Street Lights

Street Light Initiative

The Street Light Initiative relates to MAP initiatives 3 Strengthening Pride and Image, 4 Creating Attractive and Desirable Places, and 5 Managing Community Resources. This initiative seeks to address the neglect of street lights within Thomas Park/Avondale (TPA) as they provide a sense of safety. The presence of streetlights or the lack thereof can play a significant role in a city and neighborhood’s perception. Updating and maintaining streetlights is important for the image and perception of the City (MAP Initiative 3). The 4th initiative in the MAP is related to the streetlights initiative in the same way as the 3rd initiative, by making sure that streets are well lit the perception of safety increases. The 5th initiative of MAP relates to streetlights because it falls under the infrastructural component of city resources. Streetlights need to be managed much like other forms of infrastructure. Thomas Park/Avondale residents have been vocal about the lack of adequate street lighting in the neighborhood, whether as a result of unmaintained streetlights or non-existent streetlights.

streetlight_charette_starke

Figure 1: Illustration of a well lit street. Source Spencer Starke

How

This initiative was created after the need was vocalized through surveys, neighborhood meetings and emails from residents. The residents of Thomas Park/Avondale have quite uniformly expressed there concerns about the lighting in the neighborhood.

Why

Streetlights are very important for the 24-hour safety and accessibility of an area. Without streetlights, pedestrians cannot see their path; thus any hazards that may be present are hidden. Drivers are also safer as the street lighting allows them to see further so as to avoid pedestrians and wildlife. Perhaps more important than actual safety is perceived safety. If residents do not feel safe walking down the street, they will be barred from fully participating and engaging in the space. Over all the functional quality as well as the perceived quality is increased by the presence of streetlights.

What

In order to ensure that the non-functioning streetlights are repaired and the unlit areas within Thomas Park/Avondale a committee could be formed. This committee would be responsible for filing repair request, keeping an updated list of functioning lights, and requesting new lights in dark areas. The committee would report findings at the neighborhood meetings and collect data from the residence in attendance in order to better serve the community.

Suitability

Figure 2 shows where the streetlights are currently and which ones are out. The non-functioning streetlights need to be catalogued and reported. The request forms are online. The areas in Thomas park/ Avondale that are under lit are very noticeable on the map. These areas should be considered when approaching considering the addition of new streetlights in TPA.

Starke_Streetlight_Map

Figure 2. Map showing the location and status of streetlights in TPA  Source:Spencer Starke

Case Studies

Detroit, Michigan

The City of Detroit recently secured a large grant that allowed the city to replace all existing streetlights with high-capacity LED lights. These lights have a longer lifespan, require less maintenance, consume less energy and provide more light than conventional streetlights. The project has yet to be completed, but when it is finished, Detroit’s city lighting will be of equal quantity and quality of that of many major cities. Source.

Jacksonville, Florida

The City of Jacksonville has undergone a transition away from normal, traditional bulbs towards LED streetlights. When the project is completed, the city will be saving an approximated 1 million dollars per year on its energy bill. The new lights will be phased in over a six-year period and on average will use 50 percent less energy. The goal of this project is to improve the lighting as a response to citizens’ concerns about safety within the city. The project has been slated to be completed by 2022. Source.

Resources

The request forms for replacing and fixing streetlights can be found at http://www.cityofmuncie.com/concerns-muncie.htm. Concerning funding, the money comes from the municipality and thus private funding is not necessary. If residents are interested in LED or high efficiency streetlights, the state and federal governments offer low-interest loans for energy efficiency projects. Communicating this interest to the Department of Public Works and providing the information may be a great way to ensure the streetlights that are replaced are high quality and responsible.

The most popular grant for energy efficient programs has recently been decommissioned. There are multiple low-interest loan programs that the state of Indiana offers for projects, such as solar powered LED streetlights. The State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan program has a Green Projects Reserve (GPR). The GPR is an incentive program for SRF loan program users to use more efficient/green technology in their projects. Depending on the type and scale of the project the project may be eligible for improved ranking on the SRF priority list and up to 0.5 percent break on the SRF loan. More information can be found. here.

Contacts

Department of Public Works
5790 West Kilgore Avenue
Muncie, IN 47304
765-747-4847
7am – 3pm (M-F)

cityeng@cityofmuncie.com