Two digital billboards to go up soon

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Austin is going digital.

City Council members voted unanimously Monday night to approve a digital billboard at the intersection of First Ave. SW and 12th St. SW. The billboard, owned by Fairway Outdoor Advertising, will replace two regular billboards that sit at the intersection.

According to Carl Heins, division president of Fairway Outdoor Advertising, the billboard will have seven advertisements that rotate every eight seconds, and the city has constant ownership of one advertisement slot.

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The city can use its slot to promote events around town or to warn residents in the case of construction, natural disasters, Amber alerts and other emergencies.

“I think that’s the future,” Heins said, speaking to council members.

Police Chief Brian Krueger said he sees no harm in approving the digital billboard.

Krueger researched traffic accidents near other digital signs in town — Riverland Community College and Oak Park Mall — and said the signs aren’t as distracting as some people may think.

“In both instances, the accidents went down after the signs were put up,” Krueger said. “Based on the knowledge I’ve gained at this point, we don’t see it being a problem.”

Heins said six of the digital slots will be sold to advertisers. Law enforcement officers will be trained on how to use the sign in the case of an emergency, he said.