Everyone knows that there are dark areas in Bolton Hill after the sun goes down. And the MRIA Safety Committee has heard about lots of reasons. Trees are obstructing the lights. There aren’t enough street lights. Neighbors don’t turn on their outside lights.
While everyone thinks they understand the reasons, we wanted hard data. The Safety Committee developed and distributed an online survey, and now have data from some 200 residents who answered four simple questions.
We have begun sorting through the responses and wanted to report some preliminary findings. On the positive side, approximately a fifth (20%) of the respondents said their block is well lit (4 or 5 stars on survey).
The 80% who felt their block was poorly lit were able to identify reasons why.
By far, the most common reasons identified for inadequate lighting were not enough city street lights (63%) and lights that are obstructed (53%). Approximately 23% of the responses noted that lighting could be improved if house front lights were turned on. (The survey allowed for more than one reason to be selected, so percentages total more than 100%.)
The Committee is continuing to collect results and review the data. We will then map the data to identify differences among subsections of the neighborhood, and evaluate the more than 70 detailed comments received.
We will utilize this information to formulate an action plan. We have already begun to examine potential lighting options and are starting to engage partners. For example, BGE has an innovative B-More Bright Initiative and a Smart Energy program, and the Baltimore Historic Society may be a source for grant funding.
The Committee will provide regular updates at monthly MRIA board meetings.