Pa. takes control of billboards from Philadelphia

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Pennsylvania is reimposing its power to regulate billboards in Philadelphia.  

The decision comes on the heels of the city’s approval of a new type of street signage.

The state Department of Transportation decision came after extensive evaluation of the way Philadelphia has handled billboards since 1974, said Erin Waters-Trasatt of PennDOT.

“This is a result of a few years of working with the Federal Highway Administration and the city, just looking at how we can best address outdoor advertising in the city,” she said. “We made the determination that we could most effectively manage it through PennDOT’s resources.”

Waters-Trasatt says the decision was not directly connected to the approval of urban experiential displays — often referred to as 3-D billboards — that would rise up to six stories from the sidewalk.

“It wasn’t a direct cause of the cancellation,” she said. “The timing admittedly was coincidental but it was not a direct result of that.”

All new signs visible from major roads and highways now will need a PennDOT permit as well as a city permit.

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