New York Senate endorses changing interstate exit numbering

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/21/2013

Signage along New York interstates could soon be changing.

The Senate voted 47-15 on Tuesday, June 18, to advance to the Assembly a bill that would change how the state numbers its interstate exits. The state now uses chronological numbers for interstate exits.

Sponsored by Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, the bill would adopt a mileage-based system to number interstate exit signs. A memo attached to the bill indicates that the numbering system is used by 43 states.

The New York Thruway Authority, in consultation with the state Department of Transportation, would develop and implement a plan to convert the exit numbers to a mileage-based system. Numbering would start at the southernmost or westernmost end of the interstate.

Libous has tried unsuccessfully to get the bill through the statehouse in previous sessions. Twice in the past three years the effort was approved by Senate lawmakers only to die in the Assembly.

In hopes this attempt will be different he notes that the mileage-based system is endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration. The agency explains that the system makes it easier for travelers to tell how much distance is between exits, as well as make it easier to know how much further they have to travel to reach their destination.

Advocates contend the mileage-based system would also improve emergency personnel response times by being able to accurately locate victims.

Despite the arguments in favor of a switch the state DOT has not endorsed the change. The price tag to change the numbering system has been blamed for state lawmakers’ reluctance to act.

To minimize cost, the bill requires that existing roadside and overhead signs be reused when possible.

The bill – S1913 – is in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

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