence, no signs are permitted except the kind that direct travelers about traveling and nothing commercial. Speed limit signs, signs that identify exits and connecting roads and communities, and signs specifying such things as rest stops with (or without) gas, food or restrooms are all permitted.

Signs touting the virtues of Aunt Alice’s Alcohol would, for instance, be forbidden by the Federal regulations. And triple-A, as a trademark infringement. And because the intention of the sign is a commercial appeal as opposed to an informational one. Moreover, Aunt Alice refers to a “person” and not something else – such as a governing body.

The Feds threaten to withdraw and withhold funding for the state’s highway due to the State’s infraction. The State thumbs their nose at the Feds, claiming it’s within both its rights (huh?) and Federal guidelines.

Stay tuned.

A recent visit to a rest stop between Rochester and Syracuse reveals yet another sign problem. Shockingly. And one thus far unreported. Until now. You can count on the present blog for all the breaking news.

Above one interior entrance that leads to yet another interior private space is the sign reading: MENS [sic]. Next door, and above a different interior entrance that leads to yet another different interior private space is a sign reading: WOMENS [sic].

The ability to discriminate between the singular, the plural and the possessive is a skill achieved by most fifth graders. Or at least it used to be.

Now, just how much faith can we have in all those other signs, whether they agree with federal policy or not?

Extra Point Bonus Quiz: Name the group that had a hit with the terrible song from which the present Blog draws its headline.

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