Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Utility Rant

Why is it that when I think I am articulately expressing my opinions, my kids think I am ranting? My opinions today had to do with utility boxes, the green and gray metal boxes that clutter up nearly every street corner in town. In the older parts of town, utilities are discretely (and properly) set in alleys, where they are out of the way. But in the newer areas of town, where developers have spent large amounts of money on the landscaping, with nice street trees and green turf, the metal boxes sit thoughtlessly on the edge of the sidewalk. They are unadorned, paint fading, more-or-less square in orientation, placed without thought for the context or surroundings; if there are two or more boxes, they aren't lined up or placed in any kind of a rhythm. Why can't these boxes be placed away from the front sidewalk, where they will be less noticeable (and less likely to be hit by an errant car)? Or at least placed with some concern for their design and context? I understand that the siting of the boxes is driven by engineering concerns, but the developers would never be allowed to use this rationale for any of their trash dumpsters or internal utilities. So why do the utility companies get away with plopping something down without any concern for design or aesthetics?

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