ROSWELL, Ga. — Students walking along Scott Road to Centennial High School in near darkness could have some light shed on their situation if a new proposition before the city holds up.
The City Council discussed the possibility of creating a streetlight safety project for Scott Road at the Jan. 29 Community Development and Transportation Committee. Ultimately, the proposition was moved to a future committee meeting to discuss after city staff finalizes options, including funding, for the project.
The driving initiative behind the project is pedestrian safety, especially for students crossing the road.
“If any of you have been there at night or early in the morning, you know that it’s pitch black,” said Scott Brunner, city traffic engineer. “It’s completely dark. There’s no streetlights along the frontage of Centennial High.”
Brunner noted that there are five streetlights farther away along the western edge of Scott Road and one at the intersection of Eves Road, but not near Centennial High School where students frequently cross.
The initiative was brought to the city’s attention by a letter Police Chief James Conroy sent regarding public safety concerns along Centennial High School and Esther Jackson Elementary School.
Both schools are located on dimly lit, curved roads, Conroy stated in the letter. And, Councilwoman Marie Willsey also noted that the wide lanes and relatively low traffic on Scott Road in particular tends to encourage drivers to speed.
It can be a dangerous mix of conditions for pedestrians.
“Students are parking across the street and walking across five lanes of roadway in order to get to their school,” Conroy said. “Additional lighting would significantly improve safety for these students.”
If the project goes through, it would cost the city approximately $375,000 to install 28 streetlights along Scott Road and a portion of Eves Road. City staff has developed a two-phase concept for the project, in which the 14 most critical streetlights would be installed during the first phase.
No poles or underground infrastructure that the city could use for streetlighting currently exists at the location, Brunner said. The city would be starting from scratch.
Funding is currently not available for the project, but according to city staff, the city is expected to gain approximately $130,000 in savings at the end of this fiscal year from an earlier initiative to convert streetlights to LEDs. That money, Brunner said, could go toward the Scott Road Streetlight Safety Project.
Staff recommended using the savings to install at least five or six streetlights at the most critical crossing points as soon as possible to address the urgent safety need.
Councilman Marcelo Zapata asked city staff to look into the possibility of partnering with Fulton County Schools to share costs.
The City Council was supportive of the idea and instructed staff to look into the most financially feasible and timely options.