After two attempts over a period of nine years, the diligence of a group of neighborhood residents paid off and Ridgewood Place and portions of Wilton Drive and First St in the Ridgewood-Wilton neighborhood finally have streetlights.
“We are so thrilled,” resident Nona Friedman, who led the charge for the lights, told the Buzz. “We used to turn onto Ridgewood and it was so dark, really dark. Now the street is lit – you can see all the way down the block! We don’t have to take flashlights out just to walk over to a neighbor’s house at night.”
In fact when the last of the 33 lights were installed this past weekend, there was an impromptu party on a front porch where residents toasted the new ornamental lights with a couple bottles of champagne.
The streetlights, which replicate the classic style of streetlamps throughout much of Windsor Square and Hancock Park, were installed by the Department of Transportation on Fridays and weekends over the last few weeks. They are fitted with new energy-efficient LED bulbs so they shed a cooler, brighter light than those south of the area.
The cost of the streetlights is born by property owners based on property frontage, and all owners were asked to vote on installing the ornamental lighting in early 2013. A total of 40 ballots out of 56 were returned with 24 affected property owners (representing 58% of the weighted financial obligation) voting in favor of the Lighting District.
The City of Los Angeles does not and has never paid for street lights. Existing street lights were either installed by the original contractors to the area or have been paid for by residents, who have to foot the entire bill for installation and maintenance in perpetuity. The residents in Ridgewood-Wilton will now pony up their portion in an assessment from the City, with an average payment of $7,000 per household.
“It couldn’t have happened without the support of Councilman Tom LaBonge and his office, especially Sheila Irani. Our Senior Lead Officer Joe Pelayo was also very supportive,” Friedman said. She also said that Officer Pelayo joked with the community that the LAPD wouldn’t be making as many trips to the area as before, when the streets were so dark. Residents hope the lights will help deter crime in the area, in addition to making the area more friendly at night for residents.