That's amazing. I had no idea that road was built with black & white color signs.
Black-on-white was actually the norm for expressways in New York built in the late 1940's/early 1950's.
So it seems that SJTA has a long history of using non-compliant signing. I wonder what their reasoning was. The MUTCD specifying green signs came out in 1958, well before the ACE was built in the 60's and several years after NY Thruway had erected their blue signs that lasted 'til the early 1990's.
Actually, the ACE signs shown in Alex's video captures comply with the 1961 MUTCD
. The requirement to use green background for freeway guide signs in general was not introduced until the 1971 MUTCD
. Prior to that, the standard colors for guide signs in general, including non-Interstate freeways, were white and black, with green background being optional. It was the AASHO signing and marking manual for Interstates (not the MUTCD per se
) which required green background for Interstate guide signs beginning in 1958, and initially white background and green foreground legend (later changed to white on blue) for services signing on Interstates.
Sign color and other aspects of sign design on the NYS Thruway were fixed in the early 1950's as a result of research the Thruway Authority carried out into different sign designs (reported in contemporary issues of Traffic Engineering
). The choice of white on blue may have had something to do with the fact that Bertram Tallamy, who was color-blind and struggled with white-on-green, was then head of the Thruway Authority. By the time signing standards for Interstates were being developed in 1957-58, white on green emerged as the favored color scheme from the Holmes experiment (which was really more of a popularity contest than a scientific study). Although Tallamy was by then head of BPR and thus had the ability to force through white on blue, he declined to override the consensus that had developed in favor of white on green. To understand this it helps to remember that, 2009 MUTCD
notwithstanding, FHWA and its predecessor agencies almost invariably prefer to exercise their hegemony over state DOTs through persuasion, sweet reason, and superior expertise rather than arbitrary fiat.