Residents from close, parallel streets in south Baldwin Borough didn't plan to show up at Tuesday night's regular Baldwin Council meeting with the same complaint, they said. It just worked out that way.
The complaint: It's too dark in Baldwin.
Speaking to the council first during public-comments time was Sandra Beyer of Blossom Drive. This marked Beyer's third time in front of the council since June regarding the topic of streetlights reduction in Baldwin, including the elimination of 11 lights on Blossom.
On Tuesday, Beyer pointed out that multiple homes in her 600 block of Blossom, where at least two of three scheduled light-eliminations have been completed, have been victimized recently by burglaries. Baldwin police Chief Michael Scott said that those burglaries occurred during the day, but Beyer said, "The complete darkness would have made it very easy to check out homes at night and then return when no one was at home."
Speaking next was Dave Brogan of Meadowcrest Road. Brogan brought a map with him showing the five locations on Meadowcrest where streetlights once stood.
"If it's not all complete (the elimination of lights), please reconsider stopping," Brogan said. "I know you're not going to put my streetlight back. I know that you're not going to put the five or so streetlights that you took off of my street back(, but don't take down any more).
"From my standpoint, the street is dark. I would question the education ... of the person who said that every other streetlight could be eliminated on my street."
Brogan's map actually shows a different staggering of eliminated lights.
Crews from Duquesne Light have been removing streetlights in Baldwin, a move that borough Manager John Barrett said is expected to save borough taxpayers an estimated $66,000 annually in energy costs.
A joint recommendation by Baldwin Mayor Alexander R. Bennett Jr. and police Sgt. Kim Reising was to take away 376 borough lights, but after hearing concerns from residents during two special public meetings (1, 2) on the subject—as well as from emails and phone calls—Bennett and Reising pared their elimination list down by 10 lights. And the council eventually approved that list.
Nevertheless, the borough is losing over 27 percent of its streetlights.
Significant energy savings will not be realized until after Duquesne Light is paid approximately $58,000 to remove the lights, Barrett said.
"I suggest you should look at other alternatives—LEDs, something—for a savings measure," Brogan said. "I feel that you have chosen very poorly, and shame on all of you."
What are your opinions? Some borough residents do not mind the darkness and appreciate the savings and increased ease of sleep. Others agree that safety is too big of an issue to overlook. Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
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And check back with the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch on Wednesday for more odds and ends from Tuesday night's council meetings.
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