The city is glamming up its otherwise dull utility boxes with designs that incorporate the city’s brand and deny space to would-be vandals.
In a news release Monday, the city announced that five utility boxes that contain components for traffic signals had received a makeover as part of beautification efforts in the city. The otherwise unfashionable gunmetal grey boxes were never very attractive, said Dean Schick, transportation co-ordinator for the city.
“They’re not much to look at,” Schick conceded.
The five redesigned boxes were scheduled for replacement anyway, so the engineering and communications departments teamed up to try to answer two questions — how to make them more fabulous and how to deter would-be vandals from tagging boxes.
The result was a series of bold designs incorporating St. Albert’s botanical arts theme. Not only are the new boxes eye catchers by nature of their strong green overtones; they help clean up the messy problem of graffiti.
“One of the key benefits is the fact it is anti-graffiti material that helps for future clean-up,” Schick said.
In the past, when city crews had to remove another drab display of black spray-paint graffiti, removing the tag often meant removing the utility box’s paint in the process.
“So it’s not just getting rid of one problem but causing one as well because you’re wearing down a cabinet.”
The material on which the city’s striking new prints are made allows crews to simply wipe it off like runny mascara.
“It is a material that is used for graffiti. It helps with removal,” Schick said.
Boxes are now walking the runways at St. Albert Trail and Sturgeon Road/St. Anne Street, St. Albert Trail and Boudreau/Giroux Road, Bellerose Drive at the access to St. Albert Centre, Gervais Road at Grange/Glouchester Drive and Sir Winston Churchill Avenue at Grandin Road/St. Anne Street.
Schick said each utility box that is due for replacement would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis whether or not it will be redesigned or simply replaced.
“We are very limited to the number of locations we can do on an annual basis,” Schick said. “We want to replace infrastructure and make sure the intersections are operating as best and as safely as they can.”
Each new cabinet design will set the city back $1,500.