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City addresses San Luis residents' concerns about street lighting
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — One by one, the city is answering calls for street lighting by residents who say poor nighttime visibility puts pedestrians and others in their neighborhoods at risk.
At a city council session this week, Mayor Gerardo Sanchez said the city is almost ready to begin a light installation project along 8th Avenue, one of the areas where residents claim pedestrians are at risk of being hit by passing motorists at night.
“It is a priority,” Sanchez said. “We don't know the exact date, but we think that within about two months it could be done.”
His comments came as the council received a staff report that placed the cost of installing lighting along 8th from Juan Sanchez Boulevard to San Luis Lane at about $60,000.
It is the second of two lighting projects undertaken by the city in response to demands by residents over the last two years, and Sanchez said city officials will visit each neighborhood in the city to identify hazards relating to a lack of not only lighting but sidewalks.
It's about time, says Cain Santamaria, a San Luis resident who mobilized his neighbors two years ago in a campaign for lights along Urtuzuastegui Street.
“It's good that they are now doing what they should have done before: recognizing that in various parts of the city there are risks for pedestrians because there's insufficient lighting, and not waiting for us to come demanding it.”
San Luis officials say they've long recognized the need for street lights in neighborhoods throughout the city. The problem, they said, has been coming up with the funds to pay for it.
Santamaria and his neighbors have appealed to city officials for at least several years to install street lights along both 8th Avenue and Urtuzuastegui Street.
In 2011, he became so frustrated with the city's inaction on their pleas that he secured an independent estimate that fixed the cost of lighting for both streets at about $57,000. That amount was a fraction of the more than $340,000 that he said city officials had previously quoted to him as the cost.
Santamaria presented his estimate to the council, and while San Luis officials did not confirm the accuracy of his figures, the city was able to install lights along Urtuzuastegui between 5th and 8th avenues in 2012, at a cost of a little more than $50,000.
Citing budget concerns, the city postponed the lighting project along 8th until this year.
Santamaria said he is pleased that the mayor has asked city officials to conduct a neighborhood-by-neighborhood tour to identify hazards.
“We have to begin to improve those areas to ensure people's safety,” Sanchez said.
One concern already identified by the council is a lack of sufficient sidewalks along 8th for youths who walk between their homes and school.