Are you wondering what the smattering of blue dots all over this map of Montclair means? Every blue dot on this map corresponds to a broken streetlight or unlit location in Montclair They are 88 broken streetlights and 9 unlit spots. No wonder it gets so dark on our streets, especially in the winter.
A few months ago, Baristanet launched, on PLANETCIVIC, an initiative to improve lighting in Montclair (something Baristanet readers were vocal about here). This proposal quickly became the second most voted on initiative in PLANETCIVIC, with more than 100 votes in favor and only a few votes against, all coming from registered Montclair residents.
Says Javier Guardo, founder of PLANETCIVIC, “From the voting data and comments, we knew there was a problem with street lighting in Montclair, that the darkness made many people felt unsafe, but we really struggled with the question of how to provide actionable information to the town. At PLANETCIVIC, we want to give people tools to get things done.”
Guardo spoke to the town and found out that, “Installing new streetlights in town is a multimillion dollar investment that might be difficult to tackle at this point in time. But fixing broken lights falls under the responsibility of PSE&G, which we thought would be an easier issue to tackle first.” So, Guardo crowdsourced the locations of unlit streets and broken lights from PLANETCIVIC members. He also drove around town with his son over the course of weeks, surveying the streets and noting which lights were broken. “It became like a game for my family, and actually the number of broken lights is shocking.”
The result of all this data collection is a geo-located map of broken streetlights in Montclair and list of addresses that correspond to each broken light. Ultimately, the map and list will be presented to Mayor Robert Jackson and the Town Council, as well as to PSE&G. Says Guardo, “The map is close to complete, but we would still love tips from residents about broken streetlights they don’t see on the map.”
If you want to help, click here, check the information in the map below and let PLANETCIVIC know the address of any broken light you don’t see on the map. You can do this by emailing [email protected] the location that is missing or ask for rights to edit on the map itself.
Says Guardo, “We are releasing this data now because we want to provide plenty of time for things to get fixed before the dark winter months. We understand that local leaders have lots of conflicting priorities to deal with, so we want to provide data that is helpful and actionable. In this case, it could be an easy fix to infrastructure we already have.”