More streetlights coming

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, March 10, 2010

FRANKLIN—Residents, some City Council members and the Police Department all agree that some streets in the city are just too dark at night.

About 30 new streetlights could be installed in the city, Michael Stoneham, the director of Franklin Power and Light, said Monday.

“This concern is one I have heard from the council for a long while … I have heard from not one but many residents,” said City Manager June Fleming.

Stoneham said the city has guidelines for the placement of streetlights but not a strict policy.

“The guidelines call for streetlights to be no farther than 600 feet apart but no closer than 300 feet,” he said. “Also, streetlights are placed in cul-de-sacs, at intersections and on sharp curves in roads.”

Stoneham said it’s important to note the distinction between street lighting, which is what the city provides to help drivers and pedestrians navigate streets and sidewalks, and security lighting.

“Security lighting is for purposes of crime prevention,” he said. Street lighting can be a crime deterrent, Stoneham said, “but that is not the primary purpose of street lighting.”

Security lighting would call for lights to be higher than the current 25-foot average height of streetlights in the city and would call for them to only be about 150 feet apart.

“When you start doing that on a large-scale basis, you can run into what I call light pollution where you’ll have citizens complaining about the amount of light coming in through their windows in their homes and so forth,” Stoneham said. “So what you’re trying to do here is come to a happy medium of lighting.”

Stoneham said that he has been out with police officers at night.

“Officers showed me a number of locations where they would like to see additional lighting,” he said. Stoneham said he made note of those locations and a plan has been developed to address the Police Department’s concerns. He said he would present the plan to the Police Department and the city manager soon.

“And then our game plan is to implement it in phases. I think within the next 30 days you’ll see some action taken,” he said.

Fleming apologized for it taking so long to get “to this point.” “But we do now have what we’ve never had, and that is a plan,” she said.