DTNA Joins Suit Against ATT New Utility Box Project-Injunction Issued

ATT Monster Utility Box (Photo: DTNA Website)

ATT Monster Utility Box (Photo: DTNA Website)

Since 2008 the Dudoce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA) has been working in association with San Francisco Beautiful and a coalition of organizations to keep our sidewalks free from additional ATT junction boxes.

These bulky, metal boxes are already an impediment to free movement on our often dense City sidewalks not to mention magnets for graffiti vandalism.

DTNA  and it’s coalition partners had hoped to convince the telecommunications giant to come up with a more environmental friendly solution for the much-needed upgrades they’ve started in the Duboce and Castro neighborhoods internet and phone line system as well as other spots through out SF.

Everyone involved agree upgrades need to happen and support new technology advances within the infrastructure of the City. This is especially true of the Castro where four, multi-storied, mixed use business/residential buildings are currently under construction. These new units and their occupants will weigh heavily on an already taxed internet/communications system.

In August of 2012 DTNA joined the coalition in filing suit against the City to demand compliance with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) regulations. The lawsuit demanded ATT be required to create an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in regards to the upgrade project.

AT&T’s project stipulates the installation of 726 refrigerator-sized utility cabinets on our City sidewalks. No one in City Hall or ATT seem to know exactly how many of these boxes already exist in our Cityscape. The Lightspeed Project was also originally granted exemption from environmental review by the Planning Department-a decision that was later affirmed by the Board of Supervisors.

On November 14, Judge Harold Kahn of the San Francisco Superior Court issued a temporary injunction which will halt any further permitting or construction of new AT&T utility boxes Citywide until a final ruling on the environmental lawsuit.

At this time the demand for the EIR is still caught up in court and all parties are hoping to see it resolved quickly.

DTNA and its associates have no desire to impede progress with the City and it’s ever-growing technological needs, yet, they also want to see some practical consideration given to the reality of how 726 new boxes being placed on already over crowded side walks and streets would affect it’s citizens.




Waiyde Palmer

Waiyde Palmer loves San Francisco, social activism and punk rock(ers). His work has appeared in Handbook Magazine. SF Bay Times, The Advocate, Diseased Pariah News and American Music Press . He also has an extensive and repeatedly redacted FBI file.

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4 Responses

  1. ls says:

    I always wondered why they don’t just dig and put such boxes underground. It is probably a bit more expensive, but it is an investment. Once underground you don’t need to maintain the outer box, clean the graffiti. You would think that it is less prone to accident too (if a car hit that box, the whole neighborhood loses phone and internet ?).
    Just dig a little hole and put the box in there.

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  2. Sanchez resident says:

    I have to wonder and speculate where DTNA is getting the money to “join” the lawsuit. Perhaps a grant from Comcast?

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    • Waiyde says:

      Sanchez Resident:

      Thanks for responding. It is an excellent question however and I will look into it.

      DTNA is an organization whose members pay dues to belong. There is also ad space revenue from their newsletter. I don’t believe the cost incursion was high as the lead plaintiff is San Francisco Beautiful.

      As for the implication DTNA is in cohoots with Comcast for some nefarious purpose one could wonder the same about you and ATT if one’s given over to conspiracy theory or conjecture. ;)

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