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August 16, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Kanye not the only one worried about ‘flashing lights’

Wellington City Council sheds light on the issue

The idea of a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ has become a reality for students residing at the Botanical Garden end of Salamanca Road as a result of streetlight problems.

Residents say that the lights along the top end of Salamanca Road have been turning off and on through the night for quite a while.

“It’s been happening since we moved in at the start of the year, but has increased recently,” says Cherri Hartigan, a student resident of Salamanca Road.

“Almost every time I have left the house at night for the last couple of weeks it has been pitch black, which is quite dangerous.”

The safety issue around the seemingly broken streetlights is also a concern to the Wellington City Council.

The council is in control of the Wellington streetlight network, which includes approximately 16,000 streetlights.

Each year the council completes a number of street lighting improvements prioritised based on aspects such as night-time crashes, night-time pedestrian demand, vehicle volumes and the number of ‘high risk’ individuals such as children or cyclists in the area.

Council Communications Officer Richard MacLean says that a lack of lighting is particularly concerning around the university.

“The area around the university is a high priority for obvious reasons—it’s very busy and there are lots of students around.”

MacLean says that the street lighting staff were not aware of the problem on Salamanca Road but would immediately check out the situation and rectify it if necessary.

“Sometimes faults do occur, and lights go out when they reach the end of their working life,” MacLean explained. “Although the main arterial routes through the city are patrolled and inspected monthly, we also rely on the public calling us to let us know.”

VUWSA’s Campus Angels were introduced eight years ago in response to the dangers around Victoria University at night, following a “spate” of incidents and police warnings, says Welfare Vice-President Seamus Brady.

“We continue to provide the service to give those studying late on campus the option of being accompanied to an area safely.”

Brady says that although the Campus Angels report back to VUWSA, there have not been that many complaints about street lighting.

“We haven’t had any complaints about the lighting on Salamanca. However, the lights on Mount Street did turn off when I was leaving the office other night.”

Other problem areas include the Te Aro campus, which the Campus Angels now patrol, and the lack of lighting around the Boyd Wilson Field.

“VUWSA will be conducting a Campus Safety Audit later this month to make sure these issues are identified and we have the support of the university in getting them addressed.”

Brady says that many students do not take advantage of the Angels service.

“Overall usage of the Campus Angels service has not been as good as I would hope. But I think the peace of mind and point of contact they provide students is just as important.”

The council’s street lighting team says it is also important for people to let them know about any problems they notice with streetlights.

“If anyone spots a streetlight that’s off at night—or is ‘flashing’ and looking like it’s on the ‘blink’, then they should call the council on 499 4444 or message our info@wcc.govt.nz email address.”

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