View Full Version : No Billboards on new I-40 Crosstown?

08-27-2004, 10:26 PM
Well, if OKC Beautiful has it's way, there will be no billboards on the new I-40 Crosstown. Although I'm not typically a fan of billboards, I'm not too sure if limiting them all together is such a good idea. I think maybe we should limit them, but I think billboards can be beneficial on the Crosstown, especially for advertising city events and attractions. For example, Stubbs, the owner of Cattlemen's Steakhouse uses billboards on I-40 to lure travelers to his historic restaurant.

What do you guys think?

Here's a transcript of the story that aired on News9:

"Billboard battle brewing in metro

By Alex Cameron

The following is a script from a News9 broadcast
There's a battle brewing over billboards in Oklahoma City.

NEWS 9 video

Yesterday, the city planning commission voted unanimously to ban all billboards in an area that includes the future location of the I-40 Crosstown. And some business owners are very concerned.

Business at Cattlemen's Steak House is beefy, and owner Dick Stubbs attributes at least some of that success to billboards.

Stubbs says more than 70 percent of his customers come from outside Oklahoma City, and says the two billboards he rents on I-40 have been invaluable.

Oklahoma City Beautiful's Allen Paine says the current I-40 Crosstown is polluted by 34 billboards, and with all the effort Oklahoma City is putting into revitalizing and beautifying downtown, it's important to keep the new $200 million Crosstown billboard-free.

Stubbs says it's a nice idea, but without billboards directing people off the exit, he'll lose business.

Paine says they will have what he calls tasteful directional signs at the exits inside the billboard-free area, directing motorists to restaurants, hotels and other points of interest.

A six-month moratorium on new billboards along the Crosstown is expected to be extended 60 days next week. Thay gives council until November to decide whether to approve the planning commission's recommendation. "

08-27-2004, 10:35 PM
I think They city should look at what might actually happen if these buisnesses dont have no Billboards. They might all start closing down because of lost buisness and more and more will we be seeing of what the old days held for us "Empty lots and run down buidings around downtown". Altho i feel somewhat the they are an eyesore. They are very important as the restraunt owners say. They know more about how they help than Oklahoma City Beatiful Does. I Think some type of restrictions should be made on how they look and how they are presented and a restriction like you said Patrick on how many. I think City officials should Add a Nice big Electronic sighn Off the highway Close to Where 1-40 begins after the interchange to advertise City Events and Attractions.

08-27-2004, 10:47 PM
I completely agree with you okcstylez. I think maybe the solution to keep the billboards from becoming an eyesore is just limiting the number that can be put in place along the Crosstown. IMO, that would be a better option than removing them completely.

Not onlyare they beneficial for local restaurants off the highways, but the billboard near the Ford Center has been beneficial for announcing upcoming concerts. For example, I believe Phil Collins has an ad on there right now.

08-27-2004, 11:49 PM
Here's the article from the Oklahoman:

"Commission agrees to ban billboards along I-40 stretch

By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City planning commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved a permanent ban on billboards along the future relocation of the Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway.
Commissioners were given four choices by a committee of sign companies, businesses and beautification advocates -- a complete ban, an extension of the current moratorium for six months, allow billboards under current regulations or a compromise that would have allowed four signs along the northwest section of the new highway.

Dick Stubbs, owner of Cattlemen's Steakhouse in Stockyards City, urged commissioners to allow new billboards, saying the signs are critical to drawing tourists from the highway.

"I'm asking for the right and ability to rent a sign," Stubbs said. "I want my customers to know where I am."

Representatives of Oklahoma City Beautiful told commissioners directional signage can still be achieved through other means.

"We have visual pollution in Oklahoma City with sign clutter," said Allen Paine, Oklahoma City Beautiful's board president. "We are asking for a 4-mile stretch to be free of that pollution, so that we can protect the views of our river and our investments downtown."

Dick Cottingham, an attorney for Lamar Outdoor Advertising, urged commissioners to support the compromise. He also disputed a report that indicated no ban would result in up to 25 billboard poles going up along the new highway.

Commissioner Bob Bright argued the city can't remove the 34 billboards on the existing route, even after the highway is moved, and won't have a chance to stop signs once they're up along the new route.

"I think our function here on the commission is to look at things that are years away," Bright said.

Fellow commissioners J. Michael Hensley and John Yoeckel both said Oklahoma City needs to join the list of other cutting-edge cities that instituted billboard bans.

"It is so pleasant to drive through these other cities, and we need to be there," Bright said. "We've made mistakes in the past, and it's time to rectify those mistakes."

Planning Director John Dugan said the temporary moratorium expires next month but will likely be extended for 60 days to give the Oklahoma City Council time to decide whether to concur with the commissioners' vote."

08-28-2004, 12:30 AM
I hope the City council Is smart and rejects this and doesnt allow this to happen. I smell a good reason to protest lol. This is terrible news but hopefully even if this does happen The city Council looks at creative ways of attracting outside visitors to Buisnesses and Attractions. Just if this happens they make that 100 times harder.

08-28-2004, 04:48 PM
From the way it sounds right now, OKC Beautiful isn't going to get their way. The city council plans on allowing billboards on the new crosstown, but of course that could change. Hopefulyl it won't.

08-28-2004, 06:25 PM
I'm curious as to why you think the council won't side with the planning commission on the billboard ban. I'm also interested in what the group of you think about the "Covergirls" billboard that looms over the Bricktown Canal as it flows south of Interstate 40. Do you believe the Lake Hefner Parkway would be better off if it had billboards promoting Randy Hogan's East Wharf? And is his East Wharf suffering because it doesn't have billboards?
-The Downtown Guy

08-28-2004, 07:50 PM
Well, to be honest, I kind of like the Covergirls billboard. I like looking at it and it shows passing motorists that OKC isn't such a square city. But, I wouldn't care if it was taken down.

I don't think the East Wharf development should be compared to the businesses along central OKC. Many of those businesses are there because highway frontage offers some logistical or exposure advantage. East Wharf doesn't need such exposure because its setting is so unique to the city that it doesn't need such a "screaming" sign. Those EW businesses are closer to higher-income households. You can't say that about Cattlemen's, which also as a bona fide visitor attraction, does deserve some signage.

To bring up old bones, I think billboards will win out because former planning head Garner Stoll tried to curb their presence and (fairly or not) was kicked out after business protest. It was said that Stoll didn't have the political skills to handle the job, but who knows if that would have made a difference.

As PR-conscious person, I understand the point of view of the businesses. But if it were up to me, I'd leave billboards out.

08-28-2004, 08:21 PM
Ok, let's look at this a different way, because at the end of the day, what's most important at this point? Do we just let business do whatever they wish? Drive the Lake Hefner Parkway between NW 63 and Hefner Road, and ask yourself whether the view would be changed if it had billboards every 1,000 feet.

08-28-2004, 08:35 PM
There's a reason why we have (gasp) government and regulations. Otherwise, you have streets like Tulsa's Minco. You just cannot assume that businesses will do what's best for the community.

08-30-2004, 12:33 AM
I don't think it's fair to compare the Lake Hefner Parkway to the I-40 Crosstown. The Lake Hefner Parkway is more of a local highway, traveled by people living in the far northwest part of town. Most of the locals know that the East Wharf development is there, so we don't need signs to lure them off the highway. Also, East Wharf is directly off the highway anyways, so again no signs are needed.

In contrast, I-40 is heavily traveled by tourists, and many touristy businesses will be located far off the highway. Billboards could be an asset to trying to lure these tourists off the highway. Without them, tourists just passing through may never find out about the businesses.

Most tourists just passing through won't find East Wharf anyways because the Parkway won't be part of their travels.

I say ban billboards on highways where they're not necessary, like the Hefner Parkway.
Allow them, with limitations, on highways where tourists will be traveling.

Oh, and I don't think the council will side with the planning commission's recommendatons, because I think they know how valuable those billboards are to the success of local business in Bricktown and downtown. They know how important it is to try to lure people off the highway, especially tourists just traveling through. Whatever means necessary, let's do it.

Seems like the planning commission looks more at the appearance something gives to our community, whereas the city council looks more at what it will take to draw people into the city.

08-30-2004, 08:18 AM
I'd say allow them, but regulate number, size, and content. Drive I-70 through Missouri and there are numerous boards up for adult businesses and they're really bad for the state's image and inappropriate for younger travelers.