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Corporate-sponsored signs pop up around city

Signs bearing the Zephyrhills water logo are popping up around St. Petersburg, and a few readers have asked us about their purpose. Some folks are especially puzzled because the signs are similar in size and placement on roads to regulation speed limit and other instructional signs. The signs read "EcoZone, St. Petersburg, Zephyrhills, and A Little Natural Does A Lot of Good. Please Recycle." One reader contacted the Doc via e-mail to say he finds the signs an irritant. He wrote: "To me these signs are visual pollution. They seem to be pure advertising for Zephyrhills water, and I was wondering if the city of St. Petersburg is selling ad space for road signs? Additionally, who needs more signs to confuse with the traffic signs?"

The city is indeed selling advertising space along public rights of way through an agreement reached over a year ago with EcoMedia. EcoMedia installs signs purchased by corporations that pay fees to EcoMedia, which in turn pays a fee to the city for each sign installed.

Mike Connors, fiscal services administrator for the city, said St. Petersburg splits fees for sign sponsorship 50/50 with EcoMedia, which are not to be less than $250 per month per sign. Each sign is approved for content and location before it's installed, Connors said.

Connors also said that when the contract was signed, the City Council resolution approving the agreement included a requirement that at least two signs in the vicinity be removed for each new one.

A similar initiative was launched in Washington, D.C., two years ago with 100 signs placed along major roads. The contract was touted as a public-private partnership that's a win-win — companies heighten awareness about their brand presented in an environmentally friendly format, and cities increase revenues. Connors says that St. Petersburg will use the revenue to fund green projects. But those of us who think any advertising sign on the side of the road is one too many, the "feel-good" environmental message doesn't negate the visual.

Seminole Boulevard

Sewer pipe replacement may finish by Monday

The sewer pipe replacement project that has closed two lanes of westbound traffic on Seminole Boulevard since Feb. 18 was projected to be completed last week, but motorists have noticed that work is continuing. The lane closures affect about 1,000 feet of traffic close to the Home Depot entrance at 10550 Park Blvd. County utility workers say that recent rains slowed the project, which is now projected to be completed by Monday, with the lanes reopening Tuesday.

Ulmerton Road/66th Street

Intersection reopens to traffic Monday at 5 a.m.

Monday also will be the day when the intersection of Ulmerton Road (State Road 688) and 66th Street will reopen to through-traffic. The intersection reopens at 5 a.m. after being closed for construction since Thursday evening. The state Department of Transportation's $20-million project on Ulmerton runs from El Centro/Ranchero to U.S. 19. It began in October and is projected to be completed in two years. Improvements include widening Ulmerton from four to six lanes and adding new sidewalks and drainage.

Barricade watch

Road work projects

to expect this week:

Gulfport: Bear Creek Bridge (Mango Avenue S at Bamboo Drive S); expect temporary delays and lane closures for the bridge replacement project.

Seminole: 113th Street N (106th Avenue N to 110th Avenue N), temporary delays for sidewalk repairs; 22nd Street N and 84th Avenue N, pipe installation/repair.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.

Corporate-sponsored signs pop up around city 03/15/08 [Last modified: Monday, March 17, 2008 1:52pm]
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