Improved lighting on West Franklin Street is long overdue. The Chapel Hill Town Council should act now on new lighting initiatives.
Adequate lighting is important to the safety of town residents and students.
Students should feel safe on- and off-campus. With more than half of undergraduate students living off-campus the University should ensure students are comfortable walking through downtown at night.
According to Chapel Hill police reports 13 break-ins and 24 incidents of vandalism occurred on West Franklin Street in 2008 alone.
Something needs to be done to curb these numbers.
Even though the town budget is constrained there are cost-effective measures to accomplish the goal of better lighting around the town.
For example a consultant to the Public Works Department suggested pruning tree canopies to distribute light better and installing higher wattage bulbs.
Students can make a difference in safety issues as well.
Student concerns last semester over McCorkle Place lighting led to the installation of higher wattage bulbs.
And in 2008 student government allotted $80000 to install lighting in off-campus locations including McCauley Street and Rosemary Street .
This year Sue Koenigshofer owner of SCK Design is circulating a petition requesting the town for improved lighting. She said that a Web site would soon be available for students to add their names.
But the question remains: Will the town council follow through on the proposed plans?
To improve safety and curb crime in Chapel Hill it should.