Sturgeon Bay Assessing Need for More Streetlights

After the number of streetlights in Sturgeon Bay was reduced several years ago as a cost-saving measure, the city’s Community Protection and Services Committee is considering whether to add lights where dark areas could pose a safety hazard.

“We have recently received some concerns from citizens, as well as from some public-safety folks, that have said they almost hit people in some of the dark spots,” said committee chair and District 3 alderman Dan Williams. 

He asked law enforcement, as well as the fire department and street department to see whether there were “any hazard areas that would benefit from a streetlight.”

Williams asked that an assessment of streetlights in the city be done during February to discuss at the committee’s next meeting, when a justification could be made about adding lights in areas of the city. 

Police Chief Clint Henry told the committee he is aware of one incident a year or two ago when a pedestrian was hit at night on a dark street in a residential area on South Lansing Avenue. Wherever streets have sidewalks, he said pedestrians should use those instead of walking on roads.

Williams said dark areas where he was advised to look included Michigan Street, where sidewalks were under repair and pedestrians were walking on the street, as well as where 3rd Avenue turns into Memorial Drive.

Fire Chief Tim Dietman said the only places the fire department has identified as dark areas are where there is a long stretch of roadway with very little lighting.

“I think we have a few of those on both sides of town where we have extended blocks and there’s just not as much lighting,” he said.

Williams said people who delay shoveling the sidewalks in front of their houses can contribute to pedestrians walking on the streets in dark areas.

Committee member and District 7 alderwoman Kirsten Reeths said a lack of street lighting was an issue when she ran for office, particularly in the block on 8th Avenue heading north off of Michigan Street.

Sturgeon Bay Utilities’ general manager, Jim Stawicki, said the number of streetlights in the city was reduced in 2009 and 2013. Except for some ornamental lights, all the streetlights are now the LED variety.

“I know the city’s total cost is about $145,000 a year, between our decorative lights, as well as our streetlights,” he said. “That lights up the entire city.”

Stawicki said Sturgeon Bay Utilities will install a streetlight at the direction of the city, which pays for it. He said utility customers are also offered the opportunity to pay for their own streetlight at $110-$120 a year, provided there is a nearby energy source to power it.