Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lights Out

There are some profound truths in the world that we all just know as fact. There are also these in the urban world. "Pedestrians should use the sidewalk", "Turn signals are best effective when used", "Green means go". There is another one that seems little used in Baltimore though, "Street Lights are most helpful when turned on". Swing-and-a-miss for our city.

I bring this up, because I've noticed one glaring thing almost everyday from my walk back to work. Not too long ago, over the late summer and fall, road workers were busy repairing a stretch of E.Saratoga St between Calvert and Cathedral as a part of a streetscape improvement program. In addition to street work, the sidewalks were replaced, and new pedestrian street lamps were installed. You know, the nice tall black ones with the clear glass bulb at the top, typical of the rest of Baltimore.

After the construction was finished, it looked greatly improved, except one little, minor oversight. The street lights were never, I'm guessing, plugged in. Now, I've walked this route at 5pm when the sun is just setting and the street lights aren't on, because we know that sometimes the lights are triggered at a certain hour. However, I've walked Saratoga Street at 8, 9, 10, 11pm, and have never seen them lit!

Is this just a minor oversite, negligence or is there another step of the process that I'm just not getting. Thoughts?

UPDATE: Jamie Kendrick from Baltimore DOT left a comment regarding the lights. Thanks for the news!


  1. The budgeted for the lamps, but not the electricity? :)

  2. Chris --

    Be assured, the lights have not been forgotten. On Wednesday of this past week, the final lamp was installed. Only at that time will BGE accept the lights for the process of energizing; sometimes, BGE then takes 3 - 4 weeks to energize. Our standard practice is that the existing street lights remain operational until new lights are energized. i drove the area last night (during the snowstorm) and saw most of the overhead lights were on. If that wasnt the case earlier in the week, please accept our apologies.

    Jamie Kendrick
    Deputy Director, Baltimore City DOT