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Billboard Ban Passed, but What About Digital Taxi 'Billboards'?

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Photo by pd88 via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Along with a moratorium on foreclosure-related evictions, the LA City Council yesterday also passed a three-month moratorium banning any new signs (billboards, supergraphics and the conversation to digital billboards) for three months while the City Attorney and Planning Department draft permanent changes to the City’s sign ordinance to better regulate advertising in the City.

It's been a long battle just to get to this point--since 2002--and it's definitely not over yet.

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"We can be sure that lobbyists for the sign companies and development interests that want revenue from new billboards as part of their projects will be getting their point of view heard," warned Dennis Hathaway of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight in an e-mail statement. "So we must make sure that the public's point of view gets equal time, so that we stop the proliferation of signs that threatens to turn our city's visual landscape in one vast sea of advertising."

But all this talk has us thinking about another type of billboard--the ones atop taxi cabs.

Driving down the 101 one night last month, my eyes, my head, my attention to the road was diverted as a taxi with a digital sign on top of it rolled by on the other side of the freeway. It wasn't that I wanted to look at it and see it's message, it was one of those "what the fuck are those crazy lights doing on the freeway and do I need to something about it" reactions.

Once understood that it was just a dumb taxi with a moving ad, all was well. But driving at freeway speeds with moving mini digital billboards is more of a safety issue than any billboard that's stationary.

Maybe it's already a law that you can't do that or maybe this taxi was ahead of the curve for Los Angeles. Whatever the case may be, we don't look forward to seeing an increase in them.