Cincinnati City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld and Duke Energy President Amy Spiller announced a plan Thursday afternoon under which the city would partner with Duke Energy to install LED street lighting for all of Cincinnati’s 154 school zones.
Should legislation creating the partnership pass council, the initiative would involve a multi-year implementation effort, Sittenfeld said. Upgrades for each school zone will cost around $10,000, which overall will amount to nearly $1.5 million when all is said and done.
Sittenfeld says he is confident this motion will pass smoothly through council, which has focused on pedestrian safety issues after a number of high-profile crashes involving students making their way to school.
The Department of Transportation and Energy (DOTE) and Duke Energy will be working together to formulate the criteria and timeline for which school zones will be prioritized over the course of the project. Such criteria will include student population of each school, traffic volume and the amount of accidents near each school, Sittenfeld said.
“For the highest impact locations – places where we’ve seen incidents like at Dater and West High – we want to get going immediately,” he said.
Sittenfeld was inspired to support this initiative about a month ago, when he was near Dater and West High as students were being dropped off in the morning.
Among the things he noticed — how dim the streetlights there are.
Work began soon after upgrading the lighting at that location, but that triggered more interest in similar lights in other school zones.
“Not long after the fix was made … we had some constituents in Price Hill reach out and say, ‘there’s a corridor along St. William where we’d love the Dater and West High treatment too,’ " Sittenfeld said. "And it dawned on us: Who wouldn’t want the best and the brightest lights creating a safer environment when kids are getting dropped off and leaving schools?”