Blue Lines on Streets to Honor Police Run Afoul of Federal Regulators

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has prohibited local municipalities from painting a blue line down the middle of streets near police stations. State and local governments are pushing back, saying the prohibition "defies common sense."
January 15, 2017, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The blue line on the street in front of the post office in Bainbridge, Pennsylvania.
George Sheldon

"Despite the recent news that it violates federal roadway standards, Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet said the blue stripe in front of the township's police headquarters isn't going anywhere," report Tom Nobile and Kristie Cattafi.

Mahwah is one of many cities around New Jersey and the country that have adorned the space between the yellow lines in the middle of the street in a shade of blue to celebrate police officers.

But a blue marking that runs between a double-yellow line does not comply with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways and is a traffic hazard, Federal Highway Administration Director Mark Kehrli said in a December letter to Somerset County’s engineer. Blue markings are reserved for designating handicap parking spaces, he said.

The FHA's stance on the issue has provoked a response from state and federal lawmakers. "State Assemblymen Erik Peterson, R-Hunterdon, and Jon Bramnick, R-Union, on Tuesday sponsored a resolution petitioning the federal government to allow blue lines between double yellow stripes near municipal buildings. They also introduced a bill asking the same of the state Department of Transportation," report Nobile and Cattafi.

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Published on Thursday, January 12, 2017 in The Record
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