News director lends a hand, explains:

UPDATED June 3: Yes, there is some justice. After Town Manager Sandy Pooler demanded that Verizon coordinate with other licensees to promptly replace two double poles -- at 319 Mass. Ave./Adams Street and at 108 Warren St. -- the former was replaced days after the May 22 Select Board's authorization. A call from ACMi also nudged the utility.

The double poles in question had remained for at least two years, long after the required removal period. See the ACMi news video.

A double pole occurs when a replacement utility pole is built alongside an original pole -- to update the electric, telephone, cable or other wires -- and the original pole is not yet removed.

According to a statutory reference, once a new pole is installed, the old pole should be removed within 90 days. Verizon’s May 15 semiannual report states that Arlington has 78 double poles, of which 66 are more than three years old.

Pooler said at the board's May 22 meeting, that although one of the utilities had moved its equipment to Mass. Ave. and Adams Street, he was not told which utility was involved. “The level of communication has been horrendous," he said, "I’m more than happy to follow up to get more specific direct communication from Verizon and other utilities in town to make improvements to these poles.”

Pooler will seek Verizon’s commitment to conduct a full audit of its double-pole inventory, and to update the list for omissions before submitting it to the state for its next semiannual double-pole report, for the period ending Nov. 30, 2023.

Double pole at Adams, Mass. Ave.Double pole before removal. / Town photo

DeCourcey notes lack of cooperation

“If that doesn’t happen, I’ll bring this in front of the state board, and describe the lack of cooperation we’re getting,” said board member Steve DeCourcey.

Pooler will also seek Verizon’s commitment to meet with the town quarterly to review its double-pole list and hear what Verizon will do to reduce the backlog. Furthermore, Pooler will request that Verizon provide details about the specific steps it has taken to notify other licensees to coordinate the timely removal of double poles.

Arlington has granted 5G licenses to Verizon, but the utility is not supposed to put any 5G equipment on double poles. “However, I saw a 5G on a double pole in front of Arlington EATS," at 117 Broadway, said DeCourcey.

Town Counsel Doug Heim explained that the town doesn’t lease its poles, so 5G cannot be placed on double poles.

Watch the May 22, 2023, meeting on ACMi:


Documents for this agenda item >> 


This news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert was published Saturday, May 27, 2023. It was updated June 3, 2023, to add  an ACMi news video.

This reporting demonstrates your donations at work to support democracy here.YourArlington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.Your contributions are tax-deductible.