City to host digital-sign ordinance review!

Right, that's the good news: Public input is being sought on the much-reviled 2007 digital-billboard pilot program, which gifted the city with 13 bright "variable-message" signs, many of them overlooking our scenic byways, all but one operated by SA-based media giant and political player Clear Channel.

But, that of course means: The city is considering proposing a new ordinance this year, so these four meetings are your opportunity to weigh in on their safety, aesthetic appeal, and the takedown provision that requires a certain amount of vinyl billboard space to be retired for every new digital face (ours sounds good, numbers-wise, but isn't very demanding when it comes to tradeoff locations). Citizens who are opposed to the signs might wish to bring highway-safety expert Jerry Wachtel's new study, the upshot of which is that several our signs are a hazard thanks to their short dwell time and locations near exit/entrance ramps and spaghetti bowls.

Speaking of Wachtel, we also wonder at the rush: earlier this year, City staff asked for an extension until October for its required safety study of the city's new signs (a study that won't mean much, says Wachtel, thanks to poor data and methodology), and the federal government hasn't yet issued its big review.

Here's the schedule of public meetings:

3pm Monday, June 22, Cliff Morton Development & Business Services Center, 1901 S. Alamo, 2nd floor, training room A

6pm Wednesday, June 24, Cody Branch Library, 11441 Vance Jackson

6pm Monday, June 29, McCreless Branch Library, 1023 Ada Street

6pm Monday, July 6, Memorial Branch Library, 3222 Culebra

In the meantime, you can read our coverage of the local digital-billboard issue here (scroll down to See Also for related stories), and study Wachtel's report here. (Scroll to the bottom of the short post and click the download link.)