Imagine a world where billboards are as present as street signs.Wherever one turns, one’s gaze will be abruptly interrupted by a bombardment of outdoor advertisement.A world like this must be plagued with a blatant disrespect for the beauty of the environment that is driven by a desire to increase profit margins.Now consider Philadelphia where organizations like SEPTA also show a similar disregard for this city’s environmental well-being; there is a fine line between the two.
If one didn’t know any better, it would be easy to mistake the above fantasy world for present-day Philadelphia.Billboards plague significant portions of the city of Philadelphia.With the way this problem is perpetuated by the lack enforcement of the very laws that guard against it, one would think that there are no laws in place to protect Philadelphia’s visual environment. However this is not the case, for there are complex long-standing codes that have been in place for years for the sole purpose of preventing the explosion of outdoor advertisement that has unfortunately taken place. This is epitomized by the outright disregard for codes and laws that actively prohibit the proliferation of billboards in our city. Instead of using an iron fist, the government turns a blind eye toward all of the advertisement companies and business owners who seek extra profit at our city’s expense.
We have seen examples of this in several different locations, but the latest act of defiance has been seen in the Old City district of Philadelphia.SEPTA has used one of their terminals as a platform for advertisement as the entire structure is completely covered with a Red Bull wall wrap-style sign.Not only is this sign in the public right of way, which is explicitly outlawed in the advertisement code, but it is also located in a historic district where any non-accessory signs are prohibited.This is just one of the many examples of how businesses neglect the law in order to earn some extra cash.This type of disregard for the law has gone on for too long and must be stopped.In order for this to happen, the movement must start from the top with improved leadership and judgment on behalf of those who are supposed to be the leaders of this great city.
We’ve contacted the SEPTA spokesperson, Richard Maloney, and we are waiting for a response.
Call 311 to report any such illegal advertisement in your neighborhood.