San Luis residents renew calls for public lighting
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — Street lighting — or lack thereof — on this city's south side is an issue that comes back again and again to confront the city council.
Frustrated by the city's response to what they saw as a pressing safety concern for pedestrians, residents in early 2011 gathered and submitted to the council hundreds of petition signatures of southside residents demanding lighting Urtuzuastegui Street and 8th Avenue.
Their concerns were resolved in part last March when the city put in and turned on lights along a four-block stretch of Urtuzuastegui.
Now residents are calling on the council to follow through on promises to put in street lights along 8th Street.
Residents say the lack of lights has put at risk pedestrians who have trouble seeing in the dark or being seen by passing motorists.
Luz Rea, a senior citizen appearing before the council at its recent meeting, said she has fallen twice in the past year while trying to negotiate unlit sidewalks in the area after dark.
“The first time with the help of my husband, I could take care of myself,” she said. “But the last time I was alone. It doesn't seem right that it's taking so much time to put in the lights.”
Resident Francisco Magallon said the cost of a lighting project would be far outweighed by any lawsuit the city could face if prompted by an injury or fatality.
Resident Cain Santamaria, who organized the 2011 petition drive, chastised the city for going ahead with the purchase of laptop computers for department heads at a time when the 8th Avenue lighting project seems to have stalled.
“It didn't take too long to approve the purchase of those computers,” he said. “I don't know how that is going to benefit residents, but we have been asking for public lighting for 18 months. (The funding for the project) is in the budget. I don't see what the problem is in starting the work.”
Mayor Gerardo Sanchez said the 8th Avenue project is in design stage and that the work will begin once engineering issues related to the project are settled. He said the project will start before the end of the fiscal year next June, and he appealed for residents' patience.
“It's in the budget, and it will be done this year,” he said.