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Borough Council Vehemently Opposed To Window-Blocking CATA Bus Ads

by on February 03, 2015 7:05 AM

If the State College Borough Council has any say in the matter, CATA won’t be allowed to wrap its buses in those bumper-to-bumper advertisements 

At its Monday meeting, the borough council vehemently opposed the potential continuation of the trial advertisement program in a discussion that will be summarized and sent to CATA. Ahead of the trial's end in May, CATA is planning to bring a recommendation to its board for the future of wraparound advertisements.

Last year, CATA first began testing the concept of exterior bus wrap advertisements last year. The ads essentially cover the entire bus -- including windows -- as well as the tail end. The trial period has seen four State College buses become moving billboards since Jan. 1, 2014.

“I absolutely hate these, particularly because they cover the windows,” council member Theresa Lafer says. “They don’t look like a CATA bus. They kind of look like a 1960s rock band bus that got stuck in a time warp.”

Council member Peter Morris similarly expressed distaste for the aesthetic effect of covering CATA buses in wraparound advertisements.

“CATA buses have a certain place in this neighborhood. You ought to be able to recognize a CATA bus from down the street,” Morris says. “It’s just a big billboard and it’s junk, so I’m against this too.”

The council briefly discussed that CATA potentially has a need for money, meaning that the advertising would save the taxpayers money.

In other news, the council broached the subject of moving Discovery Space, the hands-on children's museum located at 112 W. Foster Ave., to the vacant Verizon Building. The museum, operated as a nonprofit organization, asked the borough to convey the building to it in order to support growing demand and a need for more space.

“I am happy to hear the news that their financial picture is sound. I am also very happy to hear that they want to stay downtown, because that’s good for the community,” Morris says. “However, I also don’t think we should go as far as to give them the building for free. It sounds to me as if they can afford to pay something for it.”

A potential price tag ranging from $1 million to $1.5 million was discussed. Council was simply holding a discussion on the proposal. A possible vote will be held sometime in the future.

POLL: Should CATA Keep Wrap-Around Bus Ads?

Keep them. I love the ads!
Hate them. I think the ads look awful!
I don't like them. But if the ads help keep fares low they should stay.
Why are we talking about bus ads? I just don't care.

“The Discovery Space is a very important place for local families,” council president James Rosenberger says. “If we think about putting public money into it, we should talk to the surrounding municipalities and we make sure that we go in to that with hands and arms locked together.”

The council passed a motion to receive and review a report on the proposal at its March 2 meeting.

The council also passed an agreement to amend the articles of agreement for the Schlow Centre Region Library. The amendment allows Ferguson Township to join the region that accesses the library.

“I’m going to express appreciation for Ferguson Township coming back and cooperating on joining the library board,” Rosenberger says.

The council also held a public hearing to discuss reducing the required amount of parking at the high school under the conditional use provision. Borough solicitor Terry Williams says that the current zoning laws require 1,330 parking spaces, but the State College Area School District has applied for a reduction of up to 50 percent of that amount.

Williams will write a decision on the parking reduction request for the council to review at its next meeting.


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Zach Berger is the managing editor of He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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