Wavy Solar Transit Shelters Are Lovely, But At What Price?


Photo credits Lundberg Design and Streetsblog via Jetson Green
Preston at Jetson Green calls it "an interesting collaboration of five different organizations:San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency(SFMTA), Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc., Lundberg Design,3Form, and Konarka." They are lovely things with Konarka flexible photovoltaics integrated into the 3Form recycled plastic roofs. (See Jaymi's post San Francisco Installing Solar Powered, Wi-Fi Ready Bus Stops).

But it is all paid for by Clear Channel, and the price is a lot of advertising in public space. Perhaps the price is too high.

This is a problem all over North America, where cities don't have the money to pay for what should be public services, so they make deals like this in exchange for ad creep. But no doubt many San Franciscans would rather stand in the rain than in a shelter paid for by a company whose radio stations ban songs by John Lennon and the Dixie Chicks, promoted the anti- Dixie Chicks rallies and basically owns the mediums of outdoor advertising and radio, particularly those stations with the strident climate-denier talk show hosts.

But forget my unreconstructed left-wing politics; I would object if it was owned by George Soros. When you give away the land for a shelter here, a garbage bin there, pretty soon your City is covered in ad creep, ads everywhere, more like Blade Runner every day. Private companies don't "give" us roads and sidewalks; we pay for them. Why isn't decent shelter while waiting for public transit as much a public responsibility?

I wonder what drivers would say if at every intersection there was a sign that said "this green light brought to you by Exxon!"

More on lovely looking transit shelters without rants at Jetson Green.

Tags: Advertising | San Francisco

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