Society Hill residents still haven't accommodated themselves to the huge brown signal boxes that began appearing on street corners last year. The boxes, which I chronicled in a December column and blog post, are almost six feet and have been jammed against some of the city's oldest, most historic houses. But one resident I wrote about, Marjorie Amrom, is trying to make the signal box next to her house fade into the woodwork. She painted it to match her house's lovely cerulean blue paint, and topped it off with what appears to be a trompe l'oeil painting of vines and flowers. The Philly Design Blog thinks residents ought to get the Mural Arts folks to paint all of them. But that may be going a little too far.
Meanwhile, those boxes, which are used to control traffic lights and will eventually be fitted with camera equipment, aren't the only big brown boxes bugging the neighborhood. Some Society Hill residents are equally appalled at the new big belly trash compactors that the city is installing as a replacement to old-fashion trash cans, according to an article in the July/August issue of the Society Hill Reporter. I can't say these bother me as much. They're almost always near the curb, rather than adjacent to the houses. And they replace an existing street furnishing, the trash bin. Plus they're much neater and better for the environment, since they include a recycling bin.