Friday, January 22, 2010

Atlanta Board Says No to Digital Billboards

Attempts by the billboard industry to launch a wave of digital blight upon Atlanta's landscape received a great set back as the city's zoning review board unanimously accepted a city council recommendation that the amendment be defeated. Atlanta does not allow new billboards or the replacement of traditional signs with digital ones. Speaking against the amendment were a number of civic groups including Scenic Georgia and Keep Atlanta Beautiful. The recommendation to keep Atlanta free of digital billboards goes to a full Council vote February 15th.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Largo to consider FHWA digital billboard safety study

City staff and some council members in Largo, Florida wisely are seeking to ensure that the upcoming results of the Federal Highway Administration study on the safety of digital billboards are taken into consideration before the city acts on any decision to allow the new technology.

Largo is among the thousands of communities in the country that do not allow new billboards.

The FHWA study is scheduled for release in April and will provide the most comprehensive research to date on the extent of motorist distraction caused by digital billboards. It will complement an exhaustive research review conducted by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program for state transportation officials released last year that raises serious concerns about digital billboards and concluded that public officials have a growing and sound body of evidence that digital billboards pose a safety issue. A pdf of the report can be downloaded here.

More information on the safety issue and other problems of digital billboards can be found at this Scenic America resource page.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Off-Premises Ad Creep on Digital Signs

(photo: ADAM RICHINS/ Pocono Record)

With the ease of programming new ad content on digital signs, it is not surprising that some owners of on-premises digital signs that do not have a valid off-premises sign permit nevertheless may be tempted to disregard the law and put up revenue producing illegal ads. Such appears to be the case with an on-premises digital sign for a travel center in Pennsylvania that has caught the attention of PennDOT regulators.

Monday, January 18, 2010

CSS National Dialogue Webcast Event February 4th

The CSS National Dialog will hold its next workshop on February 4th in Charlotte, and registration for a free webcast is available at

The workshop will include an up-to-date overview of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) plus presentations on exemplary CSS projects with case studies selected from over 90 submissions from across the country.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Blue Ridge Parkway Turns 75!

(WPA reproduction via Ranger Doug Enterprises)

2010 marks the 75th Anniversary of one of America's most scenic drives. Visit for more information on how to celebrate this jewel of the National Park System!

NYC Officals Order Removal of Celebrity Gym Supergraphics

photo via Curbed

After being bombarded with complaints from Greenich Village residents of giant supergraphic signs on a gym located in a preservation district, New York City officials have ordered the removal of the illegal signs. Stiff fines will begin today if the ads are not removed. The New York Post has more.
Update: The owners complied with the deadline and the signs have been removed to the delight of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is Your Community Ready for America in Bloom?

The more than 200 communities from across the country that have participated in the America in Bloom contest can attest to the benefits of this wonderful, friendly competition that encourages community involvement in the beautification of their communities.

If you look around your community and are proud of where you live, it just may be ready to share its beauty through America in Bloom! The deadline for the 2010 competition is February 28th. In addition, the 2010 AIB Symposium will be held in Saint Louis September 28 - October 2nd. To find out more about the competition, symposium and resources of America in Bloom, visit its website today!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Is there a "Green" Civil War?

USGS photo: Wind energy project on BLM land in California

While the headline of "Green Civil War: Projects vs. Preservation" goes overboard, the "Room for Debate" online column in the New York Times is well worth reading as it provides a number of thoughtful comments by leading environmentalists on the tension that sometimes arises between preserving wide open spaces and using public lands for renewable energy projects.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Clear Channel Clears Out

Scenic Saint Paul passes along this video of the removal of a rooftop billboard. Kudos to the property owner for saying no to a new billboard lease!

Meanwhile, here is news story (with video) from Rock Hill, S.C. on a major street enhancement project that included a requirement that businesses replace large signs with a more appropriate 50 square foot limit.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Garbage in, garbage out

photo: Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight

Previous posts have decried the environmental damage the billboard industry inflicts upon clean air and the night sky. But billboards are also literally trash on a stick. It is estimated that every year, over 3 million billboard ads get trashed in America's landfills, generating over 10,000 tons of non bio-degradable vinyl.
While most of us wouldn't think of tossing out trash from our car windows, we really don't consider the environmental costs of billboards. These ads may have a "useful" life of a few months to get you to switch your wireless service or buy a supersized soft drink, but the vinyl is an environmental problem lasting virtually forever. Advertisers should give our landfills a break and use less environmentally damaging forms of communication than litter on a stick.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Billboard Industry Offends Working Mothers

The billboard industry executed a massive failure in London with an ad campaign attempting to prove how effective billboards are; instead, they simply offended working mothers with the message "Career women make bad mothers." Shame on these giant corporations, including U.S. based Clear Channel and CBS, for deliberately pushing this nonsense.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Park Ridge Mayor Stands Against Billboards

Billboard proponents are trying to sway city officials in Park Ridge, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, with an offer of a payment of impact and licensing fees in exchange for the right to erect four 80 foot signs along I-294. The fees could generate in excess of $500,000 over twenty years.

But the mayor is spot on that limited financial benefits that can be gained from allowing billboards is not worth the price of diminished community character. The mayor noted that Planning and Zoning voted unanimously against the proposal, and that the fees would do little for the city over the long run. Of course, as the legal wrangling in Los Angeles instructs, Park Ridge likely would be sued by other billboard companies trying to get in on the action if the proposal were approved.

Monday, January 4, 2010

LA billboard blight awards

The Los Angeles Times today continues its coverage of the billboard litigation in LA, this time with a focus on arguments that the city made unfair deals with certain billboard companies at the expense of others.

Meanwhile, LA-based Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight hands out the First Annual Ban Billboard Blight Awards.