By Catherine Brown —
As the sky gets darker at an earlier time each day, it’s imperative that students can commute around campus safely. U of L needs to fix the lighting situation around Belknap Campus that fosters an unsafe environment at night.
If you’ve ever walked past the parking lot at the corner of 3rd St. and Brandeis Ave. at night (between the Ville Grill and Cardinal Towne apartment building), you might be familiar with one significant problem that poses a threat to your safety.
A street light.
The problem with this particular streetlight is that it stays on until someone walks beneath it, during which it immediately turns off. For students walking around late at night to get to class or get home, the lack of lighting on campus can become a threat to safety as serious crimes are more likely to happen at night.
After the unfortunate events that took place at The Retreat in early October, and with no report from ULPD of the perpetrator’s capture, students are left on edge as they travel late at night.
Destiny Smith, a junior nursing major, said that when she lived on campus during her freshman year, she was not fond of walking around campus at night. For that reason, Smith avoided taking evening classes that would require her to be on campus after sunset.
On the main area of the Belknap Campus, another streetlight problem exists. There are areas of campus where the lights are either too few in numbers or there are no lights at all.
For instance, the sidewalk between the Speed Art Museum and 2nd St. has no streetlights whatsoever. The entire sidewalk is dark, with the only illumination coming from the street lights on the other side of the road. If something heinous were to happen in that area, it would become harder for passersby to notice or for the perpetrator to be identified.
Fortunately, the University of Louisville Physical Plant has plans to fix the problematic street lights, according to Sajid Mian, Assistant Vice President of U of L Physical Plant Operations.
Unfortunately, however, Mian said that installing new lights around campus is difficult because there are conflicts over ownership of areas around campus. For instance, the sidewalk near Speed and 2nd St. is a grey area because it’s hard to determine whether that sidewalk belongs to U of L or not. And there are certain areas of the city in which the city government is responsible for lighting.
But U of L needs to work with those responsible to fix this lighting issue. Students shouldn’t have to worry about walking around in the dark or taking another route to get home safely.
If the administration worked with the physical plant and with the city to install more street lights around campus, then maybe students can walk around at night with just a little more peace of mind.
Photo by Kyeland Jackson // The Louisville Cardinal