Is 2017 the year Philly finally says “goodbye” to illegal billboards?

In 2016, we saw the City of Philadelphia lose most of its control over outdoor advertising enforcement after failing to uphold its agreement with the State of Pennsylvania to enforce regulations required by the Federal Highway Beautification Act.  Weak enforcement in years past has resulted in the proliferation of illegal billboards like the one pictured below polluting the visual landscape of our city.  PennDOT now has the authority to regulate outdoor advertising on Federal Aid Highways in Philadelphia.

Illegal billboard on recreation zoned land adjacent to McDevitt Recreation Center and Roosevelt Boulevard in East Falls

Illegal billboard on recreation zoned land adjacent to McDevitt Recreation Center and Roosevelt Boulevard in East Falls

On November 29, 2016, representatives of Scenic Philadelphia met with PennDOT to discuss the billboard permitting process, which will be PennDOT’s main tool of enforcement.  PennDOT representatives explained that the permitting process could take up to two years to complete.  However, we hope that we will start seeing some of the illegal billboards come down in 2017!

At the meeting, Scenic Philadelphia provided PennDOT with information on billboards in Philadelphia that we know know to be illegal due to size, spacing, zoning, or various elements of noncompliance with the Federal Highway Beautification Act.  In addition, several other outdoor advertising topics and emerging issues in Philadelphia were discussed including recreational zoning overlay Roosevelt Boulevard, advertising on Municipal Buildings, SEPTA signage, and East Market Street digital displays.

Finally, PennDOT representatives explained the Highway Beautification Management System to Scenic Philadelphia representatives.  Using the GIS feature one can see where billboards are located that have been granted an outdoor advertising device permit by PennDOT and various information on the permitted billboards including dimensions.

Concerned about a billboard in your neighborhood? Share those concerns with PennDOT point of contact vcole@pa.gov.

Want to know what roads in Philly are Federal Aid Highways and under the purview of PennDOT?   Check out the PennDOT map or Federal Aid Highways PHL