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BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for February 25, 2009

  • Bad budget news at the Inter-Neighborhood Council: Tom Bonfield signaled that "non-vital" programs and services would be cut and new rec centers postponed to reduce operational costs; street paving and neighborhood revitalization funds won't be added this year to boot. Both Bonfield and county manager Mike Ruffin made it clear that layoffs of furloughs were also possible. The county faces $16-20m in budget gaps; the city, $24-40m. (H-S, N&O)
  • The Watts-Hillandale neighborhood is facing off with the City over streetlights, claiming they weren't included in the municipality's drafting of new guidelines to cover streetlight installation. Transportation and public safety officials say they're following a ten-year-old city practice of installing and improving these lights; W-H activists, including the always-quotable Ned Kennington, are complaining that studies don't demonstrate these lights reduce crime, and want to get in writing the city's assurances that they won't install streetlights in areas where most neighbors don't want them. (H-S)
  • NC Central has re-opened its now-renovated Pearson Cafeteria after major $13 million renovations intended to make the facility more of a center for campus dining and life; it can seat 1,200 students and will add features like a cafe and convenience store intended, among other things, to provide on-campus retail options for students. (H-S)
  • Duke's Nasher Museum of Art got a half-million dollar grant from the Mellon Foundation to "enhance collaboration with faculty and students on teaching, exhibitions and research." (H-S)


Seth Vidal

It's not just Ned saying it. The lights don't reduce crime, They pollute both due to the power they draw and the light the reflect back up to the atmosphere.

Finally, and most importantly, we're not asking for the city to never put lights up. The proposal is pretty simple: If folks would like to have the light removed then the city asks the neighbors near the light to vote (in secret) whether or not to keep the light.

If a majority do not want the light then it goes away.

It's really not unreasonable for there to be a way to remove a light that people do not want. Especially when the light doesn't serve any other purpose.


This streetlight business seems really strange to me. One of the things that irritates me most in Durham is the absence of streetlights. I would have thought that most Watts-Hillandale residents would agree that we want a pedestrian-friendly city. And you can't have that without streetlights.

It isn't just about crime; it's about walkability. I used to live in Trinity Park on Dacian Street between Gregson and Duke. My block was well lit, but on Dacian between Gregson and Watts, it was difficult to walk at night because you couldn't see where you were going, and the sidewalks were so poor you had to peer through the darkness to avoid tripping. When I moved to a different house in Trinity Park, I was quite pleased to have streetlights so that I could see what I was doing when I was, say, walking to my car or taking out the trash or walking down to Main Street at night.

Streetlighting (like most things) can be done well or poorly. Well-planned lighting increases the sense of security, which draws more people outside, which decreases crime. Poorly done lighting can make things worse, since it increases glare and makes vision adjustment between overly lighted and unlighted areas difficult. I certainly hope Durham will plan its streetlighting well. But even more I hope that soon I'll be able to see where I'm going.

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