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He added that 15 requests in Near North resulted in a major replacement with considerable repair times that skewed the average, saying that otherwise repair times were consistent with the rest of the city. With Kester’s complaints, a car crash into the poles required major fixes, and high workloads caused further delay, according to Wertjes. Frequent light spacing along West Broadway also led the team to prioritize other work.
The city’s pilot study of citizens’ lighting perceptions, and how the city can improve the lights, will dig deeper into what’s happening in Near North, where residents rate their satisfaction with street lighting at 59 percent. That’s lower than any of Minneapolis’ 12 communities. More than 80 percent of citizens are happy with their street lighting in all but the Camden, Phillips and Near North communities.
As for installing more lights? That has drawn backlash even among more affluent residents, given the city’s policy that property owners be assessed for the cost of new lights in street construction projects. Southwest residents last year rejected a $600,000 proposal to build new lights on Penn Avenue. An initiative that started last year will have the city foot the cost of lights in areas heavily traveled by pedestrians.
Minneapolis is crafting a plan for its next budget to join Seattle and other big cities worldwide in switching to more energy-efficient LED streetlights, which are already being tested on 46th Street in south Minneapolis. A larger conversion would cost millions but also last up to a decade longer than the city’s traditional high-sodium lights — and ease the strain on repair crews.
Maya Rao • 612-673-4210