It would be a difficult task to NOT notice the many billboards lining the streets and highways throughout Michigan. In fact, that's a statement that could be applied to just about any state you're visiting.
But, should Michigan ban them entirely?
On Michigan's Reddit page, a user recently posted this question which reads, in part,
Why do we need billboards? I'd love them to disappear. Hawaii and some parts of Texas (Austin area), and I'm sure other places in the US ban billboards along their freeways. Who do they help other than the land owner and advertiser? The amount of money generated can't be worth the sacrifice to natural beauty and visual stress that they generate.
You can see the full post here.
Judging by the response, this post struck quite a chord with other Michiganders.
With nearly 250 comments, most people chose sarcasm for their response but, even with their sarcasm, they seem to agree...Michigan has too many billboards. A few comments that stand out are:
U/AdjNounNumbers who said: My home state of Maine has had them banned since before I was born. Every time I go back home to visit I'm reminded how much I absolutely love their absence. I'm especially happy I get a break from having to see Joumana for a while.
That was quickly followed up by a comment from u/thefoofighter101 that reads: All hail our lord and savior Joumana.
U/Onepride91 said: How am I supposed to know texting and driving is bad without a big sign with text to read while driving?
U/IAmAPhysicsGuy wrote: Even if we can't get rid of all billboards, can we please regulate the ones that light up like the damn Jumbotron in the football stadiums?? They are blindingly bright and distracting, especially when they incorporate motion effects. We get enough ads on our phones and on tv, these do nothing but ruin people's night vision while driving and contribute to light pollution and wildlife disturbances
U/brb-ww2 commented: Yeah I moved to New England where they are either banned or almost non-existent. When I moved back it was obnoxiously disgusting to have your view constantly interrupted by these stupid signs.
And u/Maxwell-Druthers said: First thing I noticed when I visited the upper peninsula last year was the lack of billboards… took me a minute to figure out what was different, but wow, what a difference.
While the original poster may not have been expecting this kind of response, they do bring up a good point. Wouldn't it be nice to have fewer distractions when we're driving? Wouldn't it be better to, instead, see the landscape behind these billboards?
The question is...how do you actually convince the state to get rid of them?
In total, Michigan has about 16,000 billboards throughout the state. Should the state decide to remove those, it could end up being quite costly. A similar decision was made in Minnesota in 2014 that ended up costing the state $4.3 million. As well, there's a potential for the owners of those billboards to seek financial compensation should the state decide to remove them.
For now, if you're in agreement that there are too many billboards, you are more than welcome to start a petition. Clearly, you'll have some support in the state of Michigan. And you never know, if enough signatures are gathered it, hopefully, will grab the attention of our present or future governors.
While banning billboards entirely may be a little out of reach, there was a couple of lawmakers trying to ban a specific type of billboard in April of 2021. Do you agree with them?
Billboards may be an eyesore as you're driving down the road but, how do you feel about sculptures? These weird sculptures can all be seen from Michigan roads: