More ads on newsstands? Maybe

Should the city's 120 newsstands be allowed to post larger and more creative advertising on their outsides, or will that add to the city's visual clutter?

Members of the Newsstand Association of Philadelphia want their members to be able to run larger signs on the street side of the newsstands and electronic ads in a 6" band around the whole stand. Two-foot wide video monitors would also be allowed under the proposal. The Association represents 89 of the 120 newsstand owners.

The Nutter administration doesn't want Council to approve it. Nutter wants to study the impact of the advertising later this year as part of a look at ads on "street furniture", including transit shelters, benches, trash containers and public toilets. Newsstand Association President John Rocco, at today's hearing on Council's Committee on Streets and Services, called it "offensive and demeaning" for newsstand operators to be included in that category.

Rocco said new revenue from the ads would generate $25,000 to $30,000 in taxes for the city.

Committee chairman Frank DiCicco said he the committee would approve the bill but hold it while some of the concerns are worked out.

Paul Levy, president and CEO of the Center City District, said any legislation should require that owners updgrade their older newsstands before they're allowed to take advantage of the more permissive advertising laws. Levy also suggested that newsstands be required to remove graffiti to be removed daily, but questioned the city's ability to enforce that requirement.

Mary Tracy of SCRUB, the organization that has fought for years against the proliferation of public advertising, warned that this law would be subject to a federal court challenge, undermining city laws that have withstood court challenges.

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