This is probably of little comfort to Silver Lake residents angered over that new digital billboard blazing over Silver Lake Boulevard near Effie Street. But that sign probably helped lead to the removal of traditional billboards in Echo Park. Echo Park residents can be forgiven, however, if they have not noticed the reduction in blight or for failing to send “Thank You!” notes to their Silver Lake neighbors. How many Echo Park billboards have come down?
Yes, only two of those small Vista Media billboards along Echo Park Avenue were taken down. It looks like the pair were removed from a small white building just north of Lucretia Street. That still leaves more than a dozen billboards, many of them installed in front yards, on Echo Park Avenue alone.
The opportunity to remove some of those Echo Park Avenue billboards is what partly motivated Echo Park resident and councilman Eric Garcetti to support the now infamous 2006 agreement permitting the highly profitable digital signs, according to the LA Weekly. His comments about those billboards were featured in a YouTube video posted anonymously a few months ago.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrWSowP7JjU&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0]
In return for being allowed to operate profitable digital signs, the billboard companies were expected to remove a far larger number of traditional billboards, many of them installed without permits. That has been very slow to happen.
“In a nutshell, the Echo Park Ave. billboards are owned by Vista, and the implementation of the Vista settlement basically got tied up with settlements with other billboard companies,” said Garcetti’s spokeswoman, Julie Wong. “We were, however, successful in getting Vista to remove the two Echo Park Ave billboards that were not permitted.”
Garcetti is now calling the city’s approval of the digital billboard agreement a “bad decision.”