Hot Fudge Broken Streetlights

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Hot Fudge Broken Streetlights

Postby Andy » Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:38 am

Corner of Bagley and Park Ave. at Grand Circus Park.

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Postby merchantgander » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:09 am

At least the AAA building doesn't look that bad in that photo.
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Postby Andy » Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:44 am

For the record, I called the lighting department yesterday, they said it'd be fixed by Friday.

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Postby merchantgander » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:00 am

Andy wrote:For the record, I called the lighting department yesterday, they said it'd be fixed by Friday.

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If you look, I think you can see someone breaking into Supergay's car on Park Ave in that picture.
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Postby Andy » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:10 am

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Postby Andy » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:47 pm

Opening day for the new Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby was a fine moment for the west side of downtown.

The hotel, at First and West Lafayette, was functioning and lovely Dec. 15 after a $90-million renovation. The street was paved with fresh asphalt. Hockey fans walked past the big windows en route to Joe Louis Arena nearby.

One of the only downers: the streetlights.

A lot of them in the area don't work, and that's a problem. Nothing says urban dysfunction more than broken streetlights, and the thought of visitors walking around bathed in dark shadows should seem unsettling for a city that is eager to redefine itself as a convention center.

I've been paying attention to the streetlights over the past two cold-weather seasons, when quitting time always falls after dark.

And I don't recall many nights when all the lights worked in the neighborhood, which is roughly bounded by the Lodge Freeway, Fort Street, Howard and First.

That area also includes Wayne County Community College District, WDIV-TV (Local 4), the Free Press and Detroit News, Fort Street Presbyterian church and street parking spaces for fans going to Joe Louis Arena.

On recent nights, about 35% of the lights have been on the blink, or, in one case, blinking.

Around the new hotel, two lights on First, just a few feet outside the first-floor bar and restaurant, haven't worked in weeks.

One light next to the hotel on Second, midway between Fort and Lafayette, goes on and off, though it's mostly off.

Detroit's streetlighting system has been an issue for years, of course, just like all cash-starved city services. Most of the time, the complaints focus on residential neighborhoods, but downtown certainly has its dark sides, too.

Stan Topolewski, interim director of the Department of Public Lighting, said many of the city's 88,000 streetlights are aging, and some of the wiring is 40 to 60 years old. Scrappers caused an estimated $5 million in damage in 2007. And, like all city departments, PLD as it is called, is hampered by a lack of funds.

Topolewski said in some cases, all his employees can do is patch. And in other cases, "we're just putting patches on patches."

Last week, the city included $193 million to upgrade the streetlighting system in a $571-million wish list for a possible spending package under the new administration of President-elect Barack Obama.

The emphasis is on "wish" and "possible." It's hardly a sure thing.

But an interim director can dream, can't he?

Topolewski said he would use the $193 million to rewire circuits and convert the 18,000 or so mercury vapor lights to sodium vapor, which is necessary because federal rules have outlawed mercury vapor transformers, and the city can no longer buy them.

"Eventually, we're going to run out," Topolewski said.

Topolewski said his department's goal is to have 95% of the lights working by the end of this year. "We're close to that goal," he said.

He was not laughing, but added: "I know a lot of people would dispute that."

Topolewski acknowledged the department has no "giant computer in the sky" or even inspectors to gauge how many streetlights are off on a given night. He and his employees rely on residents' complaints to estimate the number of broken lights.

The lighting department has between three and five crews to replace burned-out bulbs on any given day. Topolewski said PLD employees will have repaired or replaced more than 15,000 individual lights in 2008.

Since I've been paying attention to streetlights, I've noticed some wacky behavior. Some lights stay on all day, for instance.

Topolewski said that is a sign of a defective photo cell, and when it fails, the light stays on.

"We feel it's better when the light is burning day and night than not at all," he said.

And what about that light that goes on and off that I can see from my desk? Is it taunting me?

No. Topolewski said such behavior indicates a sodium vapor light is failing and needs to be replaced.

Do you know a light that blinks, stays on all day or doesn't go on at all?

Topolewski said to call the city's 311 number. A backup number is 313-224-0500.

I'm dialing now.

I reported bad lights on three streets: First, Second and Third. My call-back numbers are 08240574, 575 and 576.

Topolewski said you should wait at least a week before calling back if no crew shows up.

I'm looking forward to watching the PLD in action.

The happy ending: The PLD trucks were observed in the area before Christmas. And the result was more streetlights shining the night away, with a few more waiting for help.

http://www.freep.com/article/20081222/C ... 60x600.jpg
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Postby Ansel Rakestraw » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:47 pm

On the stretch of St. Aubin iwhere the nice teachers assistant lady was killed by the drag racing Mustang, a couple of the traffic lights were missing bulbs, lenses and wiring, wo when you pulled up during the day the light could be red, yellow or blue.
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Postby Morty » Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:50 pm

The ever-dark lights at grand River/Lahser were all going the other night,up to the section between the bridge at the golf course and Telegraph, those were all dead, as usual. Only the lights from a used car lot illuminated that part of the world.
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Postby The Beav » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:25 pm

I must report back that DPL was out with a vengeance last night in the corridor. They were changing lights up and down 2nd, and the one directly in front of the bar. Either that or it was some guys in a yellow cherry picker stealing mercury lights.
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Postby caseyc » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:27 pm

The Beav wrote:I must report back that DPL was out with a vengeance last night in the corridor. They were changing lights up and down 2nd, and the one directly in front of the bar. Either that or it was some guys in a yellow cherry picker stealing mercury lights.


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Postby David Hall » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:41 pm

The Beav wrote:I must report back that DPL was out with a vengeance last night in the corridor. They were changing lights up and down 2nd, and the one directly in front of the bar. Either that or it was some guys in a yellow cherry picker stealing mercury lights.


DPL has been pulling new cable and replacing bulbs all over my neighborhood. They seem to be working day and night. I've watched em go all of the way up Trumbull and down both sides of Michigan Ave.

Good overtime I'm sure.
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Postby The Beav » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:55 pm

David Hall wrote:
The Beav wrote:I must report back that DPL was out with a vengeance last night in the corridor. They were changing lights up and down 2nd, and the one directly in front of the bar. Either that or it was some guys in a yellow cherry picker stealing mercury lights.


DPL has been pulling new cable and replacing bulbs all over my neighborhood. They seem to be working day and night. I've watched em go all of the way up Trumbull and down both sides of Michigan Ave.

Good overtime I'm sure.


Living at the Episcopal Church, now?
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Postby David Hall » Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:13 pm

The Beav wrote:
David Hall wrote:
The Beav wrote:I must report back that DPL was out with a vengeance last night in the corridor. They were changing lights up and down 2nd, and the one directly in front of the bar. Either that or it was some guys in a yellow cherry picker stealing mercury lights.


DPL has been pulling new cable and replacing bulbs all over my neighborhood. They seem to be working day and night. I've watched em go all of the way up Trumbull and down both sides of Michigan Ave.

Good overtime I'm sure.


Living at the Episcopal Church, now?


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Re: Hot Fudge Broken Streetlights

Postby Andy » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:19 am

I don't know how long this stretch of Park Avenue street lights have been out but it can't be long, those are(were?) remarkably consistent over the years. Always on.

I wonder if that's a deliberate roll back of usage in an area that's considered deserted or just more incompetence. Can't be sure.

All I know is it must be fun to walk down that street at night.

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Re: Hot Fudge Broken Streetlights

Postby Andy » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:52 am

Every single street light on Park Ave. is out.
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