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

by Prince Of Petworth February 25, 2014 at 1:30 pm 11 Comments

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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:  http://chinaterrell.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/HTP-Community-Mtg-Harvard-Towers-2-19-14.docx .

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

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China Boak Terrell*

Commissioner, ANC 1D05″

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