Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Does Tredyffrin Township Really Need an Electronic LED Billboard . . . Why?

Everyone has seen them. Quite frankly, it’s impossible to miss them. While focus has been on driver distractions of cell phone usage and texting, another driver distraction has been emerging . . . electronic billboards! With this new technology, motorists are drawn visually to a large screen color and light show, much like a TV on a stick. Electronic billboards (EBB) typically are seen along major highways and turnpikes. But that may soon be changing in Tredyffrin Township if a change in zoning is permitted.

I can think of 3 billboards in the township although there may be more. There is one billboard on Lancaster Avenue in Devon, across from the BMW dealership; a small billboard next to Clockworks in Paoli by the Amtrak overpass (intersection of 252 and Rt. 30); and the third billboard is located on Rt. 252 at Radbill Park across from the entrance to Daylesford Lake. The Radbill Park billboard is the one that will be discussed at the Planning Commission meeting this Thursday. The Planning Commission agenda includes the following item:


The proposal is to change the current R-1 (residential) zoning of the Radbill Park billboard location to C-1 (commercial) zoning. Under present R-1 zoning the traditional billboard cannot be changed to an EBB. To erect an EBB, requires C-1 zoning. You might wonder why Clear Channel and the township would want an electronic billboard and there’s an easy explanation . . . money.

Under the present 6-year contract with Clear Channel (which is due to expire shortly) the lease agreement is approximately $29K per year to the township. However, with multiple advertisers on an electronic billboard, the lease agreement would include higher rental revenue to Clear Channel and to Tredyffrin Township. Significant increase in revenue . . . not sure, but certainly more than $29K per year.

So why should we care if the township rezones the Radbill Park billboard location from R-1 to C-1 to permit EBB? After all, we know that it will increase township revenue and in today’s economy, that would seem to be a good idea. In my opinion, there are a number of good reasons not to permit the billboard change. I have several concerns in regards to changing the zoning to C-1 to permit EBBs . . . first, I believe that an EBB at Radbill Park will cause ‘quality of life’ issues for residents of Daylesford Lakes and Daylesford Estates. (I have been told by a number of residents that at night the lights of the current billboard sign are intrusive, I can only imagine how invasive an electronically lit billboard streaming in to their homes, 24-7 would be) . Secondly, I believe that electronic LED billboards belong on major highways or the turnpike not in a residential setting.

However, my biggest concern in regards to EBBs is the safety issue. A 2009 report, by ergonomics consultant Jerry Wachtel, developed for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials, confirms three issues about electronic billboards — (1) EBBs attract eyes away from the road for extended, unsafe periods of time (2) signs should not be placed near interchanges or where drivers face challenging conditions, and (3) the youngest and oldest drivers face higher driver safety risks with regard to EBBs.

It is important to review reason #2 in the report . . . challenging conditions. If you live in Daylesford Lake and you exit to Route 252, the proposed EBB is directly in front of you. Already dangerous for exiting Daylesford Lake residents (particularly if crossing Route 252 south lanes to go north on Route 252), they will now have to contend with drivers distracted by the proposed electronic billboard. If there was ever a prescription for an accident, this could be the one.

I thought it would be interesting to look at how other parts of the country are coping with the new movement of electronic billboard advertising. In the spring, Denver banned EBBs, citing safety concerns. St. Louis passed a one-year moratorium. Michigan and Minnesota are holding hearings to impose a two-year moratorium and four states ban billboards completely. One EBB can utilize the equivalent electricity in one year of 52 homes, so “When every stretch of highway in America looks like Times Square, it will be too late to worry about the driver distractions caused by electronic billboards,” said the Philadelphia Inquirer in “Roadside Distractions” on March 22.

Unlike a cell phone, a person cannot choose to turn them off. Do we think that additional revenue from an electronic LED billboard out-weighs quality of life and safety issues? Would love to hear an opinion on electronic billboards from the two State House 157 Representative candidates.

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  1. Pattye, I agree with you. These billboards are dangerous. It is definitely distracting especially when it flips to another advertisment and you tend to watch it do so, taking your eye off the road for a period of time. They are too bright at night which is also distracting not to mention intrusive as you so stated. Maybe find a place on 202 if that makes sense

  2. EBBs are awful, ugly, wasteful, unneccessary. Philadelphia’s got a terrific non profit – SCRUB (Society Created to Reduce Urban Blight) fighting EBBs:
    Through SCRUB I learned an elected official got the portion of the Rt. 30 bypass that was built in the 1990s in Chester County registered as a “Scenic Highway,” and you’ll notice there are no billboards on that stretch of road at all! Don’t know whether or not residents (such as the Daylesford Lakes folks) can use that or a similar tool to prevent an EBB in their neighborhood?

  3. If the Township permits this digital billboard, I wonder how it will affect the Paoli Transportation Center area? Will we be able to deny the placement of additional billboards in our Transit District or Town Center District or even other commercially zoned properties?

    Clear Channel Communications has a new branch that targets mixed-use developments just like Paoli. It’s called Branded Cities. Check it out… very Times Square… Developers of mixed-use projects have found signage adds to the “atmosphere” of their projects AND it is very profitable as well. I wonder if we’ll be seeing digital billboards at the new Village at Valley Forge near the KOP mall?

    “Branded cities, a new cutting edge branch of Clear Channel Outdoor, is designed to capitalize on the vast and growing trend of single-developer mixed-use real estate properties.

    Clear Channel Branded Cities transforms locations into destinations – places where consumers go for entertainment, dining, shopping, to work, and to live …and where brands are an integral part of that experience.”

    Clear Channel also targets transit lines. They offer bus wraps, light rail transit wraps, transit shelters and kiosks, garbage cans, wall displays and posters, graphics for the floor, the sides of escalators, door clings, strange outdoor “newsracks” , ( )
    and giant “wallscapes” that cling to the sides of buildings!!

    Here’s the link to photos of Clear Channel’s Digital Billboards…

    After doing a little research…identifying various stakeholders, I think it’s going to be difficult for the Twp to deny the zoning change.

  4. My disdain for the ballyhooed Paoli Transportation Center grows daily … now we can look forward to “very Times Square” EBBs adding to Paoli’s “atmosphere”, along with additional car and bus traffic clogging our roads, multilevel parking garages for distant commuters, and massive government infrastructure costs.

  5. Went to the meeting last night.

    Drucker, who promised on his legislative website to be there, did not show up.

    Warren Kampf did show up — without trying to use the event beforehand for political points.


    1. This is incorrect information. I was at the meeting last night and Paul Drucker sat behind me. Please be sure that what you’re saying is correct before posting it.

    2. So it’s not enough that Warren lies. Now, we have TTRC committee lying on his behalf as well. How far things have fallen since John Waldeyer passed.

      1. At no time has anyone here anonymously suggested they are a TTRC representative, and I am extremely tired of people trying to out posters who use pseudonyms. If anyone wants to officially represent a point of view, I would presume they use their real name. Many have done so on this blog and until someone identifies themselves (not John Petersen concluding who they are) and says they are on the TTRC, then you can claim things about them. Absent a real name, pseudonyms are a “voice in the crowd” and you can listen or not, but please don’t jump to conclusions based on unsubstantiated assumptions.

  6. From the West–

    If you get a chance…can you tell us what was discussed? Were any recommendations made?
    Were there any abstentions?


  7. In the West,

    Good try. Deliberately “reporting” lies bc sometimes, it works. What is that saying…you can fool some of the people some of the time…..

    You note that Good Citizen Kampf attended the PC meeting on Thursday , but Paul Drucker did not. Wrong. He was there.

    And worse than that, you suggest that Paul posted his intention on his legislative website – a purported misuse of his official position as state rep – for political purposes. Wrong again. Paul wrote about it on his campaign website.

    But the phone call I just received takes the cake!!

    It was from Warren’s mother. A robocall in which she warns that Paul “will lie to you” and asks everyone to “vote for the truth…vote for my son, Warren Kampf…”

    His “truth” squad has enlisted his mother now? I can understand why Ann Kampf would want to help and defend her son – she’s his mother, after all. But Warren is apparently comfortable using his own mother to to attack his opponent.

    There’s a word for that….

    1. And worse than that, you suggest that Paul posted his intention on his legislative website – a purported misuse of his official position as state rep – for political purposes. Wrong again. Paul wrote about it on his campaign website.



      That’s entirely on you. I would have no problem with Rep. Drucker or any other Representative posting on their legislative website that they support or oppose an important issue to their district on their legislative website…that’s called “representing.”

      I am happy you know have physic powers to assume what I was thinking, but that was the furthest thing from my mind.

    2. Hey Kate
      I don’t think using his mother is all that strategic, but the fact that you listened to it (I hang up on robo calls) means it might have been an interesting strategy.

      And Paul Drucker’s most recent mailing was about a client corporate Warren represented …. warning us that he had a client who was less than reputable.

      NOW there’s a surprise. A lawyer with a client that needs legal help. Why don’t you share with us the kind of lawyer that Mr. Drucker is? Since he is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars warning us about Warren’s clients…..perhaps we should hear about his clients?

      The lack of campaigning on his own record is starting to get embarrassing. Has he done anything he can run on besides the same 3 platitudes he puts in the 1 out of 5 mailers he sends that even mention him.

      Bottom line continues to be: Drucker wants our support because he claims he is a fiscal conservative. talk about co-opting a phrase. That’s the Tea Party mandate. I think at election time, if voters want a fiscal conservative to represent them, they might want to consider the one who doesn’t owe Dwight Evans any loyalty — you know — the one who IS fiscally conservative.

    3. Actually….it’s that you can fool ALL of the people some of the time, and SOME of the people all of the time…but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time…but since the attribution is to PT Barnum and Abe Lincoln, and neither said it….I’d say it’s about politics in America…unless of course you think you cannot be fooled?

  8. All — If I missed Paul’s presence last evening, I do apologize. I admit I did not stay the entire evening. I would not impugn him intentionally and believe that may past posts citing actual votes, etc., prove that I do try to be very factual. So, again, apologies.

    Kate — do you not believe that Paul Drucker or his allies have lied about Warren Kampf at least once in this campaign? If you do, please call me…I have a bridge to sell you.

  9. Amazing, someone who supports Warren apologizes again in this space (From the West), but Paul’s folks when they are wrong never do so… Let me give you some more than his supporters should be apologizing for…
    1/ In an interview the other day, Paul told the journalist the wrong pronounciation for Warren’s last name.. instead of a funny moment where he could have said “There is a lot we disagree on, but I think we can agree that his name is prounounced…” He did something very classless and sophmoric and had the journalist pronounce Warren’s name wrong –
    2/ When the journalist was asking hand picked questions – Paul stumbled like an old man looking for a cane. This person who ran as a reformer (his words) could not name one reform he was part of in two years… that was akward, embarrasing and telling all at once.
    Since Paul’s supporters have refused to be gracious in this spot, maybe you can apologize for his lack of class, grace or record…
    I am not trying to attack him personally (although while desperately campaigning Friday night he was almost bitten by a dog, see even canine support Warren) I am amazed that Warren draws so much ire when Paul gets a free pass for lying and doing things that lack the basic civility I would expect from a person of his supposed stature.
    From the West, it was not a debate so he may have shown up…

    1. Sean D, what you describe is aptly defined in Michael Goodwins’ opinion page in NYPost today, page 9.

      “Liberal Dose of duplicity.” It is about the firing of Juan Williams to be sure, but goes beyond the specifics of his firing. Interesting reading as it describes the inability of Liberals to engage in discourse with dissenters of their (liberal)opinion. And their inability to get away from their fervent ideology to enter such discourse. He rightfully says the great American system, boiled down, is intolerant of only one thing… intolerance. The great movement away from this intolerance, inspired by the last 2 years of it, is creating a new revolution in our country, locally and in the national scene. The Tea Party, more diverse than NPR, is one outgrowth of this.
      More “regular people” are entering the fray, running for elections or supporting through donations and time so that the debacle that is the last 2 years (really 4 if you consider the 4 years of a Democratic congress and a President who tossed in the towel) is reversed.

      They have lost the mojo they had with the 2008 elections. Hopefully never to recover. A sign of weakness is the inability to police one’s own… they just never admit one of their own made a mistake, or is wrong.

  10. It’s an unfortunate political campaign reality – negative campaigning works. The candidate who doesn’t anticipate punches and have a plan to get in front of them usually loses.

    Do I think one side has been completely truthful while the other has lied and misconstrued the facts? That one side has remained above the fray while the other has gotten down and dirty?

    No. I’m not in the market for a bridge…

    But we’re talking about a man who has expended a lot of energy and campaign dollars misinforming voters that Paul voted for tolls on 422. LIE. He merely stated that tolling for those who drive the entire length of the road is one option to consider to pay for infrastructure improvements. As our state rep he is appropriately involved in this discussion. No VOTE was ever taken on this matter, so clearly he never voted to toll 422.

    Kampf accuses Paul of voting for $1 billion dollars of pork, including a resort golf course. I think we can all acknowledges that without line item veto power, no legislator has the power to vote against single expenditures in a budget. On balance, the budget passed bc it was a compromise both caucuses and both the House and the Senate could live with. It could not have passed without Republican votes and reflects almost half a billion dollars in cuts from the draft budget proposed by Gov. Rendell.

    After accusing Paul of the above two votes, Warren’s latest tv ad closes with a photo of Paul Drucker morphing into Nancy Pelosi……

    Cheap politics as usual? Yes, but Paul’s representation of the 157th has nothing to do with the current Speaker of the House’s record. It’s attack by association, however limited it is…My God, they’re both ………..Democrats!

    And yes, I listened to the robocall from Ann Kampf imploring those who didn’t hang up to vote for her “good boy” (my words) . It is a message left on my answering machine. And frankly, I was fascinated by a mother’s willingness to shill for her son.

    Some of you have made the point that as a personal friend or fellow party member, of Paul’s my credibility or objectivity is suspect.

    Well, I think that goes double for mothers who recommend their sons. It’s sweet, but not a useful piece of information for voters making up their minds.

    1. I got the call too. The wording was interesting. Ann Kampf talked about something Paul “will” do, and that we shouldn’t believe it “when” we get it. It was about Social Security. The thing is, the PA State House, last I checked, has no control over Social Security. We know that Sestak has been attacking Toomey on that topic, but that makes sense in a federal campaign.

      The only group I’m aware of that has actually advocated for the abolition of Social Security is the Tea Party. It is true that Warren has embraced the Tea Party Movement. He courts them for volunteers and the 422 issue is a Tea Party issue and something Warren has repeatedly used to attack Paul. In addition to depleting the rainy day fund (something he denied doing), my understanding is that Warren fired several 40+ year employees and at least one single mother. In terms of essential services, it takes a long time to get a building permit. Between that and zoning, I have waited in excess of 90 days for mine. I can tell you for certain, essential services are not being delivered. And for what? So Warren can claim he didn’t raise taxes? I suppose it is fair to say that if you embrace a movement, you embrace the ideals and philosophy movement.

      What has me more disturbed about Sean Dempsey is that he, a s Sch. GOP member and a Tea Party supporter yourself, is apparently trying to make himself the center of attention, to be the name and face of a GOP/Tea Party. He apparently likes to speak for us in Tredyffrin. I can tell you that he does not. There are a good number of us that don’t like where the local GOP has gone. This Tea Party influence has made it worse. To vote for Warren Kampf is to give a thumbs up to this Radical Tea Party taking over. It’s not what we are about around here. It would be one thing if the claims Warren has made were true, but they are not. For Warren, it’s about getting elected to that next office. At some point, the Tea Party folks are going to learn they have been played like a lot of other people. I look forward to the this election being over.

    2. Katie says – No VOTE was ever taken on this matter, so clearly he never voted to toll 422.

      Well — no bill exists to protect taxpayers from billions in pensions, yet every piece of mail I get from Rep. Drucker’s campaign says he voted to save the voters $25 billion in pensions….

      So it’s not about LIE Katie. It’s about standing behind core values. If Rep. Drucker was truly a conservative that he claims, he wouldn’t be trying to gain momentum by talking about Sup. Kampf being a tax and spend supervisor. Anyone who lives here knows that Tredyffrin doesn’t spend money easily. The state, however, does. I think the idea is that Rep. Drucker is trying to keep his seat, and he cannot stand on his record of voting for real bills — so he throws stuff on the wall to see what sticks.

      TredyffrinRepublican — you just seem like someone whose favorite didn’t win. You say that to vote for Warren Kampf it to give a thumbs up to the radical version of the Tredyffrin Republican committee. Well — if you were about government and not politics, you would likewise know that to vote for Drucker is to give the state democratic party another rubber stamp on its agenda. So which is it — conservative YOUR way or liberal the other way? Don’t use a monniker that isn’t accurate. You are a Tredyffrin whiner.

        1. Per the SBA, a small law firm is one that does not exceed $7 Million in revenue.

          White and Williams has over 200 attorneys and offices in Philly, Boston, Wilmington, etc., it is quite safe to say that White and Williams has revenues or more than 7 million per year. This is a bold face lie that Kampf has managed to get away with for some time now. This lie, along with not depleting the rainy day funds are two examples of why Kampf cannot be trusted. If he can’t be straight with us in his campaign, how can we expect him to be straight with us in Harrisburg. The idea behind the small business story is clear, he wants to be perceived as a guy who creates jobs. That is total nonsense. First, as a lower tier partner in the firm, Kampf has no sole power to fire or hire. There is a committee that handles such matters. Everything Kampf has done over the past 2 years has been carefully orchestrated. He wanted to make sure he could say he didn’t raise taxes. However, he went too far when he said he didn’t deplete the rainy day fund. He wants to be perceived to be tough on unions. That’s why he forced the police to arbitration, even when the outcome was already known. That ended up costing the Tredyffrin Taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Kampf however, got a $500 campaign contribution from the special labor counsel. Meanwhile, Kampf has the audacity to claim that Drucker is guilty of pay to play politics. Kampf cites his “public private partnership” with the fire funding. In reality, companies that do business with the township were solicited, including Comcast that is in the middle of negotiating it’s cable franchise with the township. That is an absolute conflict of interest.

          And with all of that, I didn’t need to mention St. Davids.

  11. Can anyone tell me what the outcome of the Planning Commission’ s Meeting was regarding the ordinance and zoning map change for Radbill Park?

    I emailed the PC at plan&
    but it came back “Undeliverable – The recipient’s e-mail address was not found in the recipient’s e-mail system. ”


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