Monday, December 28, 2009

LA homeowners fight the glare of digital billboards

(photo: Jay L. Clendenin/ Los Angeles Times/ December 17, 2009)

The Los Angeles Times covers the unfortunate consequences of digital billboards in Los Angeles. As one member of a neighborhood group fighting three digital billboards laments about lowered property values, "would you buy a home with one of these things in your backyard?"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Venezuela Sets Billboard Curfew to Save Energy

Amidst an energy crisis due to low water levels at one of the world's largest hyrdoelectric dams, Venezuela is instituting a range of energy-saving measures. Included in the far-reaching effort to reduce energy demand is a midnight curfew on billboards. It's not a new idea; President Carter proposed such a curfew during the 1970's energy crisis. It's time to turn off the lights on billboards.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bye Bye Billboards!

(photo: Bates Area Civic Association)

Recently we brought you a story from the District of Columbia about determined residents of the Shaw neighborhood targetting illegal billboards that were a nuisance to the community. We're now pleased to pass along news that all of the offending signs have been removed! Congratulations to the dedicated citizens who successfully brought the issue to the attention of city hall and to city leaders for finally enforcing the sign ordinance!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Billboards and the Night Sky

Standard billboard with wasted light (photo: IDA, via National Geographic Kids)

To follow up on yesterday's post from earlier this week on the energy use of billboards, it also is important to note the negative impact billboards have upon the Night Sky. Billboards generally are lit in an upwards, wasteful manner that unnecessarily spill light into the night sky and neighboring properties. To find out more about outdoor lighting and the importance of preserving the wonders of the Night Sky, visit our friends at the International Dark-Sky Association.

U.S. Supreme Court Turns Down Billboard Appeal; Big Victory for Cities

Illegal Metro Lights/ FUEL street-level ads (photo: Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight)

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday provided good news to scenic advocates across the country as it refused to hear an appeal by a billboard company challenging Los Angeles' prohibition of billboards in 2002. The closely watched case addressed important free speech issues and the billboard company was assisted by noted consitutional scholar Laurance Tribe.

The federal district court judge agreed with Metro Lights claim that LA violated its free speech rights because the city itself generating revenue from a sanctioned "street furniture" billboard program on public property. However, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling and yesterday's decision by the Supreme Court is another important victory for the right of communities to control outdoor advertising. While scenic advocates generally disagree with street furniture ads on public property, the decision of a city to engage in the practice should not prohibit it from being able to control visual clutter by banning billboards elsewhere.

Scenic America notes that Metro Lights (now called FUEL) has been a litigious thorn in the side of large cities across the nation. It has placed thousands of illegal signs in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, and its threat of legal action against any removal of its illegal signs has had the intended effect of delaying municipal action.

Yesterday's Supreme Court decision should now encourage these cities to restore the visual character of their communities by reigning in rouge advertising companies like Metro Lights. And as the LA-based Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight notes, a court ordered disgorgement of the huge profits Metro Lights/ FUEL made in LA with these illegal signs would send a strong message.

Monday, December 14, 2009


" B MOR EFCNT" (photo: John Regenbogen)

"SAV NRGY" (photo: John Regenbogen)

Saint Louis electric utility giant AmerenUE is running a multiple billboard campaign supposedly encouraging energy efficiency. Here's a suggestion: turn off the lights!

The lighting for standard billboards, including the ones depicted above, typically use four lamps that generate about 1,600 watts of energy use per sign on average. With an estimated 500,000 billboard structures nationwide, the cumulative energy consumption of the outdoor advertising sector is certainly an eye-popping figure and worthy of analysis.

AmerenUE's environmentally-unfriendly 24/7 billboard campaign (ironically being run during the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference) not only is polluting the atmosphere unnecessarily, it is also disturbing the night sky and, if industry practice holds true, will result in thousands of square feet of vinyl wrap eventually tossed into local landfills.
UPDATE: At least AmerenUE apparantly is not using even more energy-intensive digital billboards for its campaign. According to the Central Texas -Balcones Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, the carbon output of a single digital billboard is roughly the same as 49 traditional billboards or 13 homes!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Texas DOT Advances Good Street Design, CSS

Kaid Benfield at the NRDC's Switchboard blog has a great post succinctly informing readers of the benefits of Context Sensitive Solutions in designing walkable and attractive communities and how TXDOT, of all places, is leading the way for state agencies.

TXDOT is the first to officially adopt guidelines set forth in a new manual written by the Congress for New Urbanism and the Institute for Transportation Engineers. The manual, CSS in designing Major Urban Thoroughfares for Walkable Communities, is a great tool for helping both transportation designers and community advocates implement effective projects that make communities more livable and beautiful.

With its central role in the seminal release of Flexibility in Highway Design FHWA manual in 1997, Scenic America played a critical role in helping the transportation design profession first move away from a rigid, "design/defend" process to a more progressive orientation that involves the public and better meets community needs. What was once seen as somehow heretical within the profession is quickly becoming main stream common sense.

Friday, December 11, 2009

St. Petersburg City Council Delays Digital Billboard Proposal

The Saint Petersburg City Council ended hopes of Clear Channel to secure an agreement by the end of the year to allow it to erect 10 digital billboards in exchange for the removal of traditional billboards elsewhere in the city.

Clear Channel worked in secret with the outgoing mayor on the proposal for several years, and neighborhood groups and council members were naturally concerned about the proposal unveiled to the public at the end of the mayor's term. The city's Development Review Commission and Planning and Visioning Commission both had previously recommended that the council delay action on the proposal so that a more thorough review could be conducted. The Saint Petersburg Council of Neighborhood Associations had expressed the common sense argument that a rush to approve digital billboards ahead of the upcoming release of the FHWA safety study on digitals was premature.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wind Turbines and Neighborliness

(Ridgeline Wind Turbines: Pennsylvania Resources Council, Inc.)

The Green Inc. blog at The New York Times carries an interesting post about how a federal judge has halted a large-scale wind energy project on the basis that it fails to protect an endangered species. The judge found that the endangered Indiana Bat would be harmed by the project, which is located on top of a mountain ridgeline, and that the company failed to take the proper steps to preserve the species required under the Endangered Species Act.

As the judge wisely commented, "The development of wind energy can and should be encouraged, but wind turbines must be good neighbors."

For more information on scenic issues involving wind energy projects, visit Scenic America's Wind Energy Resource Page.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

FCC Enacts "Shot Clock" Rule on Cell Tower Permits

(Illegal cell tower overlooking Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

Local zoning officals and scenic advocates need to be aware of an important rule change by the FCC requiring municipalities to act on cell tower permit applications within 90 or 150 days.

The new "shot clock" rule is a reminder to local authorities to have good rules regarding cell tower placement on hand to help guide good decision-making in a timely fashion. Poorly placed cell towers are often met with community opposition and can diminish property values and degrade the enjoyment of parks and scenic or historic areas.

For more information on the regulation of cell towers, visit Scenic America's resource page on telecommunications towers.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Toronto Passes Strict Billboard By-law and Tax

After several years of study and considerable debate, Toronto finally passed a billboard tax and strict new sign code to regulate billboards.

Illegal Signs.CA has a good synopsis of what the sweeping victory means for Toronto's landscape. The new by-law limits digital technology and will make it very difficult for new billboards to be erected. The inclusion of heavy fines should also force the removal of hundreds of illegal signs in the city-- previously, operators of these signs would simply ignore the law because of weak penalties and lack of enforcement. The tax is expected to raise $10.4 million annually, and the revenue will help the city enforce the new by-law. The expectation is that the number of billboards in Toronto will be halved over the next twenty years.

Big Billboard will seek to overturn the Council's action, of course, but the supporters of a beautiful Toronto are ready for the challenge.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pinellas County Citizens Fight Digital Billboards

On Friday, we posted on how Tampa Bay neighborhood groups are strongly opposed to a plan to allow digital billboards. But the good folks at Scenic Pinellas informed us that the fight against digital billboards is ripe throughout the Tampa-St. Pete metro area.

FOX 13 provides an excellent news piece on the situation in Saint Petersburg, where the out-going mayor supports a proposal by Big Billboard to erect 10 digital billboards in exchange for the removal of static billboards elsewhere in the city. But City Council and neighborhood groups are wary of the proposed deal, noting that the results of the long-awaited FHWA safety study on digitals are just months away.

(FOX 13:

And that's not all. Last month, Pinellas County enacted a moratorium on new digital billboards after learning that the industry seeks a larger digital roll out in the county. County engineers also have found evidence of an increase in distraction-related accidents near the location of an existing digital billboard. Undeterred, billboard companies propose that the county lower the 60 second duration between ad copy changes to every six to eight seconds.

For more, visit Scenic Florida affiliates Scenic Pinellas and Scenic St. Petersburg.

Friday, December 4, 2009

FHWA Unveils CSS Primer

(Photo: Center for Transportation and the Environment, NCSU)
Confused about what Context Sensitive Solutions is and what it can mean for your community? Well then check out FHWA's new, user-friendly CSS Primer.

The collaborative CSS process results in better transportation projects than the "our way or the highway" decision-making method of the past. CSS promotes liviable communities and sustainable transportation and allows for increased preservation of scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources.

For more on CSS, visit Scenic America's CSS resource page and

Toronto Council to Continue Debate on Monday

Although debate began this week on the future of billboards in Toronto (see prior post), City Council adjourned for the weekend and will bring up the issue on Monday.

But this excellent update from spacing toronto soundly counters an argument that one councilor made that digital signs are simply "modernization." As the blog post makes clear, light trespass for affected homeowners is more nightmarish than anything else. The post also points us to this disturbing open letter from an unfortunate soul subjected to "modernization" and a must-read 2008 LA Weekly article about how LA council members regret approving digital billboards after having had no idea what they were unleashing upon the landscape.

Tampa Bay Citizens Oppose Digital Billboards

Tampa Bay citizens and neighborhood groups are actively opposing a proposal to allow digital billboards in the city for the first time. The bill stems from a proposed legal settlement between the city and Big Billboard that hinges on the legalization of digital billboards in exchange for the removal of static billboards elsewhere. Residents voiced their opposition in a public hearing and raised concerns about the distracting nature of digital billboards, which rotate ad copy as frequently as every eight seconds and have been found to be a distraction to motorists.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Tribune passes along unusual testimony from the industry on whether digital billboards are like the moon: "If you never had any complaints about moonlight then you shouldn't have a problem with digital billboards." A more reasonable assessment of the brightness of these signs -- which an industry funded study found are ten times brighter than the surrounding area and three times brighter than traditional billboards -- comes from promotional material of a manufacturer:

"Nothing's as eye-catching as an electronic LED display. The brightly-lit text and graphics can be seen from hundreds of feet away, drawing the attention of everyone within view."

Indeed, as these unfortunate folks who happen to live in the vicinity of a digital sign in Saint Louis know, Tampa Bay residents have reason to be concerned about light trespass and distraction. Visit Scenic America's resource page on digital billboards for more on the serious safety and visual implications of these new signs.

Update: Here is another disturbing news video about how brightly-lit digital billboards are negatively affecting residents, this time in Detroit.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Historic Pittsburgh Church To Make Way for Billboards?

Preservationists in Pittsburgh are concerned about the future of the historic landmark St. Nicholas Church in Pittsburgh after Lamar Outdoor bought the property.

Lamar is seeking to erect billboards on the property as PennDOT is seeking to condemn a significant amount of billboards within the public right-of-way elsewhere in the area. But it is unclear whether it plans to raze the church building itself; preservationists are hoping to convince Lamar to allow them to covert the church into a museum on American immigration -- the parish served a Croatian population.

It is a large loss for established communities when churches close, and previous efforts by preservationists to buy the property themselves have failed. To think that a historic church could be razed for the purposes of commercial advertising is almost unimaginable.

UPDATE: Preservationists unveiled plans for the museum on Friday and will be meeting with Lamar next week. Lamar, which has not yet closed the purchase with the Diocese of Pittsburgh, hopes to erect 5 billboards on the property. It's unclear if the former church property needs to be re-zoned to accomodate the billboards.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Digital Billboards + Twitter = Epic Fail

Local tv station GM and news director suspended after embarrasing digital billboard advertisement goes awry.

Toronto Council to Finally Vote on Billboard Tax & By-law

Illegal billboard opposing billboard tax (

After much delay, Toronto City Council is finally set to take up final debate on the signs by-law and billboard tax that community groups have been working on for several years. Check out Beautiful City Toronto and Illegal Signs.CA for more on the creativity that Toronto citizens are bringing to the effort to reclaim the city's visual character from Big Billboard.

UPDATE: Yesterday's debate was ended to take up an issue concerning youth hockey; this is Canada after all. Follow the billboard debate on twitter at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sao Paulo Thrives Without Billboards

Who could ever have thought that Big Billboard's hysterical claims that Sao Paulo's decision to remove thousands of billboards in 2007 would bring massive unemployment and economic devastation to South America's largest city were laughable?

In fact, using the billboard industry's argument that the ban would result in measurable economic impacts, the move reduced the unemployment rate almost two full percentage points. Perhaps the industry wants to now argue that the way to avoid a global recession is to ban billboards?

Of course, it would be wrong to place Sao Paulo's good economic health on the billboard ban, but placing strict limits on visual pollution does improve quality of life. It is no wonder then that the ban is extremely popular with its citizens and that Buenos Aires and other cities across the globe are seeking to follow Sao Paulo's lead.

D.C. Seeks Removal of Illegal Billboards

As this case from the District of Columbia shows, strong billboard laws often are not enough to keep illegal billboards out of our neighborhoods. Without strong enforcement, well intentioned laws can fall short of cleaning up billboard blight. The illegal D.C. billboards in question are over four decades old, and only recently has the city begun efforts to remove them. In addition to inviting graffiti, neighborhood residents complain they provide "cover for public urination, drug use and dumping."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Milwaukee To Boost Tax Bill for Big Billboard

By switching to the income method to determine property tax assessments for billboards, the City of Milwaukee is expected to raise an additional $1.2 million in revenue from the two largest billboard operators in the city, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Clear Channel, which has over 800 billboards in the city, is likely to see its tax bill jump from just over $100,000 last year to over $1.1 million this year under the new method. Lamar Advertising's bill would increase from $82,000 to $320,000- a nearly 300% increase.

Clear Channel has filed suit to challenge Milwaukee's new assessment method, but the city believes a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision involving a similar case in the city of Madison gives the city an ample basis to use the income approach.

Expect more cities to follow the lead of Milwaukee by seeking increased revenues from an industry that would not exist without public investment in roads.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cleveland Officials Call Foul on LeBron Mega-Billboard

existing supergraphic allowed by city
NBA superstar LeBron James generally rules Cleveland, but a shot by Nike to replace an existing mega-billboard of the hometown hero with a more blatant commerical ad was blocked by the City Planning Commission.

The existing sign does contain the Nike swoosh, but the city approved it on the basis that it is mural art. However, the proposed new sign was determined to be an advertisement for Nike and prohibitted by the city sign code.

Although advocates might question whether the current ten-story supergraphic with a world-famous corporate logo is art, city officials nevertheless should be applauded for blowing the whistle on this latest attempt to erect a blatant ten-story supergraphic ad.

Friday, November 20, 2009

LA Law

Last month, we brought you the news out of Los Angeles that a federal judge had issued a temporary order dismissing the challenge of LA's restrictions on digital billboards. We're happy to report that her final ruling reaffirmed this decision.

But that's not all. Earlier this month a Superior Court judge struck down a controversial settlement in 2006 between a prior city attorney and Big Billboard that allowed over 800 traditional billboards to be switched to digital technology. However, the judge tampered the jubilation of scenic advoactes as he declined to void the permits of the 101 digital signs that already have been erected under the settlement agreement; instead, a case by case review of each sign may be required.

So what does the future hold for these digital bad boys? If community advocates have any say, the digitals will come down. Earlier this week, dozens of concerned citizens turned out for a city hearing on a new proposal that would order the Department of Building and Safety to stop issuing any new digital permits and to evaluate whether existing permits should be revoked.

To follow the roller coaster of legal developments, visit Ban Billboard Blight.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

FHWA Awards Scenic Byways Communities $41 Million

Communities in 43 states received nearly $41 million from the Federal Highway Administration for 160 projects to improve and promote scenic byways.

Scenic Byways grants fund a wide array of projects that enhance the byway experience for visitors.

Examples of projects that received funding for scenic preservation and enhancement include viewshed protection for North Carolina's Nantahala byway, the construction of a scenic landscape and wildlife observation deck for Wisconsin's Alma byway, a scenic pullout for South Carolina's Cherokee Foothills byway, and the development of a resource protection plan for Arizona's Navajo Nation byway.

Other grants helped support the development of marketing and interpretive materials, the construction of pedestrian and bicycle facilities, historic preservation projects, and safety improvements.

For the official FHWA press release and list of grants, click here. And don't forget to seek out America's Scenic Byways in your future travels!

San Francisco Citizens Say No to Billboards

The heft of a powerful developer and the billboard industry was no match for the grass roots efforts of scenic advocates as San Francisco voters soundly rejected Proposition D, a ballot iniative that would have created an intensive billboard district in the heart of the city.

San Francisco Beautiful led the fight to defeat the effort to lift a ban on new billboards so that the historic Market Street Street could be blanketed with intensive digital billboard advertising. The defeat of the proposition reaffirmed the strong civic pride and sense of place that make San Francisco a world class city. San Francisco Beautiful President Milo Hanke remarked, "San Francisco voters removed all doubt - they will tolerate no new billboards."

San Francisco voters blocked previous measures that would allow new billboard measures in 2002 and 2007.

The defeat of Prop D was not the only good news for scenic advocates on election day: city voters also passed Proposition E, which prohibits additional advertising on city property.

Monday, October 19, 2009

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces America's Byways Designations for 2009

Scenic America has always maintained a close working relationship with the National Scenic Byways Program, and we're happy to announce that a new round of scenic byways designations have been granted.

Click here to read the official release.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Benefits of Context Sensitive Solutions

The Transportation Research Board has released the important new report "Quantifying the Benefits of Context Sensitive Solutions."

Scenic America was an influential organization in establishing the CSS movement to have engineers and planners rethink design. By thinking beyond the pavement and an almost exclusive focus on design speed, CSS incorporates flexibility and greater stakeholder involvement in order to acheive designs that are in harmony with the aesthetic, community and natural environment.

Now that the movement has matured, research has been able to to confirm that utilizing CSS acheives better results and increased lasting value for communities. The TRB report presents helpful guidelines for agencies for quantifying the benefits of applying CSS to transportation projects and is helpful for community advocates.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Indiana OA Control "Out of Control"

The failure of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to adequately control outdoor advertising and follow the Highway Beautification Act is risking the Hoosier state $90 million in federal highway funds, reports the Post-Tribune.

The problems found by the Federal Highway Administration include numerous billboards located in areas that are illegal under federal law, and dozens, if not not hundreds, that appear to have been erected without a permit of any kind at all.

State officials believe that it may cost as much as $2.5 million to establish a proper billboard inventory and sort through the problems with lax enforcement of the law. But as the article notes, at a paltry initial permit fee of just $100 for each billboard, the billboard industry itself isn't going to pay for sorting out the mess.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Digital Driver Distraction

Scenic America applauds the Distracted Driver Summit, convened by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, for its inclusion of the safety concerns of digital billboards.

Presenter Dr. John Lee of the University of Wisconsin noted that billboards can be a cause of motorist distraction outside of vehicles. Dr. Lee also remarked that while the issue of digital billboard distraction is an active topic of FHWA research, prior studies on the issue have found that they can be a source of distraction.

In fact, the recently completed review of prior studies conducted for AASHTO found:

"...of those research studies that have addressed driver distraction and roadside billboards, nearly every empirical study undertaken since 1995, including that by Lee et al., and sponsored by the outdoor advertising industry, have demonstrated that there is an adverse relationship between distraction and digital billboards."

(link to pdf of study here.)

The bottom line is that a growing and sound body of scientific evidence has confirmed the intuitive notion that digital billboards -- essentially giant televisions on a stick that change ad copy as much as every six seconds -- pose an unnecessary safety risk.

State and local government officials need to protect the public safety and either prohibit or strongly restrict digital signs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Distracted Driving Summit webcast Wed & Thurs

The DOT will be holding a summit on the problems of distracted driving in Washington DC on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  No word on whether billboards, and digital billboards in particular, are going to be part of the conversation.  It's likely that cell phones (calling and texting) will be the primary topic of conversation, since they were the subject of a study released over the summer and it's gotten heavy play in the media.

If you'd like to watch part or all of the webcast, you can do so here.

LA Billboard Ban Upheld in Tentative Ruling

LA supergraphics photos by

Giving hope to Los Angeles' civic appearance, a federal judge refused to grant Liberty Media an injunction against the city's recent ban on digital billboards and supergraphics. Scenic advocates in LA have been on a roller coaster ride of billboard litigation for years, but with the new ordinance and a seemingly determined new City Attorney, the LA billboard industry may finally be facing a permanent setback.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Digital Downturn

The slow down in billboard advertising has hit digital billboard manufucturers hard. Daktronics, for instance, has seen sales fall to a trickle, according to its CEO. Furthermore, its two largest clients, Clear Channel and Lamar, have indicated that they will be in hibernation for the next two years, according to the Argus Leader.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tune in to America's Best Idea

Ken Burns has it right when he calls our National Parks "America's best idea."

Filmed over the course of six years at some of nature's most spectacular locales, from Arcadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Flordia to the Gates of the Artic in Alaska - The National Parks: America's Best Idea is nonetheless the story of people: people from every conceivable background... who were willing to save some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy.
Our national park system, which had preserved some of our most beautiful lands for posterity, is a signal American acheivement. And Scenic America is proud of our own commitment to preserving the scenic resources of our national parks and public lands.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reclaiming the Urban Landscape... NYC Edition

The New York Times covers the century long battle over billboards in New York City.

As the article notes, New York has had a rather restrictive ordinance over the years, but an unfortunate lack of enforcement has led to hundreds of illegal signs.

But that may soon change.

Encouragingly, the city already has begun to remove a number of billboards on city land, including some within view of the new and incredibly successful High Line trail.

And armed with a recent court decision affirming the authority of the city to strictly regulate billboards, a real possibility exists that the days of illegal billboards in New York City are numbered.

photo by Scenic America

Transportation Enhancement Funding Survives Attack

The United States Senate thwarted an unexpected and serious attack against important Transportation Enhancement (TE) funding last week.

The attack came when Senator Coburn (R-OK) sought to eliminate the requirement that states set aside at least 10% of federal highway dollars for Transportation Enhancement projects.

The TE program is a critical source of funds for projects that improve the physical and natural environment. Eligible TE projects range from billboard removal and streetscape improvements to installing wildlife crossings and bike lanes. (Visit the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse here.)

In presenting his amendment, Sen. Coburn took particular issue with "highway beautification" and wildlife enhancement projects.

While thankfully the attempt to end the 10% set-aside requirement failed, scenic advocates must work to ensure that even more funding is alloted to the program in the future. Indeed, the next long-term transportation funding bill, which sets funding priorities for the next six years, is expected to be enacted sometime next year.

Reclaiming The Urban Landscape... International Edition

The Christian Science Monitor covers the growing international movement to clean up the urban skyline from outdoor ads. Featured is the remarkable -- and increasingly successful -- crusade against illegal signs in Toronto by activist Rami Tabello (pictured above). Rami made a compelling presentation at the recent Scenic America conference in Saint Louis. The article also notes the success of Scenic America affiliate SCRUB in removing illegal billboards in Philadelphia.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Missouri Residents Share Frustration with Billboard Blight

Editorial from Post-Dispatch

Two Missourians emailed me regarding yesterday's Op-Ed piece. I pasted their comments below.

Dear Mary,
Thank you for your article in the Post-Dispatch! I live in the beautiful state of Missouri and I appreciate your organizations efforts in trying to get rid of billboards. Driving down Missouri's interstates is like watching a non-stop TV commercial. It's shameful, and an embarrassment for the state. I travel a lot throughout our state and it just makes me sick that our state and local government can't see how grotesque our landscape has become. Of course, it's real hard for them to see anything when they have dollar signs (special interests) blocking their view.
Keep up the good work,
Jeff Kezele

I could not agree more with your article on Missouri billboard proliferation in the St. Louis Post this AM. As a travel writer living in St. Louis I do a lot of driving and am always disappointed when I travel across America and compare my state to others where billboard control is so evident. Even driving between Columbia and KC the signs seem to almost disappear (not sure if it is a result of zoning) and the beauty of the countryside rushes the highway.

I am elated that the possibility of removal of even some is possible as I thought I recalled many of the permanent huge steel pole signs were erected with very long term leases.

I also remember how disappointed I was when some years ago there was some sort of legislation that resulted in a flurry of billboards being erected.

Whenever people tell me they drove across Missouri and that this is a lovely state, my first thought is always that I wonder how they saw it with all the billboards?

Jim Winnerman

Welcome to the new Scenic America blog!

Welcome to the new Scenic America blog.  This will hopefully serve as a place to discuss billboards, signs, cell towers, overhead wires and any other issue of concern to our community. 

Ideally, the blog will grow and change and be a useful resource to everyone in our movement.

Scenic America