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You can't unsee Salt Lake's billboards 

On the Streets

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A row of billboards along the 500 South interstate overpass turn their backs on anyone not in a car driving west . - BRYANT HEATH
  • Bryant Heath
  • A row of billboards along the 500 South interstate overpass turn their backs on anyone not in a car driving west .

There are few things that will elicit a stronger negative reaction from Salt Lake residents than the word "billboards." If you have the unfortunate privilege of commuting on interstates 15 or 80, you'll unfortunately pass dozens of these unsightly displays, advertising everything from restaurants to real estate agents to medical procedures you never knew existed.

But these monstrosities are not just constrained to the interstate highways, as a fair number of them are integrated into our neighborhoods. I once tried to record all their locations but as the numbers grew to such astronomical quantities, I gave up.

And despite our best efforts to ignore and unsee them, the reason they exist in such abundance is that they, regrettably, sink in. The mortgage interest rate is around 6.0% and, as a person who does not consume any financial news whatsoever, I ask myself how exactly do I know this? Yup, billboards.

Since my noticing them is unavoidable, I've made it a pet project to at least spot interesting ones. The above photo shows an unexpected viewpoint of the backside of a series of billboards located on 500 South near 600 West. Despite the variability of the messaging when traveling westbound, the uniformity of these signs against the skyline looking the other direction is a bit striking.

Unquestionably, the most famous billboard in SLC is the one located on the southwest corner of 300 west and 500 south, due to the way it obstructs the viewpoint of several units in a luxury apartment complex (lower right photo). My personal favorite, however, is one on 900 South and 800 West that for several months remained unsullied by an ad (lower left).

Invariably though, a vinyl sign recently appeared on top of the billboard's pure white backdrop, which has me searching for a new favorite. Guess that's one thing billboard companies and Taylor Swift have in common: If they have a blank space, baby—they'll write your name.

Two billboards block the view in Salt Lake City, one from afar and one from right outside an apartment window. - BRYANT HEATH
  • Bryant Heath
  • Two billboards block the view in Salt Lake City, one from afar and one from right outside an apartment window.
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