Mission Improbable, Part Two
By L.A. McMahon
From Issue 42: Spring 2019
In our last issue, I described my mission to find out how to get a special needs sign placed on a local road. It seemed like a simple task, but my first article turned into a rant against all things bureaucratic. Not being a quitter, I kept on—interminably.
Every once in a while during this process things like the Bataan Death March came to mind, and after many hours on the computer, my eyes were so dry I started hallucinating images of me on a camel with Lawrence of Arabia crossing the Devil’s Anvil.
Then, an oasis! NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) Public Information Officer, Heather Pillsworth who, after much cajoling, decided to join the Mission Improbable team. She provided me with a phone number, which brought me to a person, who told me that for all roads in a town I needed to speak to… the local highway department.
Really? Could I have gone three times around the world just to wind up back in Gardiner? And more importantly, none of my research was able to tell me this? So I called Brian Sticia, Gardiner Superintendent of Highways, who set me straight: for town roads you just call Brian. Tell him why you need a sign, and he’ll come out. If he judges it a necessary thing, a sign will appear at some point. However, he said I’d need to contact Ulster County Department of Public Works (DPW) for County roads, and NYS DOT for State roads and highways.
Back into the Devil’s Anvil. How can you tell what roads belong to which entity?” My eyes drifted up on the Town of Gardiner Highway Department webpage and, to my amazement, I saw a section called “Helpful Links.” Under that was “Town Roads vs. County Roads.” So, if your road has a painted yellow center line and/or a painted white fog line along the edge of the pavement, it is maintained by either the State or Ulster County; if not, it’s Town of Gardiner.
For more information about County Roads (Albany Post, Bruynswick Road, Tillson Lake Road, McKinstry Road, Sandhill Road), contact the Ulster County DPW at 845-340-3100. For State-maintained roads (US 44-55, NY 208, NY 299), contact the New York State Department of Transportation, Resident Engineer at 845-331-5533.
I fell in love with our town all over again. What a useful bit of information! It gave me so much hope that I made one more phone call, to Barbara S. Abrahamer, of the NYS DOT’s Traffic Operations Bureau and asked her who I contact on a County or State level to get a safety sign placed. She said, “If the road is needed on a State highway, the resident would contact the Region 8 Traffic office in Poughkeepsie (845 437-3320). For an Ulster County highway, try the Ulster County Department of Public Works Highways and Bridges Division. (845 340-3500.)
So there it is. Mission accomplished. I’m grateful that the wise, civic-minded and indomitable Gardiner Gazette editorial team assigned me to do this footwork so you don’t have to—but I’ll be having a nap now.