A number of City Council members seem poised to take on the billboard industry in Cincinnati. Councilman Chris Bortz thinks billboards, along with those advertising benches at bus stops and racks that hold newspapers, cut into Cincinnati’s overall curb appeal. I would strongly agree with that notion. The problem doesn’t lie with the stance, but rather the billboard powers at be. Taking on this industry has proven to be a very difficult task to say the least.
For some communities its the superfluous newspaper stands and bus benches that restrict pedestrian flow/activity in their business districts. For others its the brightly illuminated billboards that prove to be undesirable for residents living nearby. Not to mention these billboards are almost always an eyesore for everyone who has to see them on a regular basis.
Maybe what the city should do is look into creating a streetscaping plan that requires all streetscaping items to have a specific look/appeal to them (much like what is done for lighting and signage). This has been done recently in places like NYC and Toronto, where they are striving to improve the curb appeal of their cities by creating coordinated street-furniture plans.
An important piece to this effort, in my opinion, is that the city include the neighborhood business districts that make the city special and not just put it into action downtown. Downtown is great, but these neighborhood centers are the foundation of our great city. I’m sure they will lend much support to this effort!