Metro, no stranger to advertising on its buses and rail lines, is looking to invest in some non-rolling billboards.
Next week, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission is scheduled to review Metro's proposed "Transportation Communication Network", a sprawling sign district which could lead to the construction of up to 86 digital billboards at 49 Metro-owned properties across the City of Los Angeles. The proposed plan would also call for Metro to remove 200 existing off-site signs on its properties.
The new digital signs, as noted in a staff report, would be located within 22 of the city's 35 community plan areas, including Arleta-Pacoima (2 signs), Boyle Heights (4), Central City (3), Central City North (5), Encino-Tarzana (1), Granada Hills-Knollwood (1), Hollywood (2), LAX, (1), Northeast Los Angeles (4), North Hollywood - Valley Village (4), Palms - Mar Vista - Del Rey (1), Sherman Oaks - Studio City - Toluca Lake - Cahuenga Pass (3), Southeast Los Angeles (2), South Los Angeles (2), Silver Lake - Echo Park - Elysian Valley (1), Sun Valley - La Tuna Canyon (2), Sylmar (1), Van Nuys - North Sherman Oaks (2), West Adams - Baldwin Hills - Leimert (2), Westchester - Playa del Rey (3), West Los Angeles (4), and Wilshire (1). Those locations include a variety of sites overlooking freeways and major boulevards, and are required to comply with regulations relating orientation toward residential-zoned lots and brightness.
The proposed signage is likely to be lucrative for both Metro and the City of Los Angeles, which would split the proceeds earned over a 20-year term. A January 2023 report to the Metro Board estimates that the signs will generate between $300 million and $500 million of advertising revenue over that period, which the City of Los Angeles would be required to spend on transportation-related projects. However, a staff report also indicates other benefits, including the ability to broadcast public safety messaging, and implement infrastructure to collect data about real-time travel and traffic data which could be used to improve signal timing and signal priority for public transportation.
Plans for the new signs are likely to face vocal opposition at the Planning Commission, with opponents of the Transportation Communication Network having already made their presence felt at prior meetings. Likewise, the Los Angeles Times reports that opponents are already contemplating a legal challenge to the project.
To see renderings some (but not all) of the proposed signs, check out our gallery.
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