Scenic Pittsburgh

Photo by Bill Gardner / 90.5 WESA News

A national nonprofit group that promotes scenic beauty is tightening ties with its local affiliate. 

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Natalia Rudiak still remembers driving down Route 51 on a day in 2012 when she saw a billboard of her face being put up. 

Bill Gardner / 90.5 WESA

The language on the controversial black and yellow Sprint advertisement that blankets part of Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington has been changed, amid legal battles over the sign’s permit.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh nonprofit wants to replace the controversial black and yellow Sprint sign on Mt. Washington with a Hollywood-style letter sign.

Scenic Pittsburgh sent a letter to Louisiana-based Lamar Advertising, which owns the 7,200-square-foot billboard, asking them to donate or sell the property to the organization. Lamar is in a legal battle with the city of Pittsburgh, which claims the company is violating zoning regulations.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The 7,200-square-foot yellow Sprint advertisement along Mt. Washington was deemed unlawful by the City of Pittsburgh’s Zoning Board of Adjustments last week. The city is now insisting the sign be removed.

In 2008, billboards adjacent to a suburban highway in Israel were covered up, and accidents were analyzed compared to data from 2006 and 2007, when the billboards were visible. 

There was a significant decrease in the number of total accidents and in accidents with injuries. Damage-only accidents were not significantly affected.

Mike Dawida, executive director of Scenic Pittsburgh, has sent a letter asking Pennsylvania state legislators to make Pennsylvania highways safer by regulating billboards. 

Bayer Corp. decided to pull the plug on its 30-foot tall Mt. Washington sign Thursday, ending a 21-year-old contract with Lamar Advertising.

With the future of the billboard up in the air, nonprofit group Scenic Pittsburgh is asking for community input via a Facebook survey.

Mike Dawida, Scenic Pittsburgh executive director, said the majority of people polled want to see some kind of change made to the more than 90-year-old sign.