High Speed Interchange Ramps
This design is recommended for state wide application.
There are many instances in the Empire State where two freeways come together in an interchange. The higher traffic volumes are often handled by high-speed interchanges. These interchanges should be signed using the slanted down-arrows as shown above.
In the 1960s through mid 1980s, this type of lane designation was common in New York. The current NYSMUTCD denotes the following in section 252.11:
"Where arrows are used, each should be positioned over the lane to which it applies. Down arrows should be used for lanes which proceed essentially straight ahead in the area of the gore. Up arrows should be used for lanes which clearly curve left or right pass as they pass they gore."
While I appreciate the intent behind this direction, I believe that the use of an up arrow at a high speed exit ramp indicates to the motorist that this is an exit ramp that should be navigate as any "standard" interchange ramp, one that demands a signficant decrease in speed in order for the motorist to safely navigate it.
The National Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, 2003 Edition Revision 1 dated November 2004 handles this a little bit differently in Section 2E.18 "Arrows for Interchange Guide Signs"
"On all Exit Direction signs, both overhead and ground mounted, arrows shall be upward slanting and shall be located on the side of the sign consistent with the direction of exiting movement.
Downward pointing arrows shall be used only for overhead guide signs to prescribe lane assignments for traffic bound for a destination or route that can be reached only be being in the designated lane(s).
Option: Downward pointing arrows may be tilted where it is desired to emphasize the separation of roadways.
In the instance in the sign example above, Interstates 81 and 86 "split" at the gore. In this situation, both directions of travel can be safely navigated at near the posted the speed limit. By using the up arrow to denote ramp direction, the driver assumes that both roadways are exit ramps and needlessly slow their speed.
Previous generations of sign panels at many of these locations throughout the state utilized the slanted down arrow convention of lane designation.