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Burned out street lights could be fixed this summer

Posted by Geeky Swedes on May 28th, 2009

Those burned out street lights may get fixed this summer. Mayor Greg Nickels has authorized $2.1 million for maintenance crews to catch up with all the outages, according to the Seattle PostGlobe. The online news site says that skyrocketing energy prices have forced a cutback on overtime, which has resulted in a month-and-a-half waiting period to get a streetlight fixed. A year ago, according to the Seattle PI, lights were back on in 10 days. Just this February, we were told that the wait time was 32 working days. Today, that period has jumped to 48 days. The PostGlobe says that crews will work during the summer months to fix the outages.

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26 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 MichaelSnyder // May 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Are they actively checking for dead lights or are they just relying on us to report them?

  • 2 studio5412 // May 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    It is high time that the light bulbs be changed on Ballard Ave. Last Saturday, we counted eight burned out street lights , including one that had been installed on Marvin's Garden to deter unwanted behavior.

  • 3 blueben // May 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I wonder how many millions the city could save on energy if they turned off every other light. It's doubtful it would effect safety, but it would make a huge difference in the budget (and the city's carbon emissions, for that matter).

  • 4 Trix // May 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Good question, MichaelSnyder. I'm curious about that too. It seems like every third street light is out, and has been out for a long time. Do they already know about all of them?

  • 5 Mt Girl // May 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    When I called to report lights on Market I let them know that most of the lights were out in Ballard. The response was underwhelming, I was told that in order for them to write a work order every light needs to be reported individually. This consists of reporting the address of the light and the numbers on the pole. They said they can't just go down the street fixing lights. I reported about 4 lights and that was over 6 months ago and there has been nothing done about it. I also called the Ballard Chamber to see if they could/would help with the issue since it affects our retail & restaurants and I was told that they have nothing to do with that issue and to call the Mayor's hotline.

  • 6 Bulbous // May 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    does a burned-out street light really affect business? I find that hard to believe.

    my eyes aren't that great, but I can see well enough out walking at night. there's already enough ambient light in the sky. I say let them stay burned out.

  • 7 Trix // May 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    There's really no ambient light on side streets, and not a lot on 24th or 15th. I walk at night too, and my eyes adjust easily to the dark. But the looong stretches of pitch black exist and need to be taken care of.

  • 8 Mt Girl // May 28, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Having burned out lights makes our nice little downtown look as though we don't give a crap about our neighborhood. Lets just let all the lights burn out and then set up some old sofa's in front of Sonic Boom and then we can just dump our trash on the street and let it swirl around in the breeze. It will be like we live in NY in the '80's it will be great. Doesn't everyone love to go out to the dark seedy part of town?

  • 9 TTTCOTTH // May 28, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Do you suppose the street lights on his block get serviced immediately?

  • 10 TTTCOTTH // May 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Yeah that hydropower produces a lot of carbon doesn't it.

  • 11 blueben // May 28, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Is 100% of our power in the northwest generated from Hydro?

  • 12 chopper_74 // May 28, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Good, thanks Swedes.
    Make sure that we have them all reported folks.

  • 13 buzzy // May 28, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I have not reported a light out in about 12 months, but never had to wait much longer then a few days. Why do they need all the overtime to replace the lights? They always come here on working days. Park the truck under the light, climb up in a cherry picker on top of the truck, unscrew the buld, replace and leave. Takes 4 minutes at the most. You do need to know the number of the pole when reporting, which is a set of numbers located about 10 feet off the ground . They will ask the address and thats it. they will give a tme frame of about a week, but I have always had it fixed sooner.

    I don't expect a light to be fixed after we have had stormy weather and have waited to report one out at a later time. That is understandable. But to say overtime, budget, shotage problems is just an excuse to raise the rates again. It is not my electric charges on the bill bill that is so high as all the taxes and service charges they now add onto the bill. Look at your ultitlities bill and find out the usage and then add in all the taxes. On our gas bill after taxes, pipe charges we pay more then the actual cost of the gas used. Where are all the taxes being collected going? Multiplied by the thousands here in the city it should add up to good change.

  • 14 Kem66 // May 28, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    There is no money for repair of the basic services that we all hope are paid for by our property taxes because the city has incompetant management right from the top. This article http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews… details how we spent $515,000 on legal fees investigating Paul Jacksons management style! Use you vote and sweep thes nincompoops out of office.

  • 15 Mike // May 28, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I was doing some research on street lighting and how we could be more efficient and I ran across a document which said that the rough equivalent for green house gases was 0.25 tons per kilowatt hour. Comparatively, Arizona was something like 1.5 tons.

  • 16 kim // May 28, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    reporting them. they don't have the resources to send out at night. would you like that job?

  • 17 kim // May 28, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    or utilize the online reporting system.

    http://www.seattle.gov/light/streetlight/

  • 18 MichaelSnyder // May 28, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    There was discussion in city hall earlier this year about having Seattle City Light monitor their lights and not just rely on us to report them. I thought that they had decided to do their own monitoring.

    Would I like that job? Sure, if it paid enough. I've already donated about 4 volunteer hours surveying dead street lights and reporting them. By bicycle, I was averaging about one light reported per minute. It would only take one part time person to be able to cover every streetlight in the city once a year even if you had them do it by bicycle instead of moped.

    If you make it a full-time position, that person could double as a road condition / pothole survey person too.

  • 19 MichaelSnyder // May 28, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I've never called them and asked for a list…maybe I should. If we knew what they had on their list, we could go compare with what we see on the street and let them know about the rest.

  • 20 kim // May 28, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    your argument is valid but again as you stated, if they paid enough. who's going to pay enough to perform that job? that's why it's primarily based on who's it bothering the most or how long can we let it go? sure, i'd like to get paid more for what i do to. duh. to bad there aren't more people like us that are care about the importance of lighting in a community.

    i offer the same argument on the road condition/pothole survey person.

    one another note, how about the road conditions around the RR tracks? now that's a hot button!

  • 21 MichaelSnyder // May 28, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    The problem is that I have a pretty good job right now and it pays really well. I'm not in a position to have my pay cut in half or more to do a mindless job that lets me exercise a ton…but Tacoma had 38,000+ people interviewing for a meter-reader position. A streetlight monitor isn't that much different from a meter-reader except that it would be a night-time job. So, why couldn't it be a minumum wage position? We have a lot of unemployed people and some job would be better than no job.

    We could also be making it a lot easier to report issues. I'd really like to see the city have an interface like http://www.bikewise.org for reporting streetlights.

  • 22 MichaelSnyder // May 28, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    By the way, if you have a long list of 20 or 50 or 100 streetlights, you can just email the list to them instead of reporting each individual light. The online reporting system is a bit tedious if you have a lot of lights to report.

  • 23 lyl // May 28, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    So you think it is too much trouble to report a streetlight out and that “big government” should be taking care of it. And you think “big government should be done away with. And you think you pay too much for our city owned electricity. Try paying Puget Power rates or any other for profit electricity companies rates. Criminy People can find anything to gripe about. And you would really gripe if they actually hired people to drive around at night and look for streetlights out. Just call them in or report them online. And sit back and worry about something bigger than streetlights, like the fact that our Constitution has been trashed and we have a HOmeland Security Dept. That should keep you up at night instead of the streetlights being out.

  • 24 Ernie_98107 // May 29, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Damn straight!

    Thanks for keeping it real lyl.

  • 25 AndreaL // May 29, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    If I worried about something I have no control over, i.e. Obama's lackluster qualifications, the influences of AIPAC (and their incredibly disgusting agenda) and the general incompetence, bias and stupidity of the U.S. government, what exactly would I be able to accomplish? Nothing. Nothing I do singlehandedly would be able to stop federal gov't corruption. I read up on what I can and I make sure to stay informed as best I can, but the number of things I can do to stop it is zero.

    But down here in my little neck of the woods, burned out streetlights are something I do have control over, something I can fix. I do, also, try to report them if I'm able to. To a certain extent, dead streetlights do pose a safety risk — what with the rises in crime around Ballard, would it be easier to spot and escape from a potential rapist/murderer/robber/etc. if you were able to see or if the entire street was shrouded in pitch black? I bet the people who were carjacked on Shilshole didn't have working streetlights around them to spot the perp before it was too late. In fact, having been in that area at night, I'm fairly sure they didn't.

    Doesn't the city ask residents to report burned out streetlights for that very reason? A dark, seedy-looking street is much more dangerous than a brightly lit one, because an unsafe street invites crime.

  • 26 bruce // May 30, 2009 at 5:13 am

    80% of power in the US is coal. Since the power we generate here is shared with the rest of the country power saved here is less coal burned somewhere else.

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