Invasion of the Sidewalk Snatchers

What is invading downtown sidewalks and snatching away space, replacing it with stainless steel boxes? Are any pedestrians safe?

Are pedestrians and street beggars (err, sidewalk entrepreneurs) safe or will they be captured by some unknown power and put into a stainless steel box? Or is the stainless steel box itself the AI replacement for humans? A civil service of unfeeling unresponsive  humans  clones  metal boxes?

The monstrous box outside the current downtown library is a good example. It is huge. It blocks views. It creates numerous hidden corners and non-visible spaces, which is sure to threaten subjective safety and make the downtown sidewalks feel less safe.

Mind, smokers like to huddle around these boxes, finding them convenient wind breaks. This is a profitable strip for those selling begging services, as evidence by their continual presence … will these boxes reduce their earnings, and will the T2 government struggle without their tax remittances? Will our GDP shrivel more?

And just what is that mysterious white powder on and around some boxes? And who is that guy in the toque with the mysterious coded markings and earpice?

They are great billboards for secrete code messages, drug dealers, taggers, and “graffiti artists”.

Are they to secure vulnerable infrastructure from possible terrorist sabotage? (I wouldn’t put it past ISIL supporters to want to burn all “other” books). Except these boxes are often open at the base, the easier to slip in something unwanted, even if an old lunch bag, and they are securely protected by dollar store locks (sometimes):

How much sidewalk space has been invaded to date? Have a look around you. Note the shadow of a former pedestrian before he “went away”:


Note the upright box, capable of holding a dozen pedestrians, or two dozen starving civil servants who haven’t been paid in months:

Or this box, for stacking (former) pedestrians like cordwood?

How many bodies are in this giant box? Note the shadow of the human witness captured on the steel, before it vanished:

The City doesn’t permit sidewalk salt or sand boxes of anywhere near this size because they apparently inculcate fear and perceptions of unsafety by vulnerable persons who fear they might be attacked by someone hiding the salt box or get their post-assault body stuffed into a salt box, undiscovered and pickled until the following winter…

A few of these giant boxes have metal screens, perhaps to later display captured innocent pedestrians as a warning to others to stay away !

Mind, an alternative explanation is that the transparent metal screens and louvers are to keep the snatched pedestrians breathing until they can used for some nefarious darknight purpose:

A few of these boxes are even disguised as sidewalk art, in the hopes we don’t notice the absence of pedestrians! Where have the pedestrians gone? Do civil servants not smoke anymore?

And the invasion is not stopping! It increases with time! This valuable sidewalk space downtown, right at a busy intersection, was for decades shared by pedestrians and parked RCMP cruisers ensuring public safety…

(above: google street view, 2015)

… then become occupied by a convection of pipes and valves, now concealed under yet another of those monstrous stainless steel pedestrian blood space-sucking boxes …

In new buildings, the giant sidewalk boxes have been disguised as wall vents, but the presence of hinges reveals that they can open and snatch in pedestrians and unwary smokers …

Eyewitness breaking news … these two possibly innocent pedestrians were last seen walking towards one of these portals to the unknown. A few seconds later, when I went to take a second picture … they were gone !

Seriously, dear reader, what caused the sudden proliferation of these ugly boxes? Was no consideration given to the amount of sidewalk space they take up? And to blocked view lines, hidden corners, and other impediments to subjective safety? Did someone somewhere actually think they might improve the downtown sidewalkscape? Is someone somewhere right now planning to cover them all over with crude MacTac like we did their predecessor “signal control boxes”?

Have you, dear reader, seen another downtown anywhere with this boxpox?




One thought on “Invasion of the Sidewalk Snatchers

  1. It seems that a year or two ago they changed the natural gas safety rules and now various entry points and valves must be outside the building. Previously they could have been inside or in the basement. No doubt to allow shut-off from the street nad reduce the risk of leaks inside.

    Of course most gas lines enter from the front, so where else to put the valves but on the sidewalk! Now they must have added new rules that the mains must be covered/hidden from damage, so all these new boxes proliferate. And block Ottawa’s already narrow sidewalks. Sigh.

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