Miami Dade County Community Forum

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Towering Electronic Billboards - Google Translation of El Nuevo Herald Article.

This is a follow-up to our May 6th article on LED Billboards proposed for the Arsht Center Area.
Towers of Babel: visual pollution in the downtown
(Google Translation of article written in Spanish)

Be careful, monsters coming to devour electronic urban aesthetics of Miami.

They come dressed as cherubs and promise paradise. But if we open the doors to bring their families and our identity - and security - jeopardized.

Monsters are two giant electronic billboards and bright advertising more than 20 stories high on a seven-story garage adjacent to the Arsht Center in downtown Miami, which not only dull the majestic architecture of the theaters, but also become to the city in a bad copy of Las Vegas.

What Happens in Vegas better stay there.

The towers have been presented with a tempting incentive: a large covered parking for those attending the theater that now must pay $ 20 valet parking''or `` $ 10 and $ 15 outdoor parking spaces nearby.

By the way, luckily this cultural institution, built with public funds was made to enjoy ALL the Miami culture. Yes, the poor too, who at these exorbitant prices Metromover have to come in and sit so high in the audience that the dancers look like ants. But that is another matter.

Mayor Tomas Regalado wrote a letter in January in favor of this project developer Mark Siffin. If he is wise, will change his mind. Otherwise it is placed at the side of the lobbyists and power groups.

Here are some reasons to consider.

In principle, the City of Miami has no power to pass whatever the colossal structures in 1985 and Miami-Dade County established an ordinance known as the Code of Miami-Dade Banners, whose regulations must also be respected by municipal governments.

The ordinance specifies that fences are not permitted on the roofs of the buildings by the hazard if it were to lash a powerful hurricane. In addition, to install an automatic electronic fence, the property must have at least 10 acres of land. The content of advertisements must be limited to services and products offered in the building, and believe that these towers are not going to announce `` park''to be seen from miles away.

Moreover, it is prohibited for messages on and off intermittently, and expand from a central point to the rest of the screen, which should be up to 750 square feet and 20 stories tall.

The codes were updated in 1994 and 2000, to cope with a flood of illegal ads began to pollute the urban landscape. Municipal governments like Miami a pact alliances with billboard companies, which produce millions of dollars in ads.

These provisions were designed by leaders accountable and aware that excessive installation of fences along roads, as well as murals on buildings, destroyed the distinctive character of a community appearance.

There is full evidence that confirms that the digital billboards, especially those that seem huge announcement televisions and change every six seconds, represent an unnecessary risk to drivers. Therefore, in various parts of the country, local governments have chosen to protect public safety by banning or restriction of these banners.

Siffin argues that his project will benefit the City because they generate more revenue, and the Arsht Center by attracting an audience that does not attend because you can not find parking spots. The glow of the towers also serve to illuminate the neighborhood preventing crime (where is the police?) And promote a cosmopolitan flavor to the area, with the exception of the theaters and residential towers, is not pleasant for pedestrians.

However, the towers digitized clash aesthetically with the historic and architectural elements at great distances, and will become the dominant visual element should be the Arsht Can not say that this was the Miami equivalent of the Sydney Opera House?

I do not object to build a multilevel parking, because that should be included when the theaters were designed. What I find incongruous is the mega advertising structures since it does not harmonize with the rest of the city. Even in South Beach, which is our tourist Mecca, are permitted.

It is very easy to want to be what is not. The downtown Miami is not - nor wants to be - the strip of Las Vegas or Times Square. Give green light to the construction of the towers of advertising to invite other developers want to do the same. So many lights shine, we only lack the light itself.

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