August 3, 2009
Don't get Mary Tracy started about those newfangled electronic billboards cropping up on the nation's highways - that is, unless you have the time to talk. The antibillboard activist and founder of Philadelphia-based SCRUB - which bills itself as "the Public Voice for Public Space" - sees the flashing billboards as a bane to distracted drivers and the environment. With changing messages flashed on these signs every few seconds, motorists have been known to slow while waiting for the next image.
November 29, 1993
Finally, billboards are getting the attention they deserve - at least, when it comes to keeping them off parkwaylike interstates such as the pristine Blue Route (I-476). Over the summer, suburban officials in the Montgomery and Delaware County communities through which the road passes were admirably quick to demand the state's scenic-byways designation for the Blue Route, in order to stop two sign companies from erecting seven billboards. And now this month, a coalition of 35 organizations spearheaded by Scenic America has helped turn back a little-known effort in Congress to strip billboard protections from the federally created scenic-byways program itself.
June 18, 2011
Marion Fuller Brown, 94, who as a state representative in Maine sponsored legislation that banned billboards throughout the state - a law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court - died June 3 at her farm in York, Maine. Ms. Fuller Brown, who also was a founder of Scenic America, a national organization dedicated to preserving the visual character of America's countryside, served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1966 to 1972. It was during her last term that Ms. Fuller Brown sponsored the law banning from state roads what are called off-premises billboards - those not on the site of the business being advertised.
April 20, 2013 |
Mount Laurel Township, long synonymous with landmark court cases mandating affordable housing, can also lay claim as a town that pushed back against billboards. On Monday, the national beautification group Scenic America will honor the town's leaders and residents for successfully defending the right of municipalities to restrict billboards within their borders. The national organization's president, Mary Tracy, is to present its Stafford Award to the township at Monday's council meeting.
November 21, 2000 |
A national conservation organization has named Cooks Creek one of its 10 Last Chance Landscapes. This pristine watershed is home to active farmland that is imperiled by residential development - the reason that Scenic America, a conservation group, accepted the Springfield Township Historical Commission's nomination of the creek. The designation, however, does not protect the land. Rather, the purpose is to promote conservation of scenic landscapes. Trout, the endangered bog turtle, and other species live in the creek watershed and its tributaries, which cover approximately three-quarters of the township, located in Bucks County.
November 23, 1993 |
A congressman from Michigan has ensured that there will be no new billboards on Interstate 476, the Blue Route, at least for the time being. On Sunday, Democratic Rep. John Dingell effectively blocked a transportation bill containing language that would have made it easier for billboards to be erected on certain sections of scenic highways, such as the Blue Route. Dingell successfully insisted that his version of the legislation be considered, and the full House overwhelmingly passed his proposed bill.
March 24, 2015
MARY C. TRACY, executive director of Scenic Philadelphia and president of Scenic America, is a thorn in the side of the billboard industry. Her activism started 25 years ago, when, as a stay-at-home mother, the former public-school teacher rallied her neighbors to fight an illegal billboard in Overbrook Farms. "I really believe that residents and visitors should be treated as citizens, and not as consumers," she said yesterday afternoon, before going up to her Washington Square roof deck to take in a view of the city she loves.
January 30, 2013
With his second veto of a proposal to place a huge digital billboard along the Vine Street Expressway, Mayor Nutter couldn't have made the right city policy much clearer to City Council - other than by posting the mayoral veto on a giant flashing sign of his own. Council members should take Nutter's message to heart this week in the event that the sign proposal's author, Councilman Mark Squilla, goes ahead with an effort to override the veto. Even if a share of the ad revenue from the billboard, to be affixed to the Electric Factory at Seventh and Callowhill Streets, supports programs at three nearby schools - a chief selling point, Squilla says - it's clear that the sign would be ill-advised in many ways.
August 21, 2007 |
Praised by police, criticized by scenic conservationists and driver-safety groups, and hugely profitable for their owners, digital billboards are about to enter the Philadelphia area. ClearChannel Outdoor, the largest outdoor advertising company, announced that it would have eight 14-by-48-foot video billboards - with images or ad messages that change every eight seconds - on major highways this year from Bucks County through the city and south into Delaware County. ClearChannel did not waste time.