The campaign to install more streetlights off campus, particularly in the neighborhoods surrounding Cal Poly has been ongoing for years. However, little progress was made toward achieving that goal until recently.
“This year we have a strong enough [ASI] president, executive branch and cabinet to move it along,” Anthony Haddad, Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) chief of staff said.
Remedying the lack of streetlights in nearby communities made it to the San Luis Obispo city government’s online ballot, where voters could select it as a priority for the 2017-2019 San Luis Obispo Financial Plan.
Voting officially ended Jan. 18. According to the voting platform’s data, “increased lighting for dark neighborhoods” held the highest number of supporters, garnering 230 votes.
Jake Hudson, transportation operations supervisor for San Luis Obispo’s public works department, reported that San Luis Obispo has approximately 2,400 streetlights. Only 170 of these are located north of Foothill Boulevard and west of Highway 1, where off-campus housing for Cal Poly students is primarily concentrated.
The last streetlight installation in the Foothill Boulevard neighborhood occurred in 2012. Business administration senior Kyle Heuerman lives in the neighborhood and has had difficulty walking home from school at night.
“Most places around campus have a huge contrast from light to dark … the best example is right in front of Front Porch. The street has roots sticking through the concrete and there is no lighting,” Heuerman said. “People always trip over the roots at night because everything but the street is lit up.”
Though the people have spoken, it is not guaranteed that city funds will be allocated to solving this concern in the budget.
“It is not guaranteed until a formal vote from SLO City Council,” Haddad said. City Council will meet again Jan. 28 to “review and identify major city goals,” according to the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
ASI President Jana Colombini wanted to increase lighting around Cal Poly as soon as she assumed office.
According to Colombini, the safety survey on students’ portals, sent out last quarter from student government, indicated that 41 percent of survey participants responded “off-campus lighting needed to be improved.”
“Even if [City Council] just wants to put in three streetlights [for now], that’s more than what has ever been done,” Colombini said.