Billboard opponents protest placement in Old City

Philadelphia City Council got an earful from the public Thursday on two pieces of legislation that weren’t even up for a vote.

Magali Larson and fellow Philadelphians told the Council they’re worried about legislation that would allow an electronic billboard on a new building facing the Ben Franklin Bridge.

“The sign is on the major gateway to my city. And my city, our city, which you protect, happens to be a hallowed city. The first capital of the United States,” Larson said. “Apart from the very important issues of safety and ecological issues, this is going to be a true outrage for those who come to the hallowed ground of Independence Mall.”

Many opponents, including an AAA representative, said the sign could distract drivers.

Councilman Frank DiCicco blamed a lot of the opposition to the larger construction project on a flier containing misinformation that was circulated in Old City.

Council also heard from a different group: tow-truck industry workers. They’re opposed to a bill that would revise licensing for towing companies and delegate more work to the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Heat Wave Towing and Recovery owner Alphonzo Lee told Council the bill will hurt towing industry workers who could be laid off, their families and many others.

“This extends far beyond the towing industry — with the trickle-down effect — you know body shops, tow shops, auto parts, the consumers themselves. Everybody’s gonna feel this bill in some kinda way,” he said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.