Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Street Crossing Quirks [Updated]

Walk with me through the City and you'll notice that I don't step on anything metal embedded into the street, particularly if it says ConEdison. Usually I see my obstacles early enough to navigate a smooth route, but occasionally I get jammed, and need to maneuver more obviously. Often I'll direct a companion with a tug or nudge.

The reason? I fear stray voltage. In the past five or so years, there have been several news clippings of people or their pets getting zapped by stray voltage. Another dude got lit last night.

article theorizes that the salt laid down in winter contributes to stray voltage. The NYTimes reported in February: "Con Edison received 428 allegations of shocks last year, down from 576 reports in 2004". There are 260,000 ConEd covers and junction boxes in the City, so the risk is low. Some how eliminating that risk helps justify my chronic j-walking.

A side effect of my vigilance is that I'm enamored by the variation of manhole covers. Thankfully there are
many who share the fascination.

[5 April UPDATE] NY Metro notes the "Street Utilities Safety Bill" under consideration in City Hall. The bill "mandate(s) financial penalties on utility companies when their equipment or infrastructure endangers, injures or kills pedestrians or animals."


Blogger Nancy Drew said...

I, too, try to avoid them since I moved to NYC, but I hadn't noticed how beautiful and detailed they are. I wonder who designs them and what they were thinking about.

Thursday, 06 April, 2006  

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