Ask Westchester: The Bill Rubin Edition

Q: Why don’t the Taconic Parkway exits have numbers? It’s the only major highway in the area that doesn’t.
—Bill Rubin, Yorktown Heights

A: Ah yes, the bucolic Taconic, the 104-mile, longest-in-the-state, four-county-spanning parkway known for both its natural splendor as well as for its dangerous unlit curves and open straight-aways that suggest its name be changed to the “Taconic Motor Speedway.” Still, where are its exit numbers?

But first... The Taconic is the only major highway in the area without exit numbers? We think not. And we’re not just referring to highways missing exit numbers (meet us right off exit 24 of the Hutch). reports that some of the exits on the Taconic originally were numbered. Essentially, each county would number at-grade crossings (places where no bridges or tunnels carry cars across the highway, so cars on the highway have to stop to let perpendicular traffic cross) using the first letter of the county name followed by a sequential number that reset when the parkway entered the next county. So the first exit in Westchester would be W1; in Putnam, P1; in Dutchess, D1; and in Columbia: C1. But the signs used were much smaller than the signs indicating the name of the crossing street. They were more akin to those reference markers you see on the side of the road, and were, according to the Department of Transportation, “used for identifying intersections for accident record keeping and emergency responders. The numbers were not intended for motorists to follow.” Besides, in Westchester, most of the at-grade crossings were closed or re-engineered with bridges, overpasses, or other improvements to, the Department of Transportation tells us, increase safety, so there’s nothing to number now anyway.

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So, to quote our buddies in Albany one more time, since “unlike interstates and many other controlled or limited-access highways, many of the Taconic State Parkway’s original interchanges were constructed as traditional intersections.” There was really no need for exit numbers when cars had to stop at crossings where the driver could see the name of the street marking his location. And though we didn’t ask, we wonder if this was the same reasoning as those who built and maintained the Sprain (yes, that’s the other highway) is also un-numbered. So, Bill, you have a task: get funding from the county and the state and the federal government and get out there and number the Taconic Parkway. Maybe then you can even convince the State of New York to name that bridge it built over it after you.

Got any curiosities about our county? Don’t keep ’em to yourself. Email them to us at, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll finally get a straight (or not-so-straight) answer right here.

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