Ask Benny: Space beneath this headline not dedicated

Dear Benny,
I beg a word of enlightenment on some rather curious plaques that appear in the sidewalk near the corner of 36th and Walnut streets (and perhaps elsewhere). The inlaid strips of metal read something to the effect of “space between these lines not designated.” I thought this was a phenomenon unique to Penn until I saw a similar and far more worn plaque in the pavement in Center City. Any information you might have to offer would be most welcome.
—Vexed in VPUL

Dear Vexed,
Those plates are curious, aren’t they? But they’re there to protect the property owner’s rights—Penn’s, in the case of the ones at University Square. University Architect Charlie Newman informs me that the plaques are placed along the property line. The space within the plaques is “not dedicated” to the public. In other words, even though the property owner has allowed the public to access the space freely, it’s still private property.

Dear Benny,
I work in a University department that generates more than its share of waste paper. There are special containers for recycling mixed paper, but their contents are regularly mixed in with other non-recyclable trash. What’s up with this? Also, I’ve heard rumors that materials being put in the outdoor recycling containers for aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles are also not being recycled.
—Trying to Do the Right Thing

Dear Good Citizen,
Bill Chenoweth, who manages our contract housekeeping staff, informs me that if you see housekeepers emptying recyclables into the regular trash, you should get in touch with your housekeeping zone manager and let him or her know about the problem. If you don’t know who that is, call the Facilities Services Housekeeping office at 215-573-2750 to be put in touch with a supervisor. Identify yourself and the building where you work.

As for the outdoor bins, Recycling Supervisor Matt Cutrusello assures me that they are emptied separately, but when people throw trash into them, they cannot be recycled. So make sure never to throw trash in containers marked for recyclable materials.

Got a question for Benny? Send it to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106 or e-mail it to current@pobox.upenn.edu.

Originally published on September 5, 2002