If you want to weigh in on how you feel about electronic billboards, this would be a good time -- starting with your council person.
The city's planning department has been working on a draft of legislation that would control and set standards for the growth in this industry, and a new organization, Scenic Pittsburgh, has established to argue the case for restraint.
Walkabout is not taking sides here, but we had to find a piece of eye candy and found this one at an anti-billboard site. In the photo, the left half shows a scene in L.A., where this group is based, the right a scene in Houston, which restricts billboards.
You can read more about Scenic Pittsburgh in the Post-Gazette sometime this weekend... Sunday, I think, but I'm never sure anymore.
Short of getting details about the planning legislation, I got from a little birdie that there may be a "swap" feature in it -- a certain number of static billboards removed for each electronic one erected, for instance.
The digital message boards are great for sign companies. They can get lots of ads on one sign, thus more profits. They are a more flexible fit for small businesses that can't afford and don't need a 30-day message on a traditional billboard.
Electronic billboards are meant to get as many people's attention as possible, so busy highways and roads are obvious locations.
They are a logical next step, since electronic media are in our ears, in our pockets and, I've heard, in bed with us!
Do you like or dislike electronic billboards? Tell your council person.
Do they help you decide what to buy and where to buy it? Tell your council person.
Do they distract you while you are driving? For how long?
Are they dangerous? The industry says no, of couse; "experts" say yes.
Do they pollute (carbon dioxide) and use more electricity than traditional ones? The industry says no, of course; environmentalists are falling over themselves estimating how many houses it takes one electronic billboard to equal in greenhouse gas emissions.
Should they be limited, regulated, banned?
Is regulation of this industry just one more swipe at the rights of capitalism?