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Government

Elmhurst committee advances Palmer Drive electronic sign discussion to City Council

The city of Elmhurst is considering replacing the current signage on the Robert T. Palmer Drive overpass bridges with electronic signage.
The city of Elmhurst is considering replacing the current signage on the Robert T. Palmer Drive overpass bridges with electronic signage.

ELMHURST – The city of Elmhurst's Public Affairs and Safety Committee decided at its Oct. 9 meeting to move the discussion of electronic signage for the Robert T. Palmer Drive underpass bridges to the Elmhurst City Council.

According to the draft committee report, the fiscal year 2018 budget includes funds for the purchase and installation of two electronic signs for the bridges, one facing southbound traffic and one facing northbound traffic.

Benefits to the change include the quicker display of emergency notices such as flooded roadways and Amber Alerts, increased public and employee safety, and an increase in the number of messages groups and the city could display in a week, the report stated.

City staff has recommended a 4-foot-high by 20-foot-wide 4 mm resolution LED sign, and the savings realized by the reduced labor would offset the cost of the signs in about seven years, with a shorter time to make up the cost if the city continues to charge an administrative fee per sign, according to the report.

From what ctiy staff has heard, the type of signage being considered would be within the budgeted $150,000 for the set of electronic signs, Director of Public Works Howard Killian said at the meeting while presenting a report regarding the signage.

Killian also discussed a portable, temporary sign that was displayed Sept. 26 and 27. The city received little feedback on the signage, despite attempts via news media and Facebook posts to encourage the public commentary, he said. Though the signage the city is considering is smaller, the screen resolution is the same, Killian said.

"It looks like a printed banner up there, at that point. .... It's pretty much the same information, the same kind of look can be up there," he said.

The signage can be changed remotely, Killian said.

Alderwoman Dannee Polomsky said she has heard residents from both inside and outside Elmhurst's Third Ward, which she represents, speaking out against the proposed change to electronic signage, even if the signage is updated and modern.

"It takes away from the character of the downtown," Polomsky said.

She said another option could be to charge more to applicants who wish to use the existing signage to outweight the cost it takes to have staff manage it.

Alderman Bob Dunn, a member of the committee, was absent from the Oct. 9 meeting.

The next City Council meeting is Oct. 15.

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