Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: billboards


Digital signs on state highways? Don’t go there

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Here’s something you don’t hear a lot of Washington residents saying:

“Sure wish we had more billboards cluttering up the landscape – especially the big, really bright kind you can hardly take your eyes off of.”

These signs don’t have a lot of fans among the public, who tend to view them as visual blight. So it’s hard to figure out who, exactly, state lawmakers are trying to please in sponsoring House Bill 1408 and Senate Bill 5304, which would let cities approve electronic billboards along state highways that cross their boundaries. (State Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, is the only South Sound legislator among the co-sponsors.) Read more »


Study finds digital billboards more dangerous than we thought

A front-page story in Friday’s USA Today is giving billboard haters fresh ammunition.

According to the article, the Scenic America organization is citing a new Swedish study as showing that digital billboards are more distracting than previously thought, holding drivers’ gazes far longer than deemed safe – more than two seconds.

A 2006 Virginia Tech study for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Scenic America says, “found that anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road for more than two seconds greatly increases the risk of a crash.  The study also found that nearly 80 percent of all crashes involved driver inattention just prior to (within three seconds of) the crash.” Read more »


Click ads at odds with residents’ anti-billboard fervor

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

For many Tacomans, big billboards are anathema, a blight on the city. At packed meetings, residents pleaded with city officials to continue fighting the major billboard company, Clear Channel Outdoor, which wants to replace its static signs with digital ones that change the message on a regular basis.

So what about all that makes Tacoma Public Utilities officials think that the public would be happy about advertising its city-owned Click Network on billboards?

In December – four months after the City Council voted to update its outdoor sign ordinance by banning digital signs and getting rid of 190 nonconforming ones – Click contracted with Clear Channel to advertise on many of those same nonconforming signs. Its one-year contract funnels $105,415 to Clear Channel for at least 13 billboards and accompanying production costs.
Read more »