South Bend hopes to cut neighborhood dark spots with solar lampposts

2022-12-05 21:29:39 By : Ms. Jessie Ning

SOUTH BEND ― Homeowners have until Aug. 15 to take advantage of a lamppost program, which aims to bring more light into the city’s neighborhoods. 

The program is part of the Light Up South Bend initiative that was launched in 2015. It provides subsidized solar-powered lampposts for homeowners ― in addition to more and better street lights ― as part of an effort to eliminate dark spots in the city.  Solar Panel Flood Light

South Bend hopes to cut neighborhood dark spots with solar lampposts

“We know that lighting in our neighborhoods makes residents feel safer, and some studies have shown it does create safer neighborhoods,” Mayor James Mueller said via email. “The Lamppost Lighting Program is another example of the city’s efforts to create affordable and sustainable lighting enhancements for more vibrant neighborhoods.”   

Safety is what motivated Mary Adamo to take advantage of the lamppost program.  

Her neighborhood can be a bit dark in spots, as it has mature trees that can block the street lights and it borders Coquillard Park on the northeast side of the city. 

After learning about the particulars of the program, she was quick to fill out an application, and her new lamppost was installed last week. 

“People are more willing to do things in the dark than in places that are better lit,” said Adamo. “Light serves as a deterrent in the same way a parked police car along the freeway will get people to slow down.” 

Adamo had to pay only $50 for the lamppost that was installed in front of her home because it’s in a neighborhood that’s been targeted because of the number of vacant lots, the need for additional lighting and the overall income of the residents. 

Having more light along the sidewalk gives her a sense of security. 

More:South Bend turning thousands of street lights to LED to cut energy costs and boost safety

“I’m going to try to get some of my neighbors to sign up,” Adamo said. “But I highly encourage everyone to look into the program.” 

Even outside the targeted areas, homeowners in the city can order a lamppost at half off the $500 price tag as long as they’re placed within 5 feet of a sidewalk. 

Though installation assistance is available for those with a disability, the overwhelming majority of residents should be able to install the lampposts on their own since they’re solar powered, meaning there is no wiring. 

In addition, there’s no digging required since a long auger is used to anchor the lamppost into the ground and a leveling device is included to ensure it stands straight. 

Finn Cavanaugh, a project engineer with the city’s Department of Public Works, pointed out that the lampposts can be set to provide a glow that’s like daylight or more warm and yellowish.  

In addition, there are high- and low-power settings, the latter of which allows the lamppost to provide some light even during the darkest days of winter, he added. In the few years since its inception, the city program has resulted in about 600 additional lampposts in its neighborhoods.

While applications for the lamppost program are now being accepted, the city and American Electric Power also is changing over its street lights from sodium vapor to lower-energy, lower-maintenance LEDs. 

Besides those advantages, the new street lights also are more directional, meaning they’re capable of aiming light where it’s needed without creating unnecessary light pollution, which can affect sleep if it comes through bedroom windows. 

About 9,000 of the city’s street lights are owned by American Electric Power, and 3,000 are owned by the city. City officials hope to have that project completed later this year. 

South Bend hopes to cut neighborhood dark spots with solar lampposts

Highway Solar Street Light Residents interested in learning more about the lamppost program should visit or call the Engineering Department at 574-235-9251.