Comment of the Day: Still Longing for the Commercial Companionship of Days Gone By

COMMENT OF THE DAY: STILL LONGING FOR THE COMMERCIAL COMPANIONSHIP OF DAYS GONE BY freeway-billboards-old“I miss the billboards of my youth. I grew up in a world where the freeways were surrounded by them, and never thought much about it. Now that they are almost all gone, I realize they gave the city character. I don’t understand the hate for them.” [Memebag, commenting on Comment of the Day: What Keeps Houston Billboards Standing Tall] Illustration: Lulu

10 Comment

  • Looking at billboards is a lot better than looking at all the other junk that fills freeway corridors in this town.

  • Obviously you weren’t old enough to really appreciate how ugly they were. They were stacked on top of each other, often poorly maintained, and in Houston, a bit of a hazard in a hurricane. They were distracting to drivers,and in a city as beauty-challenged as Houston, just one more wart.

  • It is pretty easy to understand. Billboards are ugly.

  • If only we could do away with all of the strip malls that line the freeway.

  • how much worse would Houston look if there were billboards in smartly placed locations? There are quite a few billboards along 59 inside the loop, but to me, they don’t distract from the, erm, beauty of the area. For instance, the billboards don’t distract me at all from the hooters sign, or the twin peaks sign, or the 5 shell stations, and numerous strip centers that dot the landscape. The lovely parking lot of discount tire is hardly impacted by the sight of the billboards, and certainly the impeccably styled apartments at 3131 swfwy are not impacted by a big rotating piano a scant few feet away.
    would the vast expansive serenity of 2 whole football fields of katy freeway really be disrupted if there were a billboard in the best buy parking lot?
    but then there’s a billboard at valesco and the gulf freeway that really impacts the sight of downtown as you are driving in. and not like the pierce elevated is long for this world, but there’s a billboard right across the freeway from a church. and there’s one on 59 near the 288 interchange.
    some signs are okay, and should be allowed in the right place, smartly placed, and maybe the better solution than just banning them outright would have been to enact an ordinance that stated if a structure was going to be built over x feet tall adjacent to a freeway and over 51% of the income for that structure was going to be made from billboards, then you have to pay the city to lease the air space for 10 years at a time. the cities debt problems would be a thing of the past.

  • When I was a kid, I lived in dry Brazoria County. From time to time my parents and I would drive to Houston. One thing that really stands out in my memory was all the giant billboards for distilled spirits. It seemed very exotic in a “den of iniquity” sort of way. This would have been late-60s-early-70s.

  • I don’t miss most of the billboards, but I do miss the giant cockroach of Holder’s Pest Control.

  • @marmer: I also remember the liquor billboards most clearly. We were a teetotalling family and the billboards hightened the sense that we were surrounded by wicked people.
    Beauty is subjective to some degree. I find beauty in chaos and complexity. The jumble of competing advertising messages found in pre-Tinsley Houston could be beautiful if you let go of your desire for order and simplicity.

  • It’s not just Houston – Bangkok has them all over – one twice and large and 1,000s a quarter of the size.

  • The city doesn’t make money off freeway scenery and all of our roads are going to end up being wider than the Mississippi in 10yrs time so you won’t even be able to notice anything past the freeway frontage anyhow. It’d probably take me a couple months to know the difference if they installed one continuous LED screen down the side of I10 between Downtown and HWY6.