Digital billboards, cause for concern?
Some Ottawa councillors say the city is “behind” when it comes to installing digital billboards.
“I think digital billboards are the way that the world is going,” said Rick Chiarelli, Ottawa City Councillor. “I think it offers a lot of flexibility and as long as we can build in a plan that gets local businesses on those boards, it's going to be a good thing.”
But not everyone agrees.
“The concerns that we have are traffic and pedestrian safety when you're putting these large, bright, distracting images right beside roadways,” said Steve Furr, Ottawa Resident.
There are already a handful of digital billboards in the city as part of a pilot project in areas like St. Laurent Boulevard and Trembley Road.
A new city staff report suggests 22 per cent of the 400 conventional billboards in the city could be converted to digital ones. . Each new board would bring an extra $700 to the city every year.
The report says these boards would have to meet specific guidelines. They would only be able to show static images, and be at least l00 metres from traffic signals, intersections and highway ramps.
Digital signs that use videos are a staple in cities such like Toronto and New York. But some say Ottawa doesn’t need to follow suit.
“The one at St. Laurent is definitely very distracting…just the written text definitely takes your mind away from driving,” said Matthew MacMartin, Ottawa resident.
Others say the boards could be a bright addition to the city.
“Growing up in Toronto it’s bright, its busy, it’s alive, I like them, I think it brings life to the city,” said Sandra Forzley, Ottawa resident.
The report also adds the signs could be used for public information and emergency messages. The report goes before the city’s planning committee on Tuesday.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Claudia Cautillo.