A nearly 700-square foot electronic billboard that needs the final blessing of Caltrans to go up in front of The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley won’t create a traffic hazard.
That’s the contention of Manteca Community Development Director Fredrick Clark who citied various studies conducted by transportation safety experts that indicate the new LED signs that change static messages and are operated under strict Caltrans rules show there is no direct correlation between the signs and accidents.
And while that was enough to satisfy the concerns of the Manteca City Council majority, it wasn’t for Councilwoman Debby Moorhead who cast the only dissenting vote on the LED sign. Councilman Vince Hernandez was absent.
Moorhead noted that there have been over 400 accidents on the stretch of the 120 Bypass that runs through Manteca as it nears Highway 99 over the past five years. Most of those have been due to traffic slowdowns at the 99 interchange that often back up to the Orchard Valley shopping center and beyond.
“I’d hate to see even one more rear end accident (because of a sign),” Moorhead said.
The sign must now pass muster with Caltrans before the city can issue a permit.
Clark noted the advent of lighting emitting diodes (LED) have reduced not just energy use but the brightness of the electronic billboards. One recently was installed along Highway 99 north of Arch Road in Stockton.
Some of the rules for the council placed on the LED sign were:
The hours of operation and illumination as well as changing images on the electronic display will not create a nuisance to surrounding uses, the vicinity, or traffic. The city’s Community Development Director will have the authority to modify hours of operation if it is determined the sign is a nuisance
The sign will be maintained in such a manner that the screen is fully functioning at all times. If the screen does develop areas with no or improper illumination that affect the overall quality of the images, the screen shall be turned off until necessary repairs have been made.
Electronic message sign illumination and message rotation would have to comply with Caltrans safety standards.
Any advertising not related to Orchard Valley tenants will be permitted only with a revenue sharing agreement approved by the Manteca City Council.