Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Unlike Charlotte, Durham nixes digital billboards

Just spotted this article in the Raleigh News & Observer - the Durham City Council has turned unanimous thumbs down on a proposal to allow digital billboards.

Interesting. Charlotte, of course, allows them, having voted 8-2 in 2007 (council members Michael Barnes and Warren Turner were the "no" votes) to loosen the city's already loose billboard standards to allow the large and distracting TV-screen like signs.

The article about Durham says Durham's "City/County Planning Department recommended against the change in a strongly worded presentation that raised concerns about digital signs as motorist distractions and costly litigation that could be invited by tampering with an ordinance the city has already spent more than $1 million defending against industry challenges."

Other cities that ban digital billboards include Chapel Hill, Morrisville, Cary and Raleigh.


Daniel said...

It's no surprise that cities Wake County and Triangle bannded electronic billboards as most of those communities have strong sign ordinances to begin with. Electronic billboards are more commonly seen in more metropolitan areas like Atlanta, Boston, LA, new York, and your guessed it...Charlotte. I have no problem with these billboards as I think they are sharper looking, more up to date in their content and give Charlotte a more metropolitan feel. I would argue with Mary that the removal of these billboards would not make the freeways or industrial areas they occupy more scenic than they are now. It's not like we'd be rustic like the Blue Ridge Parkway or Vermont if they disappeared, two places I will go when I want scenic beauty, but not when I go to work every day.

Ghoul said...

Billboards are foreign in Mary's world because they are advertising, something the Observer gave up on long ago.

Timothy Whitson said...

I for one have never understood sign ordinances in an urban environment. I agree with Daniel that you'd never want much signage on the Parkway but Charlotte? Particularly when signs from yesteryear add a touch of "nostalgia" to certain parts of town. I think the whole "roof" sign ordinance was the stupidest waste of taxpayer money. A lot of those "tacky" signs were landmarks that people who actually were born here remembered when they thought about home.

Timothy Whitson said...

One other point; Chapel Hill has a very strict sign ordinance. I agree, the town looks "homey", but have you ever tried to find a business there? They limit a business to a sign about the size of a license tag. We drove past Pizza Hut a couple of times before locating it.

Sam said...

They don't allow such unsightly things such as billboards up at good old liberal Haaaaaaavvvvaaad.

Charlotte Observer - "We Luv Libs"

Stan said...

Nothing wrong with the electronic billboards, as long as they don't change often enough to distract drivers. Also, this guarantees that the immediate area around the billboard will be maintained (grass cut, etc.) because someone will have to service the electronics from time to time. It looks a lot better than billboards that end up having layers of paper peeling off them.

John said...


How's your research on William Lind and his alleged "Center" coming? This is my THIRD request. You will recall my original observations and query:

Googling "American Conservative Center for Public Transportation" returns NINE hits, ALL of which have some relation to this ONE article of Mr. Lind's.

It appears that this "Center" has:

- no website
- no street address
- no phone number
- no members other than Mr. Lind

Can you provide any evidence at all that the "Center" is a genuine and authentic organization?

WashuOtaku said...

I personally don't like the digital billboards, especially since I sometimes have a hard time reading them. I have no problem if other counties or towns say no to them.

Bréanainn Séaghdha said...

But what will people entertain themselves with while they sit in rush hour traffic for 45 minutes? The radio?? ugh. This is why my car has a 20 inch LCD in the passenger seat, so I can watch HD movies on demand while I drive through those sections of highway sadly void of billboard signage.

Building signage should be easy to notice however. In fact, Raleigh changed their laws a few years ago to allow for larger building signage, which the bank towers quickly took advantage of.

Escapist said...

Electronic Billboards are fine. I have a big problem with the endless sea of shoddy pole signs that line N. Tryon, S. Tryon and Independence Blvd.

Stand at the corner of Sugar Creek and N. Tryon and look toward University City - KFC, Pep Boys, and Bojangles as far as the eye can see.

Anonymous said...

LED signs I think are more effective than any other.

LED signs