An open letter to TXDOT – Please Don’t Mess With Texas! Stop Electronic Billboards!
Thank you for listening to our concerns. We are very opposed to LED billboards in Texas and hope you will help stop them from coming to our community.
First, I see no public purpose in allowing bright, changing commercial advertisements to leap into our vehicles when we are supposed to be watching the road. We are already bombarded with commercial advertising—pop-up ads on our computers, fliers in the mail, telemarketers on our land lines and cell phones, and of course traditional billboards. What is the public purpose of allowing more invasive, unnecessary commercial ads to bombard us while we’re driving?
Second, this seems to be a very dangerous proposition. We understand that TxDOT has not performed a safety study on this technology but is instead relying on studies funded by the billboard industry, the very industry responsible for the visual pollution in the first instance (please advise us if this is not true). As taxpayers, this is nearly impossible to comprehend. We rely on TxDOT to build safe transportation systems. Surely that does not include allowing changing electronic commercial messages to be displayed along our roads without determining whether it’s safe. Clear Channel’s President says, “You can’t avoid it. There’s no mute button. There’s no on-off switch.” We can buy spam blockers for our computers, put our names on no-call lists, sign up to stop trash mail, and even fast forward through TV commercials, but if TxDOT allows this to happen, we can’t do anything to avoid it. TxDOT must be our permanent off-switch for electronic billboards. Where’s the unbiased safety study for the taxpayers’ benefit?
Third, this rule puts our homes, our families and our property values at risk. Please consider what is happening in other cities around the country. In a neighborhood in where the city council voted to allow these sign, adjacent homeowners are living with unnecessary commercial ads flooding their homes and excessive noise being emitted from the constant humming of the fan. In their own home and yards, children are unable to play and sleep without the annoyance of the changing commercial ads and hum of the signs. In Texas, our quality of life will be degraded and nearby properties will be devalued. Our children could be exposed to sexually explicit advertisements in living color. How does the rule protect every home, every child and adjacent property values?
Fourth, there are no local voters in the ETJ and most city ETJs are rural. We understand that your rule will allow these signs in unincorporated areas that circle our cities. These are places where the residents have no vote on city council, and that’s just not right. At a minimum, let the local voters decide. Most of the unincorporated ETJ’s in Texas are very rural. Why would TxDOT allow this in rural Texas?
Finally, nobody likes billboards. Except for those in the billboard industry, we have never heard anyone say they like billboards. In fact we understand that better than 80% of Texans think we have enough or too many billboards. If that is the case, why would TxDOT consider making them even more invasive with bright, changing and obvious messages?
Texas is the home state of Lady Bird Johnson, one of America’s leading visionaries in KEEPING OUR COUNTRY BEAUTIFUL. It is shameful that Texas has never “signed on to” the U.S. Highway Beautification Act. Let us support Lady Bird’s pride in her home state by not allowing LED Billboards to MESS WITH OUR SCENIC TEXAS BEAUTY!
In the public’s best interest we urge TxDOT to continue the current prohibition of these signs. Thank you for considering our comments.
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The only way to let TxDot know your opinion on the LED issue is to write them by Dec. 6th (125 E. 11th St. Austin 78701). If you would like to sign the letter published here, you may do so at Texas Proud in the Courthouse or at Real Foods on the Square.