Coming Soon? More Freeway Advertising Signs in Downtown L.A.

Shaded area of downtown L.A. to be exempted from state sign laws.  Metropolis project site outlined in bright red.

Shaded area of downtown L.A. to be exempted from state sign laws. Metropolis project site outlined in red.

The Chinese developer of the Metropolis project now rising beside the 110 Freeway in downtown L.A. might be excused for wondering why there’s any fuss over its bid to exempt the billion-dollar retail, hotel and condo complex from a state law forbidding commercial advertising visible to freeway traffic.

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Proposed Alcohol Ad Ban Finally Sees Some Action

An effort to ban alcohol advertising on city-owned property in L.A. has finally taken an important–if tentative–step forward after languishing for almost ten months in the City Council’s public safety committee.

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Bright New Digital Ads For Downtown Freeway Drivers

Area planned for 7 large scale digital billboards adjacent to 110 freeway. Building in background to be demolished for new NFL stadium.

If AEG gets its way–and when hasn’t it?–more than a dozen large new digital billboards will face freeway drivers passing the L.A. Convention Center, L.A. Live, and the yet-to-be-built NFL stadium called Farmers Field. This sea of ever-changing brightness and color is being proposed by AEG despite the fact that back in 2009 the City Planning Commission turned thumbs down on digital billboards beaming their sales pitches from the convention center facade to the half million motorists negotiating the adjacent freeway interchanges.

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Sign Company Lobbying: Raining Money on City Hall

Billboard companies and others with a vested interest in sign regulations spent more than $1.1 million lobbying city councilmembers and other city officials in 2011, according to reports filed with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.

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What Do the Lobbyists Want? More Signs, Bigger Signs, Brighter Signs

One of L.A.’s most influential business organizations calls the city’s ban on new billboards and other off-site signs a “detrimental regulation” and says the city council took a “step in the wrong direction” when it unanimously passed that ban almost 12 years ago. One of L.A.’s largest law firms, with 22 registered lobbyists on its payroll, wants the city to allow full-motion video billboards, signs almost 50 per cent taller than currently allowed, and an unlimited number of new signs alongside freeways.

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Back From the Dead? Reviled Plan for Billboards on Iconic Convention Center Towers

Pei-designed entry tower at South Hall of L.A. Convention Center (billboard simulation, right)

When a proposal to put 50,000 sq. ft. of billboards on the facade of the L.A. Convention Center came before the City Planning Commission two years ago, one element got a big raspberry from commissioners. That was the plan for billboards covering much of the distinctive glass entry towers designed in the early 90’s by the firm founded by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei.

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Playing With Fire? Raising Revenue By Allowing Billboards On Public Property

Simulation of L.A. Convention Center billboards

On January 6, 2009, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a nationally-watched case that the city of Los Angeles could legally allow commercial advertising signs in bus shelters and other items of “street furniture” while banning the same kind of signs on private property. But does that ruling mean that the city can raise revenue by allowing billboards and other signs anywhere it wants on public property without putting its off-site sign ban in legal jeopardy?
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No Contest? Community Activists vs. Sign Company and Business Lobbyists

At last week’s City Council committee hearing on a new sign ordinance, a total of 29 community activists and neighborhood council representatives spoke of their concerns that weaknesses in the ordinance would lead to a proliferation of billboards and digital signs and open up public property, including city parks, to commercial advertising.

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Advertising Overload? Many New Billboards Planned For Downtown L.A. Freeways

Aerial view of L.A. Convention Center and freeway interchange. Billboards would cover curved facade facing freeway. (Google Maps)

The I-10/ Highway 100 (sic) interchange has an estimated 550,000 vehicles pass through the area per day, making it one of the most heavily traveled intersections in the United States. Consequently, it features a high level of saturation from an advertising standpoint. There are already numerous billboards located adjacent to the interchange–many of which are controlled by LA Outdoor and CBS Outdoor–making the area susceptible to clutter and advertising overload.–From Draft Memorandum of Understanding between City of Los Angeles and Anschutz Entertainment Group, which calls for 41 new signs totaling almost 50,000 sq. ft. in that area.

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Creative Math? AEG Counts Revenue From Convention Center Signs That Haven’t Been Approved

At last Monday’s town hall meeting on a proposed NFL stadium and convention center expansion downtown, AEG president Tim Leiweke said that revenue from advertising signs on the convention center facade would help pay debt service on the nearly $300 million in bonds the city would issue to finance that expansion. But even though Leiweke spoke of commitments and guaranteed revenue from advertisers, that signage proposed for the freeway-facing facade at the heavily trafficked confluence of the 10 and 110 freeways has never been approved by the city council.

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