Surveying Outdoor Lighting on and around Christopher Street

Thomas K. Duane

March 16, 2012

At the end of last year and early this year, I, along with other local elected officials held a series of meetings with a wide range of neighborhood stakeholders to discuss ways we can make the Christopher Street area safer for everyone who lives, works and visits here.  One of the many strategies we identified was to ensure that our streets are as well-lit as possible.

My staff consulted with the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), which is responsible for ensuring street lamps are properly placed and functioning; the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks), which is responsible for pruning tree limbs that are blocking street lamps; and the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), which enforces regulations about exterior residential lighting.  The agencies said that if we identified specific lighting problems, they would take action to correct them. 

Toward that end, last week, I, along with New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, New York State Assembly Member Deborah Glick, CB2 and the West Village Coalition sponsored an illumination survey to identify any New York City street lamps that are missing, not working or are obstructed by trees, and to identify multifamily residences that do not have legally-required exterior lighting (based on a law which I strengthened, working with concerned neighborhood stakeholders, when I was in the New York City Council).  I and my staff were joined by representatives of the other sponsors, the New York Police Department’s 6th Precinct, the Bedford-Barrow-Commerce Block Association, the Christopher Street Patrol, and many individual volunteers as we covered the area between West 10th Street and Morton Street from Sixth Avenue to West Street. Special thank to St. John’s Church and Reverend Mark E. Erson for hosting us and to Boots and Saddle management for all their assistance.

We identified 18 instances where street lights were either out, missing or obstructed, and more than 100 residences that were not meeting exterior lighting requirements.  We have relayed our findings to DOT and Parks, and will be writing to building owners reminding them of their exterior lighting obligations and asking them to comply before taking further steps.

Separately, members of my staff surveyed the lighting on the West Side Highway and in the Hudson River Park from Morton Street to Charles Street, which are under the jurisdiction of the New York State Department of Transportation and Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) respectively.  We identified and reported two non-functioning street lamps on the highway, and six lights in the park, including three on Pier 45.  We have notified the agencies and have already received confirmation from HRPT that it is addressing the issue.

I look forward to continuing to work with neighborhood stakeholders as we address any and all concerns in the area.