Route 28 corridor project seeks uniform street signs

By Jay Braman Jr.
An unfunded mandate requiring the replacement of local street signs was spun into gold this week.
Well, not really gold. Actually yellow. And brown.
Thus marks the beginning of a plan to change all the street signs in towns from Andes east to Olive.
In Shandaken this week the town board decided to swap out all the green and white street signs for brown and yellow ones after Highway Superintendent Eric Hofmeister altered the board to the fact that the State of New York was requiring local towns to upgrade all signage to a larger size with a more legible font.
Hofmeister was aware that, at the same time, the Central Catskills Collaborative, an organization of towns and villages along the Route 28 Corridor, was pushing for a change in local signage to become a different color scheme. Instead of the usual green and white, the collaborative wants to see yellow letters over a brown background.
“I told the town board, as long as I have to change the signs now I might as well change the color, so I don’t have to do it twice,” Hofmeister said, noting that the cost per sign is between $40 and $100 regardless of the color chosen.
It remains unclear whether the other collaborative communities, the towns of Middletown and Andes plus the Village of Fleischmanns in Delaware County and the Town of Olive in Ulster County, will follow suit.
Last December, Ed Franz of the New York State Department of Transportation, the man in charge of signage in the Catskill and Adirondack parks, told the collaborative that signage is an issue Catskill communities can work together on.
Brown and yellow signs have already been erected in the Adirondacks that inform the public of hiking trails and parking facilities, fishing access, he said, adding that signage is an inexpensive tool that the Catskills can use to promote access to trails and other resources, while building a brand for the region.
Peter Manning of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development added that if the seven communities are working together, the partnership needs consistency to succeed. Manning said that students will be working with these communities to create a signage inventory and maps of where new signs should be placed and what information they should convey.
Franz said DOT could provide a sign person to let the collaborative know what signs can be brown and yellow and which ones cannot be brown and yellow.