Seaside road in south Jersey benefits from local couple’s efforts

A digital billboard that kept neighbors awake and blighted a southern New Jersey seaside roadway has been taken down thanks to the determination of one local couple. As part of the settlement of the lengthy and expensive legal battle, the company that put up the Margate Causeway billboard has agreed to never operate a digital billboard along…

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Philadelphia Skyline and Schuylkill river
New study shows billboards hurt nearby property values

A new study shows that billboards negatively affect the values of neighboring properties.  It also found that cities with strict billboard controls are experiencing greater economic prosperity than those with controls that are less strict. The report, “Beyond Aesthetics: How Billboards Affect Economic Prosperity,” by urban planner Jonathan Snyder, is believed to be the first…

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High Country News investigates billboards vs. democracy

A major investigation into the systemic use of money and power by the billboard industry to subvert democracy is the cover story on the new issue of High Country News.  Senior Editor Ray Ring’s article looks at how billboard companies entrench themselves in city halls and state houses and endear themselves to some politicians with…

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Did feds botch digital billboard safety study?

It has been over two years since the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) finished a study aimed at determining whether digital billboards are distracting to drivers.  And yet, the results of the study are still unknown, FHWA having said only that the results are still under internal review. A recent investigative report by Fair Warning may…

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Investigative report exposes killing of trees by billboard industry

A new report finds that the practices of poisoning, cutting and chopping down trees to increase the visibility of billboards are more widespread than previously believed. The report, by the investigative journalism organization FairWarning, highlights several recent incidents in which it is alleged that billboard companies killed trees by poisoning or cutting.  Robert Barnhart was…

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Report says federal digital billboard safety study seriously flawed

The first comprehensive review of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) digital billboard safety study says the study’s conclusions are seriously flawed. The critique by the Veridian Group, first publicized in the newsletter of the Eno Center for Transportation, says FHWA’s study, published in 2013, fails at its principal task of determining whether digital billboards pose a…

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Rhode Island releases design guide for highway beautification practices

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and Michael Lewis, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, recently announced the release a new publication, “Rhode Island Highways-Best Practices Design Guide,” which establishes new beautification standards for design and management of infrastructure and buffer areas. Click here to download the Design Guide (PDF). The guide is user-friendly and…

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Senate Committee Moves to Revive Scenic Byways Program

A key Senate committee has moved to reinvigorate the National Scenic Byways Program. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) has voted in favor of S. 349, the “Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019,” sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD). The bill now moves on to the…

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Scenic America recognizes beautification efforts in Rhode Island

Awards were given to two Rhode Island-based organizations in recognition of their efforts to beautify area landscapes during a recent meeting of Scenic America’s Board and Affiliates at Bellevue House in Newport, home of the group’s Chairman Ronald Lee Fleming. The first award recognized the Scenic Aquidneck Coalition for securing more than $800,000 in federal…

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Meet Ralph Becker: a public advocate for America the Beautiful

By Makenna Sievertson, Scenic America intern Ralph Becker knows the political workings of billboard companies all too well. Over nearly thirty years, first as a member of the Salt Lake City planning commission, then in the Utah legislature, and finally as Salt Lake City mayor, Becker was an outspoken opponent of billboard blight. His views…

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