When you examine the “I Love NY” road sign in Orient, it’s hard to figure out what its point is.
It’s somewhat reminiscent of the signs you might see before an exit on the New York State Thruway — the ones highlighting nearby restaurants and attractions — but it offers no real specifics.
Essentially, it’s an advertisement for the state’s tourism app, but even that bit of promotion gets lost amid wording that vaguely promotes local history, food and beverages and the state’s tourism website.
The Orient sign is one of 514 installed statewide over the summer — another greets drivers approaching Riverhead on the Long Island Expressway — and the Federal Highway Administration is demanding the state remove or modify them to comply with federal regulations.
This action comes months after residents and elected officials in Southold and East Hampton towns, among other places, complained about the size of the signs. The agency said the markers contain too much information, creating a safety hazard as drivers attempt to digest it all — even if that information is so vague there’s not much to retain.
It’s easy to understand why people don’t like the signs, but it seems like a prime example of throwing good money after bad to have them altered or removed.
After all, the state spent $1.775 million on the signs earlier this year, according to state officials. Hasn’t enough money already been wasted on this problem?
We think Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said it best when he questioned a federal agency “taking such a heavy-handed approach to impose regulations based on authority they may or may not have.”
“Perhaps they should focus on more important issues, like walking down the block to the FAA building and demanding that they start listening to the East End,” the supervisor said.
We might add a stop at the Environmental Protection Agency for a frank discussion about dredge spoil dumping in Long Island Sound to that list.
Photo: An ‘I Love NY’ sign in Orient. The Federal Highway Administration is demanding that the state either take down all 514 tourism signs across the state or make them come into compliance. (Credit: Paul Squire)