New sign ordinance aims to make Houston airport corridors more visually appealing

A new sign ordinance will make it easier to clear out abandoned signs and replace new signs with smaller ones. (Courtesy city of Houston)
A new sign ordinance will make it easier to clear out abandoned signs and replace new signs with smaller ones. (Courtesy city of Houston)

A new sign ordinance will make it easier to clear out abandoned signs and replace new signs with smaller ones. (Courtesy city of Houston)

An effort to make freeways leading to Houston’s major airports more scenic was approved by Houston City Council on July 29.

The new sign ordinance will allow for abandoned and neglected signs to get torn down or replaced more easily; it will also reduce the size and height limits for new signs along I-45 leading to George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the George P. Hobby airport. Additionally, it promotes the use of LED lighting for new and existing signage.



“We get just one opportunity to make a positive first impression,” said Marlene Gafrick, scenic chair of Scenic Houston, the group leading the effort. “These changes will spur removal of clutter and blight, providing welcoming and more attractive entryways into the city from Hobby, IAH and Ellington Airports. They will also reduce driver distractions.”

The rule changes only apply to new signs. Existing signs will not have to be altered to comply with the ordinance. Groups in support of the effort include the Downtown Management District, the East End Management District and the Houston Restaurant Association, among others.

Editor's note: this post has been updated for clarity.

By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.