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Roseville council votes to allow digital billboards

Vice mayor says it’s a ‘win-win’ for community
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Roseville residents may in the near future start seeing electronic billboards on city-owned property along Interstate 80.

Roseville City Council unanimously approved amending the city’s sign ordinance during Wednesday’s meeting to allow for the possibility of transitioning from static billboards to digital ones. Mayor Pauline Roccucci and Councilman John Allard were absent.

“I think that makes sense for us,” Vice Mayor Susan Rohan told the Press Tribune. “(Electronic billboards) make roadways more plain and attractive and modern looking. I think this is a trend in signage and it’s a win-win for the community.”

She said the digital signs are more aesthetically pleasing and create a new revenue source.

The council still can decide not to move forward with this plan if they determine it’s not in the community’s best interest. Future council action is required to identify the specific sites and designs of the signs.

“Digital billboards are growing in popularity, primarily due to their ability to display literally thousands of messages over a 24/7 time period versus a single message on a static billboard,” said senior planner Mike Isom.

Electronic billboards allow for the consolidation or relocation of existing static billboards. Several outdoor advertising agencies are interested in constructing electronic billboards along Interstate 80 and Highway 65 in Roseville, Isom said.

“Several communities throughout the state, (including Sacramento) have successfully implemented digital billboards programs that not only consolidate static billboards but also produce long-term revenue streams — 25-to 30-year deals,” he said.

Roseville does not yet have an estimate as to how much revenue will be produced through these billboards, but Isom said as a point of comparison the City of Sacramento brings in about $15,000 per sign per month. This doesn't include a signing bonus for each sign.

Roseville has five existing static billboards along I-80 and city ordinance prohibits new billboards.

City buses to accept universal fare

In other news, local residents will soon see local improvements in public transit. The council approved two items during Wednesday’s meeting, including an update to the Louis/Orlando transfer point to accommodate more buses and amenities.

The multi-jurisdictional, regional project will provide additional buses, a restroom facility, bus shelters, fare kiosks, bus arrival signs, pedestrian and bike improvements, lights and security cameras. Neighboring land will be purchased to build a park and ride lot.

City staff has been working with Placer County Transit, City of Citrus Heights, Sacramento Regional Transit, Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and California Transportation Commission to begin work on this project, which will cost an estimated $4.9 million.

The city is also participating in a universal transit fare technology project called the Connect Card system, which will allow customers to use a single fare card at any of the sales outlets of participating transit agencies or online.

When passengers board a bus of a participating agency, an electronic fare box automatically deducts the value of the trip from the card. This type of system has created seamless transit services in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, according to the city’s staff report.

Rohan told the Press Tribune she used public transportation in the Bay Area and sees the value in a connected system.

“I found that the convenience of using one ticket is really great,” she said. “I’m glad to see the Sacramento region moving in that direction and Roseville (taking part).”

The city says the system will enhance connectivity between the region’s transit agencies and increase transit ridership among existing and new patrons. SACOG is leading the regional project to implement the system, which will cost an estimated $330,000.

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Here’s a look at some other items approved during the Sept. 7 council meeting:

Downtown Specific Plan phase 1 infrastructure improvement award of contract: The plan calls for a number of infrastructure improvements to support the area’s envisioned growth. The streetscape and infrastructure improvements will occur in two phases. Design service will cost $414,360. No general funds will be used.

Intelligent Transportation System master plan update agreement: ITS refers to using technology to improve traffic flow, such as signal controllers, traffic cameras and changeable message signs. In 2005, council adopted the city’s first ITS master plan to be updated about every five years. The company Kimley-Horn will review the plan, and provide direction for services and technology improvements. The total contract amount is $69,965 and is funded with Traffic Mitigation Fees.

Secret Ravine fish passage improvement project award of contract: The city in conjunction with Dry Creek Conservancy District will improve fish passage on Secret Ravine in western Placer County. Secret Ravine is a perennial stream that supports spawning, juvenile rearing and emigration of Chinook salmon and steelhead. The city will remove an abandoned bridge and utility crossing that presents a migration obstacle, and will modify the creek bed. Total cost is not-to-exceed $175,802 and will be funded by a Department of Water Resources grant.

Vehicle purchases: The city will purchase seven 2011 Ford Ranger extended cab pickups from Downtown Ford as fleet replacements. Total cost is $117,741.

Afterschool safety and education program understanding: Since 2006, Roseville City School District has received grant funding from the California Department of Education to provide a free afterschool program at Cirby and Woodbridge elementary schools for participating families. Total state funding is $112,500 per school and will fully offset the cost of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to administer and operate this program.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.