St. Louis Park green network goes brown

St. Louis Park in Minnesota planned to take its municipal network green with 400 solar-powered access points. Now it is painting the poles on which they’ll be mounted brown to address residents’ concerns about their appearance.St. Louis Park in Minnesota planned to take its municipal network green with 400 solar-powered access points. Now it is painting the poles on which they’ll be mounted brown to address residents’ concerns about their appearance.

Last month we reported on the rising public resistance to St. Louis Park’s plans for a solar-powered network. The city stopped work on the project after residents complained about the appearance and placement of the poles.

This month, the city council determined to go ahead with the deployment after issuing guidelines to mitigate the aesthetic impact. In addition to painting the16-foot poles brown, the council advised:

  • Changing pole height.
  • More use of intersection locations to minimize use of public rights of way that would interfere with mid-lot views.
  • Greater use of city-owned light poles, public buildings, parks and other public land and structures.
  • Locating street signs and traffic control signals on the poles, with no increase in the number of pole locations.
  • Where possible, locating poles in alleys and along major roadways “with existing street furniture.”
  • Placement of poles at property lot lines
  • Aesthetics are one of the biggest stumbling block to public acceptance of community wireless. It is one of those non-technical, but still extremely challenging, issues in a deployment. It will be interesting, as St. Louis Park continues the roll-out, to see how well these solutions are accepted.

    You can click here to read Jim Geier’s recommendations for how to address aesthetics before they become an obstacle to deployment.

    You can click here to see what the poles and mountings looked like before they were painted.

    Click here to access the city’s web site and read about its revised plans.