OKLAHOMA – A metro community that has long banned electronic signs is finally letting them in.
The Edmond city council voted 3-2 to allow the signs, but the decision does not come without controversy.
Many people spoke out against the signs, including the president of the Edmond Neighborhood Alliance.
“We simply don’t need more distractions for drivers to be dealing with when they’re driving down Edmond streets,” said Walter Jenny.
Jenny points to research that shows the signs increase rear end collisions.
“There’s not a whole lot of difference between texting while driving and these message boards,” said Jenny.
Many business owners, though, hailed the vote as a victory.
“I’m a big believer in signage,” said Kelly Van Osdol, owner of Framin’ Gallery in Edmond.
Van Osdol says he should have the choice to put one of those signs up and he says owning one would make changing the message on his marquis much easier.
“You know if I want to do you know a Thunder Up or you know Happy New Year, whatever, you know, it’s just a lot more laborious right now,” said Van Osdol.
Jenny says not only will the signs increase accidents, they will decrease the appeal of his city.
“It’s a neighborhood community and that’s the kind of community that we’ve worked for many years and we want to keep it that way,” said Jenny.
“It definitely would affect my business if I could advertise it better through signage,” said Van Osdol.
Van Osdol is already checking prices and says he probably will end up changing his sign and he expects many more Edmond businesses will do the same as well.
There will be several restrictions on the electronic signs.
They’ll only be allowed on the major corridors in Edmond; Broadway Extension, the section lines roads and I-35.
Their size will be restricted and the messages on them will only be allowed to change once every 30 seconds.