City lighting being brought up to meet standards

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka
Salisbury wants to do a better job lighting up the night.
For the first time in four years, the city has a street lighting technician who has been trying to catch up the city’s backlog of streetlight requests and projects.
After the backlog is addressed, Vickie Eddleman will look at thoroughfares in the city to bring their lighting levels up to city standards.
Eddleman then will focus her attention on marketing the petition process to citizens.
In the 2007-2008 budget, city officials rededicated themselves to improved street lighting after not having a program in place since 2003.
Land Management and Development Director Dan Mikkelson said Tuesday that Eddleman will spend about 90 percent of her time on street lights for the next five years. Since she took the position in January, she has received training on multiple levels, while also updating the city’s lighting software.
Engineer Patrick Ritchie has assisted her in tackling the backlog of lighting projects.
Two of those projects have been completed, with new street lights in Secret Garden Court and the Rolling Hills subdivision near Westcliffe.
Work also is in progress on Henderlite Street, the Jersey City neighborhood, Crosby Street, the Stonybrook subdivision and Brenner Avenue. Those projects are in the design stage, started or close to starting, Eddleman said.
Last month, Salisbury City Council members asked for updates or information on Brenner Avenue and West Fisher Street.
Councilman Mark Lewis said Brenner Avenue is especially dark at night, which defeats the city’s efforts to make it more pedestrian friendly by installing a greenway and sidewalks.
In the winter, when it might be dark by 5 p.m., “it’s just not safe,” Lewis said.
Eddleman noted challenges along Brenner Avenue that include guardrails, the greenway, sidewalks and sharp dropoffs from the street. Because of those factors, she has asked Duke Power to design the lighting project for Brenner Avenue.
Also last month, William Peoples questioned the council about the lack of street lights in the 700 and 800 blocks of West Fisher Street, where the Salisbury Community Development Corp. has built seven homes.
Eddleman said she will try to identify a homeowner in that section of the street to lead a petition process.
According to a city policy established in 1988, a petitioner must obtain signatures from two-thirds of the property owners in a proposed area. When a valid petition is received, the date is recorded, and the petitions are processed in the order received.
Eddleman said the city has “new petitions” from Spruce Drive in Westcliffe, Old Wilkesboro Road (from Brenner Avenue to Kelsey-Scott Park), Depot Street (300 block) and the Westwood neighborhood.
She’s knows of “pending petitions” in the rest of Westcliffe, the 400 block of West Lafayette Street, Crawford Street and Rachel and Audrey lanes near Airport Road.
New projects already prioritized include the 1000 and 1100 blocks of West Fisher Street, the 400-500 block of East Liberty Street and the 500 and 600 blocks of West Marsh Street.
Numerous areas in the West Square Historic District also are on the city’s list, including the 100 to 300 blocks and 500 block of South Ellis Street; the 100, 300 and 700 blocks of South Fulton Street; the 300 block of South Church Street; the 400 block of West Fisher Street; the 400 block of West Bank Street; the 400 block of West Horah Street; the 200 and 400 blocks of West Monroe Street; the 400 block of West Marsh Street and the 100 to 300 blocks of West Thomas Street.
Other lighting projects on the city’s agenda are the parking area behind Fire Station 1 off East Innes Street, the city parking lot off West Council and North Church streets and the 300 and 400 blocks of North Lee Street.
Negotiations are under way with C.P. Morgan, the new owners of Drummond Village. Mikkelson said the light fixture originally approved for the first owner of the subdivision is no longer available.
In 2007, Mikkelson said the city had 3,587 existing street lights, representing an annual cost of $344,870.
The city would need six years to bring all streets up to the current lighting standards, Mikkelson said at the time, and he reiterated Tuesday that changes will take six years.
That would mean:
– Upgrades of $18,240 to change 709 mercury vapor lights to high pressure sodium lights.
– Installation of 1,123 new high pressure sodium lights at a cost of $104,040.
– And hiring of an engineering technician at $39,000.
If that occurred, the city would have 4,710 lights at an annual cost of $506,150, Mikkelson said in 2007.