At the corner of Lake Street and Kirkland Ave, pedestrians encounter this utility box.

On a recent trip to Victoria, British Columbia, I noticed that trash cans and utility boxes, trash and recycling bins in the downtown core were decorated with historical photos of Victoria's past. It seems a great way to turn an eyesore into art (or at least make it something interesting to look at).

Here are some crude examples of what might be possible by adding art or photos to utility boxes:

Might Kirkland benefit from such a plan? In downtown, every intersection has a large, ugly gray utility box placed on the sidewalk. They usually are placed near the sidewalk so utility workers can easily see the traffic signals when they work. Unfortunately, that means that everyday pedestrians have to see these eyesores every time they cross a street. Our Green and Blue "Big Belly" trash and recycling bins stand out alright, but perhaps they too could be decorated with art to improve the look of our downtown.

Other cities paint their utility boxes or cover them in historic photos. Should Kirkland do the same?

Utility box in Victoria, BC

Even the garbage and recycling cans look nicer in Victoria, BC

Utility boxes on Richards Road in Bellevue blend into the landscape

Utility boxes on Old Bellevue Main depict the early 20th century ferry terminal in Meydenbauer Bay.

This article was originally published July 25, 2011.