Viewpoint: Preview our new, muchdreaded ‘street furniture’

By Maggie O’Connor –


In May I visited the Astral Media showcase of the city’s new street furniture program on behalf of Cabbagetown2.0, the Old Caggabgetown Business Improvement Area’s public space committee.
Overall, it inspired in me a long list of pros and cons, questions and possibilities. For instance, the furnishings carry less advertising than I expected— but this is only guaranteed for a limited period of Astral’s contract with the city.
Also, neighbourhoods cannot choose the ones without ads because the location dictates the placement of ads based on the amount of traffic it will get. There is one lovely all-glass, no-ad bus shelter with a solar-powered lighting system.
It would do a lot for the corner of Carlton and Parliament where the current shelter is very dark due to the big ad at one end, the lack of lighting and the dark colour of the structure. METRAC’s auditing group is lobbying for bus shelters to exclude side billboards for a variety of street safety issues—an important consideration.