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Saturday, September 24, 2016

City tries again to shine more light on Elysian Valley

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.



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4 comments

  1. The city should pay for this. This is a public safety issue. The police are aware that poorly lit streets raise the likelihood of crime.

  2. Well, I think streets lights should me paid for out of the general fund. They are for everyone, whether visitors or people simply driving through, not just for the residents there. However, Elysian Valley is not being singled out for a special assessment district for these lights, as that is what is done in every neighborhood for the street lights.

  3. I’ve noticed an increase in replacing incandescent street lights with newer LED street lights in the Elysian Heights. It’s been a bit of an adjustment to look out one’s window and see a swath of the trees on these hills brightly lit by these new lights – very akin to someone’s headlights being on.

    It’s certainly a change from the much darker atmosphere the Elysian Heights used to have, but then, as the above poster noted, probably with the benefit of lowered crime.

  4. Ben, we had the same problem with the city switching out the old lights to far brighter LED ones. I emailed Eric Garcetti’s office, who forwarded my email to the head of the lighting for the city, or something like that, and within days our lights were dimmed by 40%. I highly recommend calling. Lights are important, but so is sleep!

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