Postage Stamp Crisis (the second lick: sidewalk clutter)


One of the more distressing habits of politicians is to distract critics of what they do (or don’t do) by highlighting the evils of someone else. This is best done if the someone else is a higher level of government, beyond their influence. Thus the sin is compounded by the frustration of helplessness. And is often followed up by an appeal for more money from that someone else, or failing that, from your and my pocket.

The space to be taken up by community mailboxes falls into this category.

Blame someone else for cluttering up the city, someone beyond the city’s jurisdiction. Plead helplessness and frustration.

But don’t ever look at all the boxes within the City’s jurisdiction. Such as the gray traffic box shown above, one of thousands in the city. Collectively, they must occupy as much space as a city park !

And the city’s new standards for those boxes requires them to be on a raised plinth, the better to trip the unwary:



In this brand new installation, the box manages to intrude both onto the cycle track AND the sidewalk, thus aggravating two users at once:

clegg utility box


And we won’t even look at all those “free flyer” type boxes that festoon the city sidewalks ! (why only on sidewalks? why not put them on roads too??).

Or those above-ground brown boxes belonging to Bell and other utilities. They are ubiquitous, and at least in the west side neighbourhoods, have grown significantly larger in the last two years, some times with cantilever add ons. Just so people can have fibre optic internet and selfishly deprive little old folks of their snail mail!



These utility boxes aren’t just on sidewalks. Sometimes they hold conventions on people’s front yards: (can community mailboxes look worse?):


Community mailboxes will require some travel, perhaps even by hardship modes like walking, for people to access their snail mail. I may even be forced to go out every day, anxious to pore over those real estate “just listed” postcards and Paul Dewar mailouts. Worse yet, I may even meet a neighbour face to face, without them having a car windshield for protection !

A few years ago similar complaints were made about the city’s program to replace parking meters at every parking spot with community parking meters. How would the elderly or differentially abled get to those machines? How would the pre-literate read the instructions? Does anyone notice them anymore, other than to curse the hazard where The City put them smack dab on the sidewalk?



I’d have a modicum of sympathy for the City’s community mailbox complaints if I wasn’t so busy rubbing my head where I smacked it into a parking meter solar panel, and resting my ankle from twisting on a city elevated pedestal.


next: the third lick: existing community mailboxes, lots of pictures !