Dallas — Digital kiosks are located across the country, including in Denver, Atlanta, Miami, and Houston.

When Houston introduced smart technology in 2022, then-Mayor Sylvester Turner said, “You can't be a smart city without smart technology.”

The city of Dallas says the signs can be used to provide free public Wi-Fi to neighborhoods, broadcast real-time emergency alerts and direct visitors to city attractions and restaurants. I am.

But some are skeptical of all these promises.

“We're standing on probably one of the newest and widest sidewalks right now for this conversation, but many sidewalks also have other pieces of furniture, essentially permanent pieces of furniture that impede pedestrian connectivity. “We don't have space for fixed objects,” said Jennifer Scripps, CEO, Downtown Dallas, Inc.

Scripps says the signs have become outdated over time, filled with graffiti and of little use to people who already have cellphones.

“I think the main purpose is advertising,” she said.

The kiosks are being marketed as a moneymaker for the city, with revenue split between the city and the private company that manages the kiosks.

It's unclear how much money the city will make. The city's public works director could not provide a revenue estimate in response to questions from lawmakers.

“We're talking millions and millions of dollars,” said City Councilman Bazaldua, who supports the idea. “If you listen to taxpayers, they want more. What they don't want more of is taxes. As legislators, we need to be creative in finding alternative sources of funding. That will give us the ability to provide for our residents.”

Some critics fear the kiosk will be similar to the circular advertising kiosks that Dallas has had for about 20 years.

“It's an obstruction for pedestrians, it's a visual obstruction for cars and motorists, so it's almost Everybody hates them,” said Councilwoman Carla Mendelsohn.

“Well, there's more than just monsters here. It's disgusting and outdated…” agreed Bazaldua, pointing to one of the old kiosks across from Dallas City Hall.

Digital, interactive kiosks would be a huge improvement and far less intrusive, he says.

The city held a public hearing on the plan, which has drawn some criticism, at Dallas City Hall on Monday night from 6 p.m.

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