Amendments Accepted, Billboard Bill Scheduled for Final Vote December 11, 2014


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The Amendments to Billboard Bill No. 130565 have been accepted and are slated for final vote on December 11, 2014. While the conditions proposed in these amendments are overall an improvement from the original bill, Scenic Philadelphia will continue fighting against the intrusion of digital billboards and other forms of urban blight into our city’s neighborhoods.

Many thanks to those who have made a donation to Scenic Philadelphia to support our work.    


The highlights of the amendments are as follows: Most neighborhoods escaped the nuisance of digital billboard conversions, except those near I-76 and I-95.

Today’s amendment requires removal of 2 billboards in exchange for 1 digital conversion. (Increase from 1 yesterday).

Amendment allows for maximum brightness measurement of 450 nits at night instead of 700. (Better than 700 nits but 3.5 times brighter than conventional billboard’s 125 nits).

Unfortunately, billboard owners will be permitted to increase sign height to be seen over the sound barriers and highway directional signs over highway. We recommend using clear sound barriers to avoid the need to raise heights.

Customary Maintenance will allow for the reconstruction of foundations of non-conforming billboards, but PROHIBTS changing sign to digital, or increasing size, height, etc.

Timing. The duration of each display is still eight (8) seconds. We asked for 60 seconds.


Please view the full text of the accepted Amendments to Billboard Bill Number 130656 below.



Driving In and Around Philadelphia


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Hello Scenic Philadelphians!

Please check out a couple of videos that we prepared after driving around our city. The first video takes the viewer through South Philly and all around the city’s major thoroughfares and interstates. The second video highlights the roadways along the Delaware River.

While you watch these videos, be sure to notice how billboards and urban blight obstruct scenic vistas, mar our city’s corridors, and act as distractions for drivers!  Try to imagine how these shots would look without these billboards, and of course, enjoy the abundant urban beauty that have not yet been marred by outdoor advertising.

With that said, sit back, relax, and enjoy these two short driver’s-eye-view videos!

Scenic Pittsburgh on 1410AM KQV


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Scenic Pittsburgh’s Executive Director, Mike Dawida, is being featured on 1410 KQV News Radio throughout this afternoon. Be sure to tune in for his comments on how digital billboards are a danger to drivers.

If you’re in the greater Pittsburgh area, tune in to 1410 AM radio, otherwise click here to stream over the web.

Also, be sure to sure to check out the work that Scenic Pittsburgh is doing at their web page.

LED Light a “Toxic Stress” on Retina; Children Advised to Avoid Sources


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In connection with our post from a couple weeks ago, more disturbing news related to the health effects of LED lights.

Anses, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, has reported that the intense blue light emitted by LED diodes, like those found on digital billboards, is a “toxic stress” on the retina, with a “severe dazzling risk.”Additionally, “youngsters are particularly sensitive to this risk as their eyes are still developing.” The report goes on to recommend “avoiding the use of light sources rich in blue in places frequented by children.”

Artist depiction of a proposed digital billboard at the Franklin Institute.

Artist depiction of a proposed digital billboard at the Franklin Institute.

Should we really be allowing the construction of LED billboards in public places?

English news article on the report can be found here.
Anses’ translated report summary can be found here.
A PDF of the full report (Francophones only!) can be found here.

Billboard Owner Sues City of Madison, WI for Blocking Views with Bike Bridge


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As Madison, Wisconsin has recently discovered, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!

Beltline billboard

A billboard advertising company is suing the city of Madison for constructing a bike overpass bridge that has blocked its view from traffic, “contending the value of the sign and property had been ‘substantially devalued.'” Link to the article here.

Two points of note:
1. Had the billboard not been built, and the advertiser never had a chance to claim rights to public sight-lines, this lawsuit could have been avoided.
2. It’s interesting that nearby homeowners did not sue the advertiser when his billboard most likely reduced their property values!


In Cities Across Texas, Activists Battle Billboard Companies


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Don Glendenning, president of Scenic Dallas, stands with volunteer Marc Shidid below one of Dallas' new digital billboards.

Don Glendenning, president of Scenic Dallas, stands with volunteer Marc Shidid below one of Dallas’ new digital billboards. (John Burnett/NPR)

Kudos to our affiliates in Texas, who are working hard to prevent the spread of visual pollution in their cities and along their highways.

“In Texas, 388 cities — including most large and medium-size cities — have ordinances prohibiting new billboards.”

Link to the NPR article here.

Show Us YOUR Scenic Philly!


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Do you have a favorite building in Philadelphia? Know of a green oasis you want to share with the world? Maybe some spectacular public art, or a perfect view of the Schuykill?

Row houses on South Street.

Row houses on South Street.

We want to see YOUR Scenic Philly! is the place to post pictures of your favorite architecture, parks, neighborhoods, art, and views. If you’re on Instagram, please be sure to tag us in all your Philly pictures and follow us @myscenicphilly

This is your city–what do YOU love about it?

Scenic Summer Soirée Success!


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Our Scenic Summer Soirée was a huge success! We have always believed that beauty is good for business, and we were delighted to have local entrepreneur and author Judy Wicks elaborate on this idea and read excerpts from her recent book “Good Morning, Beautiful Business.” Visit to learn more about her work!


Judy Wicks reads excerpts from her recent book “Good Morning, Beautiful Business.”

Thanks to all our attendees for coming out and supporting the effort to keep Philadelphia beautiful!

All our pictures from the Soirée can be viewed on our Facebook page. While you’re there, be sure to Like ScenicPhiladelphia so you can stay up to date on news, events, and more! If you have any photos from the event you would like to share, please tag us by typing “@ScenicPhiladelphia” as a comment on the picture.



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People are profoundly impacted by the appearance of their surroundings. An attractive visual environment positively affects a city’s economic, cultural, and social development.


We believe that citizens are our best hope for improvement and that all residents, regardless of income, education or neighborhood should benefit from laws protecting their built environment.

Contact Us!

Our Office is located at 1315 Walnut Street, Suite 1605.  Call us at 215-731-1796 or send us an e-mail at


Billboard Update in Northern California: Third Hurdle Overcome, but Victory Not Yet Final

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The northern California city of Albany – near Berkeley and San Francisco – was able to overturn a billboard ordinance the City Council had approved in March that would have allowed a digital billboard on a new maintenance building currently under construction. Scenic East Bay was able to advise them to work together and mount a successful grassroots campaign against the ordinance with help of Sierra Club and especially former City Council member Robert Cheasty.

image003Five members of the public spoke at the City Council meeting on July 21st, including one representative of the Sierra Club.  They argued how digital billboards would adversely affect enjoyment of the waterfront, traffic safety, property values, and wildlife.  Ultimately, four City Council members voted in favor of overturning ordinance.  One council member voted against overturning it.


To finalize the ordinance change, there will be a confirmatory vote, most likely at the September 2nd City Council meeting. Monitor this website for the meeting agenda, and visit for updates on the campaign.