Council gives electronic signs a harsh look

A refresh of Medford laws is needed to deal with the proliferation of eye-catching electronic signs, the City Council decided today.

The council pushed for new regulations that could limit the number of reader board-type signs as well as the intensity and how often the text changes.

Newer electronic signs are capable of displaying full-motion graphics with vivid colors, such as the new display at the Verizon store on Riverside Avenue.

"It's just this fast-moving stuff and video coming at you," Councilor John Michaels said.

Michaels inadvertantly provided an example of the problems of displaying text on signs where one part of a phrase follows another, known as sequential messaging.

He said the Verizon sign indicated you could "text and drive."

"What a bad message," Michaels said, before Councilor Chris Corcoran corrected him.

Corcoran said the message actually stated, "If you want to test an air bag ... text and drive."

The council instructed its planning staff to come back with language to address its concerns.

— Damian Mann

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