Bicycle Bridge Lighting Poll Results

Information about Bicycle Bridge and the questions about safety, security, light pollution, criminal activity, and privacy.

Bicycle Bridge is located between Shawnee and Highland Avenues, spanning some 100 feet across the Glenway Lane ravine. It is a public right-of-way, owned and maintained by the City of Lafayette, and the bridge runs in a general north-south direction. There are two walkways leading to the north and south entrances, which bisect the properties of  four neighbors living adjacent to the bridge.

There are two wooden utility poles, owned and maintained by Duke Energy, located at either end of the bridge’s aprons. Both of these poles are placed within the property of our neighbors, one at the northwest flank and one at the southeast flank of the bridge. Atop the pole at the north end is a 100W Cobra head light fixture that is owned and maintained by Duke Energy; however, the northwest neighbor pays for that fixture’s usage on their utility bill.

Over the past three years, HPNA has been actively working with the City and Duke to improve the street lighting throughout the neighborhood. This project began in response to an upswing in home invasions, vandalism, and criminal activity in all sectors of Highland Park. HPNA conducted a survey of all residents to determine a pole and fixture style for the twelve-foot historic lampposts. At that time, Duke informed the City that upgrading to LED lighting would require that all of the overhead Cobra head fixtures would also have to be upgraded with their Roadway LED fixtures because Duke is required to match the wavelength of light above and below. The City called for a three-phase project for the Highland Park upgrade. Phase 1 would cover Shawnee, Wyandotte, Highland and Pontiac. Phase 2 would cover Central, Owen and Cherokee, and Phase 3 would cover Kossuth and 9th Street.

The issues at hand with lighting our bridge get complicated. First of all, the City included the bridge’s north end Cobra head in the work order for Duke, without realizing that the light’s power is paid by the adjacent neighbor there. The City has said that neighbors with Duke poles on their property who pay the light bill have the right of refusal to upgrade their fixture. HPNA contacted the City and Duke last week to cancel that fixture’s upgrade as part of the phase one work order.

At the January HPNA meeting, the issue was discussed among those in attendance. Some considered the overhead lighting at the bridge as primarily useful for illuminating the tree canopy and not very efficient for lighting the bridge. Others wondered if lower level lighting could work for simply lighting the footpath itself, without creating as much light spread as an overhead light. The consensus at the meeting was that improved lighting was needed at the bridge. HPNA then contacted the City Engineer and was informed that nothing would be allowed to be permanently attached to the bridge.

This brings us to today.

HPNA respects the wishes and opinions of all our neighbors. We understand that this is a polarizing subject – improving the lighting of Bicycle Bridge – as was pursuing the lighting upgrade for the entire neighborhood. Neighbors continue to contact HPNA about safety issues and darkness at the bridge. Other neighbors consider increased lighting intrusive and are opposed to it. We see both opinions as correct.

Therefore, because of the bridge’s status as a public right-of-way, HPNA will take the results of this poll to the Mayor’s office and await his decision on how the City will proceed. Neighbors who reside adjacent to Bicycle Bridge, who may be directly affected by any lighting change at the north or south ends, will be invited to attend any discussions between the City and HPNA.

HPNA encourages you, our neighbors, to participate in the online poll today. Please let us hear your voice. One response per household, by address, please.

Thanks for understanding and being good neighbors. We look forward to hearing from everyone!

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