Trutanich to Santa Monica: Your Buses with Digital Ads Aren’t Welcome in L.A.

Santa Monica bus on an L.A. residential street. A proposed state law would allow the advertisement under the window to be digital and change as rapidly as every 2.7 seconds.

The prospect of electronic ads on the sides of Santa Monica buses that also run on L.A. streets has drawn sharply-worded criticism from L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who expressed concerns about public safety and the environmental impacts of the bright, rapidly-changing signs.

“We have serious concerns about the public’s safety in the face of large, rapidly changing or streaming signs moving at speeds on city streets,” Trutanich said in a letter sent today to the sponsor of a California Assembly bill that would enable the signs. “We also have unanswered questions about the potential environmental impacts of these signs and whether they will be studied and mitigated in full by the city of Santa Monica.”

In his letter to Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, Trutanich said he asked in July that the bill be amended to prohibit the buses from running outside the city limits of Santa Monica. After being refused by Brownley’s staff, Trutanich said his office asked that L.A. be allowed to regulate the operation of the signs on buses that entered the city, but that  requests was also rejected.

The bill, which has passed both the Assembly and State Senate, is needed because state law limits any electronic signage on buses to bus numbers and route information. The bill is currently pending action by the assembly on several amendments added by the senate.

For more details on the proposed signs, see Another Assault on L.A.’s Public Spaces: Digital Ads on Buses.   To listen to a discussion on KPCC’s “AirTalk” with Brownley and the president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, click here.

The crosswalk in the photo below is just steps from a stop for Santa Monica buses on Lincoln Blvd. in Venice.  The warnings were painted last year by community activists concerned over a number of serious car-pedestrian accidents,  and several persons have expressed alarm over the prospect of buses with the attention-catching signs added to the mix of heavy traffic at the intersection.


Dennis Hathaway

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