attbox.jpgAs previously reported, a Board of Supes vote on AT&T’s controversial plan to install 726 surface utility boxes for their U-verse service has been delayed for months by the Board of Supervisors. While next week might be the week they finally cast their votes, today, one Supe is expected to use the issue to demonstrate a lack of consistency within city departments.

As the Chron reports, next Tuesday, July 19th, marks when the Board of Supervisors are next scheduled to decide whether or not the company needs an Environmental Impact Report to implement its opposed-by-many plan.

AT&T says they have a proposal in the works to make the boxes more neighborhood friendly, including potentially lowering the number of boxes, planting trees and shrubs around them, and removing graffiti on them for residents, as well as hiring local and union workers.

Supervisor Scott Wiener says he has been has been meeting with both sides and now sees the issue as not only one of environmental impact but of how two city departments just aren’t communicating with each other.

As Wiener tells the Chron’s Andrew S. Ross, “It became very clear that there’s not a lot of clarity in how the city manages its sidewalks and what it puts on its sidewalks. Along comes a proposal to put 726 boxes on the streets, and there’s no overall policy or plan for the city on this kind of thing, especially when it comes to implementing the city’s Better Streets Plan.”

Weiner is expected to bring up this conflict between city agencies at today’s Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee meeting. The full Board is scheduled to vote on the AT&T proposal next Tuesday, July 19.

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • salsaman

    This seems to be a problem with having private companies responsible for infrastructure: there will be people who oppose the boxes because they’re private, because they’re new, because people don’t like AT&T, or because the plan may or may not be designed to have a minimal impact on the sidewalks.

    It’s clear that the city doesn’t do a very good job of managing sidewalk boxes: there are many, many PG&E boxes with no locks, easily opened to expose high voltage, high current mains lines.

  • salsaman

    This seems to be a problem with having private companies responsible for infrastructure: there will be people who oppose the boxes because they’re private, because they’re new, because people don’t like AT&T, or because the plan may or may not be designed to have a minimal impact on the sidewalks.

    It’s clear that the city doesn’t do a very good job of managing sidewalk boxes: there are many, many PG&E boxes with no locks, easily opened to expose high voltage, high current mains lines.

  • DT

    Agree with Salesman.

    One solution would be to use the various utility boxes, ganged together as part of Muni shelters. This would reduce the glass wall breakage, the exteriors could be covered in ads (for revenue) just like the outside of Muni buses. Utility workers could access them from the exterior, thus not interfering with people waiting on Muni. All that would be needed are stools for seating (not sleeping) and a roof. Because there will already be power, lighting, WiFi and a NextBus display would be easily added.

    There also ought to be an ordinance requiring news racks be placed at least 25 feet away from Muni stops.

  • DT

    Agree with Salesman.

    One solution would be to use the various utility boxes, ganged together as part of Muni shelters. This would reduce the glass wall breakage, the exteriors could be covered in ads (for revenue) just like the outside of Muni buses. Utility workers could access them from the exterior, thus not interfering with people waiting on Muni. All that would be needed are stools for seating (not sleeping) and a roof. Because there will already be power, lighting, WiFi and a NextBus display would be easily added.

    There also ought to be an ordinance requiring news racks be placed at least 25 feet away from Muni stops.