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Friday, April 22, 2011

Utility box blight, or competition that'll be good for San Francisco?

Yesterday, we were treated to CW Nevius' failure to see the problem with the new AT&T utility boxes that are about to blanket our city.  Innocent little utility boxes that are only 4 feet high and 6 feet wide.  Why, that's no worse than having three or four average fifth-graders standing on the sidewalk, so what's the problem?  I mean, with all these choices on TV coming to our living-rooms, pretty soon we'll all be the size of these boxes ourselves and won't have a care in the world!  San Francisco Beautiful wants us to see them slightly differently...

Here's the problem as I see it:

First, the boxes are ugly.  Second, they're targets for graffiti.  BFD if AT&T is going to have a dedicated phone line to report graffiti on their boxes.  Third, they don't just take away from the sidewalk the width of the box alone - they take up about five feet of width (from curb to edge) and six feet of length.  30 sq-ft.  This amounts to over half an acre of sidewalk space dedicated to these monstrosities.  Many of our sidewalks are barely 6-ft wide as it is.  Aren't sidewalks for, oh, I don't know, walking on?

AT&T's State-of-the-art
I think the Comcast ads featuring the talking tangle of phone wires sums up for me the technology inside these boxes.  I'm all for competition, but if this is AT&T's state of the art, then it's like a horse-and-buggy maker telling us that their vehicle (complete with cup-holder!) is the state-of-the-art in eco-friendly transportation and that it is competition to other eco-friendly vehicles like the Prius and Volt.

If you're interested in making your voice heard, either email Supervisor Cohen, call her about it at (415) 554-7670, or come to the Board of Supervisor's meeting to voice your opinion:

Tuesday, April 26 at 4 PM
Board of Supervisors Chambers, City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, California 94102

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