Brenner Avenue getting new lights
By Mark Wineka
Salisbury’s Brenner Avenue, portions of which motorists and pedestrians have found dangerously dark at night, will bask in the glow of 35 new street lights in about two weeks.
“I’ve been raising sand about five years on that,” Salisbury resident William Peoples said. “… I’m glad to see it happen. I can’t wait to see them turn the switch on.”
Peoples has pressed city officials about the need for Brenner Avenue lighting, particularly in the section between Alexander Pointe shopping center and the railroad tracks.
In recent years, the city has installed a greenway, sidewalk, traffic medians and turn lanes in this area.
Peoples said he thought better street lighting was even a bigger priority.
“I’m proud to see the city do this, because it’s needed,” Peoples said.
Improved street lighting promotes safety, deters crime and can even help revive a neighborhood, Peoples said.
The street lights will be a big boost for residents of the public housing apartments near Brenner Avenue because they often walk back and forth to the shopping center, Peoples said.
“I feel like the crusade I put up for street lights and sidewalks was well worth it,” he added. “People will feel safer.”
Motorists also have complained that the street, especially at night, is like an obstacle course since the various changes were made.
The installation of 32 new street lights on new poles and three lights on existing poles is part of efforts to upgrade lighting throughout the city, said Dan Mikkelson, director of Engineering and Development Services.
Duke Energy designed the tough installation along Brenner Avenue. Pole placement was sometimes troublesome in relation to sharp dropoffs in topography, guardrails, sidewalks and greenway.
The Brenner Avenue lighting project also fell victim for several years to city budget cutbacks.
City Council wanted to install the Brenner Avenue lights a long time ago but the city “just didn’t have the staff to do it,” Mikkelson said. “… We’ve had a lot of people express concern about it being dark out there.”
Salisbury eventually hired a city lighting technician, Vickie Eddleman, in 2008 to start addressing the backlog of lighting projects.
On Brenner Avenue, the new luminaries will be the standard cobra style on treated wooden poles.
The power supply will be underground in most cases. Most of the new poles already have been installed.
Duke Energy will own and operate the lights, and the city will pay $375 a month for the 35 additional lights, according to its government rate.