North Tulsa Getting More Street Lights Under City 'Lights On' Project

Wednesday, September 28th 2011, 3:51 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The city of Tulsa's new Lights On project will see the city installing 53 new street lights, most of which will be in North Tulsa.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett and representatives from the Public Service Company of Oklahoma were on hand for the announcement at the corner of Mohawk and North Lewis Wednesday afternoon.

Bartlett says the project was the result of a citizen's survey calling for more streetlights citywide to increase neighborhood safety throughout Tulsa.

Bartlett said a Lights On! committee composed of representatives from the Mayor's Office, PSO, Tulsa Police Department and City of Tulsa Traffic Engineering to create a work plan for more street lighting in neighborhoods.

There are not many places in Tulsa without at least a few street lights, but there are no places with new lights - because the city stopped installing them more than 3 years ago.

"Early 2000's, we were installing 2 to 300 residential street lights a year," said Mark Brown with the City of Tulsa.

That ended with budget cuts in 2008, but now the city plans to add 53 lights immediately, with more to come.

"When our citizens don't feel safe in their own neighborhoods, walking around day or night, we need to do something to react to that in a positive way," Bartlett said.

Bartlett said a survey indicated people thought it would make people feel better about their neighborhoods.

Most of the new lights will go in this North Tulsa neighborhood, along a stretch of Mohawk Boulevard. While the science behind it says lights mainly impact the feeling of safety, here the Tulsa police believe it will make a difference in actual crime.

"You're right, it is a feeling, because it's in our genetics to be afraid of the dark and light makes us not as scared," said Tulsa Police Captain Jonathon Brooks.

It was the police department that suggested more lights around a high crime area near 3600 North Lewis.

"We're going to measure the effects and see what the change is. It can only be positive, anytime we light up an area where criminals congregate," Brooks said.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma is paying for the new lights, but the electric bill is on the city.

It will cost $2700 a year just for the 53 new light fixtures but the Mayor's office believes it's worth the investment if it makes an actual difference in crime, or just makes people feel like there's less chance of crime happening.

The new lights will be installed by November.