Digital Billboards—a Community Issue
Digital billboards may be coming to Austin. Over the next 120 days there will be a community conversation about a proposal to convert some of our existing billboards to digital---to utilize digital, changeable technology to allow advertisements to change every 8 seconds. That’s 450 advertising messages every hour and over 10,000 message changes on a single billboard face every day. To have a better understanding of what this would look like in Austin, particularly at night or dusk, go to these mock-ups:
http://www.scenic.org/storage/gifs/austin3-8s-big.gif to see the “I love you so much billboard”.
http://www.scenic.org/storage/gifs/austin2-8s-sm.gif to see the billboard at Congress and Barton Springs Road, looking north toward the Capitol.
http://www.scenic.org/storage/gifs/austin-8s-big.gif to see the billboard from the Congress Avenue bridge at Congress and Barton Springs Road, looking south.
http://www.scenic.org/storage/gifs/austin5-8s-big.gif to see the billboard on South Congress heading south up the hill, next to a few on-premise signs.
Some facts about digital billboards:
Negative impacts on adjacent properties and neighborhood character: Billboards in general, and digital billboards in particular, have negative impact on the character and value of adjacent properties.
For a link to Beyond Aesthetics, How Billboards Affect Economic Prosperity, see: http://www.scenichouston.org/new-study-shows-billboards-hurt-nearby-property-values/
Also see what happened in Toronto when digital billboards came to this neighborhood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qlRkg4zFDI
Safety: Billboards are distracting to drivers and make driving in our city less safe. Digital billboards increase the distraction and make driving even less safe. http://www.scenic.org/blog/229-new-studies-indicate-digital-billboards-compromise-driver-safety
Austin compared to other markets: Austin stands with San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth and approximately 85% of all other Texas cities that currently prohibit new digital billboards. Four States, known for beauty and tourism--Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont--prohibit all billboards, digital and non-digital.
Scenic beauty: In addition to Austin being “weird”, residents understand why they and others are drawn to the region---the scenic beauty of the city and the Hill Country. Billboards, and especially digital ones, block the views of our beautiful natural & built environment. But who would think that Houston developers believe scenic beauty sells? Listen to commercial developers talking about Scenic Houston’s work and why beautiful streets and public places are critical to creating a successful business atmosphere.
Please help! As we engage the Austin area community in the conversation about digital billboards, these and many other facts need to be a part of the discussion. Join the Scenic Austin email group by contacting Girard Kinney at email@example.com or 512.472.5572.
For more information about digital billboards, go to: http://www.scenic.org/billboards-a-sign-control/digital-billboards. We are mostly a volunteer organization but will need some extra help for this campaign. Please take a moment to Donate: http://www.scenictexas.org/donate ,
Photo by Jimmy Baikovicius.