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The Case Against Electronic Billboards

The president of Scenic America has come from Washington, D.C. to speak in favor of a bill before Pittsburgh City Council that would ban additional electronic billboards. A public hearing is scheduled for 1:30 PM tomorrow afternoon.

President Mary Tracy said a recent study shows even regular billboards have a negative economic impact on residents and communities, with homes within 500 feet of one selling for $30,000 less than those further away. Furthermore, cities with strict sign controls have a higer median income and fewer vacant properties.

Environmental negatives include "energy guzzling," said Tracy, and the cutting down of trees to enhance visibility. Drivers and pedestrians are dangerously distracted by the bright, moving lights on electronic billboards, which also detract from distinctive geographical features and natural beauty.

Tracy said city residents should urge City Council members to restrict electronic billboards because the industry is constantly touting them as a new technology essential to a modern city. "Nothing could be further from the truth," said Tracy.