Monday, November 14, 2011

Corporate Ads Colonize 
the Ceilings of Muni Buses 

It's like a 1950s low-budget science fiction movie, in glorious black and white with jumpy music wailing on the soundtrack.

I'm talking about the further disappearance of public space in San Francisco, space slowing and methodically taken over by Corporate America and their ceaseless need to capture more consumer eyeballs.

You've read my posts railing against the empty news racks cluttering up key pedestrian intersections, and that they're nothing more than Clear Channel advertising spaces bringing in a minimal return for the city's coffers. One element to this scary urban tale.

Other San Francisco bloggers and public space advocates, whom I can count using only my two hands, have bemoaned the cylindrical kiosks sitting along Market Street, lit up at night with three enormous ads vying for attention. Not enough voices speaking up over the encroaching commercialization of our beautiful city, which I fear will be even more prevalent during four-years of Mayor Ed Lee running City Hall. Ugh.

There's also the relatively new, at least to me, four-panel V-shaped stands hitting the sidewalks around town, taking up more of the ever-diminishing public space.

Don't forget about the additional advertising space at bus stops and throughout our regional public transit systems, and on the sides of the squat-shaped public toilets around town taking up more room for Big Banking or Corporate America advertising.

More public space has been taken away from average folks, this time on Muni buses. During the inclement weather on Friday, I was forced to ride Muni and while cruising a handsome man at the back of the 22 Fillmore bus, my eyes followed him when he stood up and above his cute head was the ad you see in the photo.

That was the first I'd seen of such advertising. I missed the notice from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency before they sold off the ceilings of our bus fleet.

What should we call this terrible eating away of the public space and transit vehicles? Does "Invasion of the Public Space Snatchers" work?

The better question to pose is, how do we reclaim our collective space back from the corporations and politicians who have auctioned off the public property and retain what is left of it?

San Francisco's unique cityscape is harmed with all this commercial crap and no matter how much public space is sold off to the highest bidder, it won't solve our budgetary shortfalls.

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