November 5th, 2008
Billboards Brighten Los Angeles Night, to the Anger of Many
By Rebecca Cathcart
The New York Times
The night sky above Polly Osborne’s home — and the bedroom she shares with her husband — began to glow several months ago, when a digital billboard went up at an intersection behind her tree-lined street in Westwood. She and her husband, Tim Curnen, are not alone. Throughout Los Angeles in recent months, people have complained that bright LED screens are shining across their neighborhoods, intruding into their homes and distracting drivers on the city’s roads.
Long before electronic signs began showing up here about a year ago, Los Angeles had lost control of its proliferation of billboards. No one really knows how many there are (most estimates range from 10,000 to 11,000), and regulations that do exist have often been ignored.
That disorganization has left Los Angeles ill prepared to control the wave of digital signs sweeping outdoor advertising, said Kevin E. Fry, president of Scenic America, a nonprofit group that works to reduce outdoor signage.