Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Who to contact tags on poles and other utility infrastructure in the public space


Asset tag with information on who to contact on a Verizon Wireless pole, 2700 South, Salt Lake City.

A few months ago I got into a comment thread argument on a Washington Post article, about a situation in Silver Spring in addressing a problem with equipment hanging off dangerously from a pole ("When it comes to utility wires and boxes, companies pass the buck").

Generally, poles are owned by the local electric utility or maybe the phone company, and they rent space on them to other providers to install equipment.  

Usually there isn't information on the pole generally, or on the specific pieces of equipment for who to contact if there is a problem.

I made the point that the pole and all the equipment on it should have contact information (asset tags), so any problems could be addressed, and that the article did us a disservice by not addressing the overarching problem of lack of such identification.

People commented that wasn't the point, etc., that the issue was these specific people and their problem with this particular pole.

One of my lines is that there is a fine line between whining and critical analysis.  For example, entries at Greater Greater Washington are more often about whining--why doesn't this work?--without offering deeper analysis.

While I think it's fine to be good at identifying a problem without necessarily being good at identifying solutions, websites and newspaper columnists I hold to a higher standard. I stopped reading GGW years ago, because I just felt for the time spent, I could get more value reading other sources.

Public Service Commissions should be petitioned to make this a requirement.


Ironically, this is an issue in the park for which I am on the board.  There are no signs posted on who to contact if there is a problem.  Anywhere.  For lost and found, for anything.  This creates a fair amount of problems in my opinion, including giving a sense that there aren't "eyes on the street," which helps to foster vandalism in the restrooms.

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