The City of San Carlos is considering installing electronic message boards around town to improve communications with residents.
At a meeting Monday evening, October 24th, City Council member Brad Lewis (who steps down after the Nov. 8th election) said, “Anything we do will be a substantial improvement over where we are now,” adding, “Let’s get it done.”
Parks and Recreation Director Doug Long gave a presentation on the LED-lit electronic message boards, similar to those seen at high schools and churches.
Each sign would cost anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000 depending on size, whether they’re one or two sided or monochromatic or color.
While council member Lewis called the marquees, “valuable to the community,” as a design person, he found the examples “kind of garish” and asked several questions about font and color choices. Long assured him there were design options.
Council members Randy Royce and Matt Grocott also expressed their concern that the signs be aesthetically pleasing, including the frame around the sign. Grocott added the City needed to be “careful of visual noise.”
Royce said he’s in favor of starting off with one or just a few boards to learn how to best use them and to gauge public reaction. Grocott said he’d like to see the East side and the train depot added to the list of proposed sites, which as of 10/24 included:
Alameda & Brittan; Brittan & Cedar; San Carlos & Chestnut (in front of Adult Community Center); San Carlos Ave. & Elm (City Hall Park); Laurel Street Park
Mayor Andy Klein noted several Traffic & Circulation commissioners had expressed their concerns about the signs possibly distracting drivers in emails to the council.
Doug Long said he checked out the locations with SC Police Bureau Chief Greg Rothaus, who told him none of the sites would present an issue.
Council member Bob Grassilli asked if the electronic signs would eliminate the clutter posed by the number of fold-out A-frames around town.
There was no clear answer to that. Long said it would depend on the type and number of community organizations the City would allow to use the boards.
Parks & Rec Director Doug Long’s next step is to draft a proposal for the City Council’s consideration, including sign specifications and cost estimates for one to three signs, plus a recommendation for best locations and a traffic analysis.
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