Survey: Nearly half of two Detroit neighborhoods’ streetlights are broken

October 23, 2013

The Detroit Free Press
By Joe Guillen
Posted October 22, 2013 8:59 PM

Survey: Nearly half of two Detroit neighborhoods’ streetlights are broken

Nearly half of the street lights are broken in two Detroit neighborhoods that are part of study to improve lighting throughout the city, the city’s Public Lighting Authority announced today.

The authority studied 4,939 streetlights in the two neighborhoods during the last month and found that 2,211 of them, or about 45%, are not working. The streetlights studied represent less than 6% of all the lights in Detroit.

New streetlights will be installed in the neighborhoods beginning in early November, the lighting authority said in a news release.

“The survey has provided us with specific information about the condition of every single streetlight in both project areas,” Odis Jones, the authority’s executive director, said in a statement. “This will enable us to design the best lighting plan for each area as we move forward to give the citizens of Detroit the lighting they deserve.”

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s office has estimated that up to 40,000 of the city’s 88,000 streetlights are not working. The Public Lighting Authority, which state lawmakers authorized last year, is working on a three-year plan to overhaul and improve the city’s lighting system. The survey results announced today are part of a pilot project to begin the work.

The pilot project included one east-side neighborhood and one west-side neighborhood. Workers went block by block, examining every light.

On the east side — within the boundaries of 8 Mile, Kelly, Hoover and Houston Whittier Street — a total of 3,194 lights were examined. Of those, 1,417 were not working.

The west-side neighborhood had 1,745 streetlights, and 794 of those were not working. The neighborhood generally was defined by McNichols, the Southfield Freeway, Fenkell and Telegraph.

“Before we could develop a plan to renovate the city’s streetlights, it was critical that we have accurate, up-to-date information on the system as it exists today,” Jones said. “Since the most current data was 15 years old, that made it necessary to go out and survey the condition of every single light.”

The authority is funded with $12.5 million a year from a utility users tax. It is expected to issue about $160 million in debt to further its work.