The city’s street light removal project aimed at saving money is still ongoing, according to John Chapman, assistant director of public works/maintenance. The goal is to save $37,500, or 8.1 percent of the total budget for street lights.The program was first discussed in late 2009. To reach its goal, approximately 250 street lights need to be removed. Chapman explained that the city pays Allegheny Power a $150 lump sum per light per year.
“The project is ongoing but not much has been done with it because of other projects I have had to work on,” said Chapman, who declined to comment on which lights have been removed and on what streets. “Fifty street lights have been removed so far in areas where lights were redundant.” Chapman uses the lights at the railroad as good example of a place were city lights would be redundant.
Other projects that Chapman is working on include upgrading the HVAC system at the former Memorial Hospital campus. “Once we complete the HVAC project at Memorial Hospital, I am hoping it frees up my time and frees up the workers’ time,” said Chapman. After the evening council meetings, Chapman often walks around seeing what lights can be removed. Chapman explained the police chief is always consulted before removing any lights in statistically high-crime areas.
Lights that are removed are determined by a list that rates the reduction from most desirable to least desirable. No. 1 on the list is the reduction of street lights where there is a redundant light source nearby. Some examples are where bridge lights are next to street lights or where a private light source is in the same are. Only the first phase of the list is being worked on at this time, according to Chapman. The priority list contains seven types of areas where lights can be removed, with high-crime areas being last on the list. According to the city’s website, there are more than 2,200 light fixtures located throughout the city.