<body> Public Ad Campaign: City Newsstands Seek Special Treatment on Outdoor Advertising
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Monday, February 23, 2009

City Newsstands Seek Special Treatment on Outdoor Advertising

This compelling press release was sent to me from the wonderful people over at SCRUB. Like Ban Billboard Blight in LA, SCRUB is a voice for Philadelphia's public space. Through community organization and mobilization, they attempt to keep the outdoor advertising industry and the special interest groups which accompany it in line. Obviously this is quite a task and this post from them is a great example of how they motivate public awareness of issues that often would fly under the radar and yet would be responsible for the complete alteration and function of Philadelphia's public spaces. How issues like this are not more openly debated and made aware to the public is beyond me. You have to tip your hat to people who are so concerned with their public space that they make it their personal mission to do what the city government should be doing for them.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mary Tracy 215-731-1796

Philadelphia - Transforming Philadelphia's newstands into illuminated, ad-covered, video streaming, digitalized kiosks is an idea being promoted by the Newsstand Association of Philadelphia. City Council's Streets and Services Committee will hold a public hearing on the newsstand legislation, Bill 090015, on Wednesday, February 25th at 10 o'clock, Council Chambers, Room 400. The Bill, if passed, would dramatically alter the public face of Center City by exempting newsstand owners from prohibitions on non-accessory outdoor advertising signs that have been in place for over two decades.

By carving out one special interest group, newsstand owners, for an exception to outdoor advertising restrictions, City Council will have opened the floodgates to others who will want "equal treatment" under the law. Sign laws that have prevented the expansion of outdoor advertising will be challengeable. Anyone from food stand operators and street vendors to building owners and other small businesses may justifiably seek to make similar profits from erecting non-accessory signs.

There is no compelling public good served by granting customized zoning to newsstands. It will come at the expense of a deteriorating visual experience for us all and the demise of Philadelphia's model sign ordinance which has kept our City free from wall-wraps, guerrilla advertising campaigns and other types of advertising intrusions in the public space.

Please contact members of the Streets and Services Committee regarding Bill No. 090015. Or, come in person to the hearing on February 25, 2009 at 10:00 in City Council Chambers, Room 400 and voice your opinion.

To testify contact Councilman DiCicco's office to be put on the list. (See contact info below). If you cannot attend, SCRUB will be happy to submit your testimony or letter at the hearing. Please email us atscrub@urbanblight.org or fax 215-732 -5725.

Here are the phone numbers of Council Members serving on the Streets and Services Committee:

Councilman DiCicco, Chair (215) 686-3458
Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, Vice-Chair (215) 686-3448
Councilman Green (215) 686-3420
Councilman Greenlee (215) 686-3446
Councilman Jones (215) 686-3416

This photo is a simulation to show non-accessory advertising on a newstand as proposed under Bill 090015 which includes a six inch advertising banner on the top, and a 28 square foot (7x4) illuminated advertising sign below. A streaming video advertising panel and digitalized banner would be placed on sidewalk side (not shown)

A summary of advertising permitted on newstands under Bill 090015:

-A 24 inch wide video monitor with streaming video advertising
-A six inch band of advertising signage placed around the top of each newsstand covering all four sides of the newsstand; the side facing sidewalk can be digital and illuminated
-One large, illuminated, poster sized signs (7x4 feet) facing the street side
A logo or sponsorship type sign placed on the grating with the approval of the Art Commission
-An Illuminated sign (18 x 36 inches ) on each of the newsstand's two sides facing the street and sidewalk.

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