Campaign signs illegal on state highway property
Lori Maher, NYS DOT public information officer, stated that private signs of any kind “definitely are not allowed on the state right-of-way. That area is reserved for traffic-related signs.”
While dimensional widths of roadway rights-of-way can vary, any sign which is “right along the roadside” or ‘in the shoulder gravel’ is certainly in violation, Maher asserted.
The specific restrictions banning placement of objects along the highway are contained in Section 52 of the New York State Highway Law, she noted, adding, “Signs are not allowed in state right-of-way as that area is reserved for transportation purposes. They can pose a safety concern relative to blocking lines of sight near side roads and driveways, etc., and it’s really not safe for motorists to pull over to place the signs.”
In spite of the illegality, Maher said that NYS DOT does not take action to remove signs unless they are creating a hazard and affecting motorist safety. Removal of other signs on the right-of-way is, as a rule, complaint-driven.
“When we receive a complaint, we do remove them, but our priority is tending to other safety-related highway maintenance activities,” Maher said.
“We’d advise people to put their signs on someone’s lawn, not in our right-of-way,” she concludes.
Richard Burke, the Assembly candidate endorsed by the Livingston County Republican Party, told The County News he only places his sign on private property with permission of the owner. “When a sign is in someone’s yard, it implies that the property owner endorses that candidate.”
“When I’ve seen my sign in the state right-of-way, I’ve gotten out of the car and removed it myself,” he said.