Some Elysian Valley residents would rather live in the dark, especially if it means footing the bill for new street lights. Last fall, a proposal to pay for new street lights across five blocks of Elysian Valley failed to win enough votes from 116 property owners who would pay to maintain the lighting. The rejection fueled neighborhood rumors that about 135 street lights that had already been installed or approved in recent years would be unplugged. Those rumors are false, said Julie Wong, spokeswoman for Councilman Eric Garcetti, whose office helped secure a $500,ooo grant to purchase and install the lights (the property assessments are to maintain the lights). The lights that have been installed in two previous phases will remain working. In fact, the same property owners who rejected the assessment district last fall are being asked one again to pay for the lights in a second mail-in election. The annual assessments for private landowners would range from about $68 to about $260 a year.
In addition to hosting meetings to help build support for the new lights, organizers have also turned to Facebook for help, creating an Elysian Valley Lighting Phase III page.
The dark streets of Elysian Valley had been source of worry for many residents. One woman noted that before the new lights arrived, there was only one street light on the entire, four blocks of Knox Street:
It was very dark, especially on moonless nights. A neighbor of ours was assaulted in front of her house recently, and she thinks that the only reason the perpetrator was caught is that the streetlights provided enough light for a witness to see the event.
If the property owners reject the lighting ballot a second time, no additional lights will be installed, said Wong.
A public hearing before the Board of Public Works is scheduled for April 13. The street lighting ballots are due April 20.