Detroit Struggles to Turn the Lights Back On

After forty years of disinvestment in public lighting, Detroit's tens of thousands of broken street and alley lights contribute to incidents of crime and traffic accidents. Can a new lighting authority grow the city's glow?
November 18, 2013, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The thousands of inoperable streetlights in the city and miles of darkened neighborhoods and thoroughfares are some of the most visible emblems of Detroit’s mismanagement and decades-long decline," observes JC Reindl. "As many as 40% of the city’s 88,000 street and alley lights are estimated to be out. That astounding figure, adopted by Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr and routinely cited by national and international news media, has led to some comparisons of city services to that of a Third World country."

Reindl takes a deep look at the city's lighting crisis and its impact on city residents. Missed opportunities and redirected funds have allowed the antiquated system to languish. The latest solution, a plan "to borrow at least $150 million and upgrade the system ZIP code by ZIP code," faces uncertainty in light of the city's bankruptcy.


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Published on Sunday, November 17, 2013 in Detroit Free Press
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