ANC Rep: “an effort underway to darken or to remove some of the street lamps around the newly completed Harvard Triangle construction project”

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From an email:

“There is currently an effort underway to darken or to remove some of the street lamps around the newly completed Harvard Triangle construction project.  This includes Adams Mill Road and portions of Kenyon, Irving, and Harvard Streets (see attached photos).

Shields have already been installed around eight of the lamps in this area so that light does not shine directly into any one’s home.  Residents living across from the bus stop have said that this has been effective and light is no longer shining into their windows.

Community concern

Some residents feel, however, that the area should still be darker in general.  And other residents – particularly those living in Harvard Towers – have serious concerns about this proposal.  Many are some of our most vulnerable residents.  They are seniors or live with disabilities.  They are grateful for the new lighting and they have asked for our support in maintaining it.

The seniors and persons living with disabilities in Harvard Towers take the bus to get to or return home from work.  They have said that the better lighting helps them navigate the steep slope to Harvard Towers and allows them to better see what is around them.  In addition, they have a greater sense of security knowing that if someone approaches them with criminal intent, someone else will be better able to see it.

Opportunity for support

As a Mount Pleasant resident, I am most proud of the strength we display in coming together to support our neighbors.  Those in Harvard Towers are supportive of the lighting shields that have been installed on the street lamps across from and adjacent to neighbors’ homes.  They empathize with the annoyance of dealing with a bright street lamp.  In return, I believe that we can and should offer the same empathy for those who wait at the bus stop alone or return home from the bus stop at night.  Because better lighting matters to them – our most vulnerable — it also matters to us.

Frequently asked questions

There have been some questions about why there are more street lamps than there were previously.  My understanding is that new street lamps were installed, in part, to provide a continuous flow of lighting and to eliminate the light spot, dark spot effect.  Uneven lighting is what often presents a safety concern, as criminals can launch attacks from dark areas, after scoping victims passing through light areas.

There have also been questions about what our local MPD recommends.  Our MPD has said that the lighting has been better for the area in question and that many of the car break-ins with which Mount Pleasant has struggled have typically happened on the darker corridors of our streets.

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Indeed, I also led a neighborhood walkthrough of this same area in June 2013 with our local MPD, our Councilmember, and many of the same residents.  At that time, the expressed need was for more lighting, given the robberies and home burglaries that Mount Pleasant residents had started to experience.

Finally, there have been many questions about studies on the relationship between lighting and crime. Contrary to belief, the studies do not show that better lighting makes crime worse.   The findings state merely that in some cities across the United States, increased lighting has not necessarily led to a decrease in crime.  In other cities, however – such as Atlanta, Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Fort Worth – the studies shows that better lighting has, in fact, led to lower crime rates.  Additionally, in many neighborhoods in Chicago for example, lighting outages in some neighborhoods actually led to a spike in crime, by as much as 134%.

What you can do

As the ANC commissioner for this single member district, I am dedicated to unifying us in our diversity. This is our opportunity to show, as our President so eloquently stated, that “we have a stake in each other, that I am my brother’s keeper, that I am my sister’s keeper, that I’ve got obligations not just for myself, not just for my family but also for you, that every child is my child, that every senior citizen deserves protection.”

If you would like to read more on this issue, please see the attached or visit this link to download the minutes from a February 19 meeting at Harvard Towers: .

If you would like to share your thoughts on this issue, please:

China Boak Terrell*

Commissioner, ANC 1D05″

11 Comment

  • So installing shields on some lights has fixed the problem for the houses that had too much light shining into their windows, but some people want it to be darker “just because” and at the inconvenience and possible security risk to others? What’s the issue here? Why do some residents still want it to be darker?

    • It’s an uproar caused by the same couple who think they are entitled to their own private Dept of Public Works.

      • Who? Are they the reason that the whole intersection was redone in the first place?

        • Doubtful. Many people wanted the intersection changed to allow for a left turn off Kenyon.

          But I believe it is the same couple that worked hard to get the rock surfacing on the bizarre structure that they built between the lanes (you have to see it to know what I mean). In my opinion, this was a big improvement and I’m glad they pushed DPW.

  • I also got a survey about this “issue” in my mail slot. I didn’t return it, but I know who sent it out. I assumed that in any lighting survey, people would be asking for more lighting. I didn’t realize that people want lighting to go away.

    I find this stretch of road very desolate later at night, so I think more light is better. I can’t see why anyone would want it taken away. But, I don’t live across the street either.

  • It is bizarrely bright. More like a truck stop or a football field than a city street.

    China keeps defending DDOT’s screw ups on this project — maybe she’s angling for job with the agency.

  • Interesting that China is so interested in differing opinions when it comes to her SMD but has no problem unilaterally demanding that DDOT move signs to remove valuable parking, with no input from the ANC or residents of the affected SMDs. Fake.

    • Agreed – this is totally disingenuous on her part to be promoting collaboration when she tends to be uncollaborative when it comes to ANC matters.

  • And what about similar concern over the general lack of attractive lighting on Mt. Pleasant street, or the general disrepair of that street. It’s a gem that needs to be cleaned – not changed, not revamped (etc etc) – but just cleaned.

  • as a parent of two young children who frequents the zoo often, i’m thankful for this additional lighting as we usually catch the bus home here.

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