A plan to install hundreds of digital signs on Los Angeles bus shelters was postponed on December 15 by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works.
The Coalition for a Scenic Los Angeles was the first group to organize against the Sidewalk and Transit Amenities Program (STAP), which planned to award a contract to a provider to install new bus shelters with digital advertising screens in neighborhoods throughout the city.
According to Scenic Los Angeles President Patrick Frank, “The contract called for 800 new bus shelters with digital ad screens that would change every ten seconds. This would have been disastrous for scenic beauty, traffic safety, and property values.”
To raise local awareness and urge action on this proposal, Scenic Los Angeles mobilized public opposition, asking residents, Neighborhood Councils, and homeowner associations to call and write letters of opposition to city officials and to speak out at public hearings to demand traffic safety studies and more opportunities for public input. Neighborhood Councils throughout Los Angeles passed negative Community Impact Statements against the plan while hundreds of residents wrote in to express their concerns.
In response to environmental issues, Scenic Los Angeles made a legal argument that the project required a full Environmental Impact Report in place of a minimal review of negative impacts through the Mitigated Negative Declaration that the city offered.
“Any project that increases annual power consumption by the equivalent of 1,370 Los Angeles households just for the sake of advertising needs a very deep look,” explained Frank.
Additionally, the Scenic Los Angeles chapter and its national nonprofit affiliate, Scenic America, lobbied City Council offices, presenting research and GIS mapping correlating proposed shelter locations with pedestrian and vehicle traffic deaths, as well as pointing out the facts of power consumption of the bus shelter digital billboards.
With the city’s year-end deadline to award the contract rapidly approaching, the mounting public pressure delivered its intended impact, driving the Board of Public Works’ December 15 decision to postpone the matter for another year, delivering another significant victory to Scenic Los Angeles and its supporters to prevent more blight and traffic accidents in the city.
“We are grateful to all of the Angelenos who join us to take action against threats to scenic beauty,” said Frank. “It is clear that our work is paying off, and we are becoming better equipped to fight back.”