Being in Iowa City at night... scary is a good way to put it.
The lack of streetlights in Iowa City's downtown and campus area is scary as well. Feeling unsafe when you're out with your friends, just getting out of your late night class, or even walking to Jimmy John's from the dorms shouldn't make us feel like we have to look over our shoulders with every step we take. Myself being tired of this, I decided to write a proposal on the matter.
It's probably not going anywhere, and some of the costs may be incorrect, but here it is:
When you're walking home, would you rather feel safe and protected, or walk in fear of the danger lurking around every dark corner?
In downtown Iowa City, the lack of streetlights can be daunting for most students. With the possibilities of sexual assault, theft, or even worse, I feel that adding more streetlights in Iowa City can help not only reduce the fear in students but also cut down on crime. I'm also proposing we switch to LED bulbs as they'll be brighter while also cutting down on cost.
The steps I'm proposing would be to, first, give students a proper plan on how they can protect themselves while walking through town at night.
Giving them tips on simple self-defense, what to do if you're being followed, or how to contact someone in need of an emergency could all help protect students while the streetlights are being implemented. They won't go up overnight, so it's important that the students know how to protect themselves before the project is finished.
Second, I propose that this be a summer project.
Since construction would block traffic and clog the pedestrian mall, it would be best if there were less people in town, and since many students leave for summer break, I figure this would be a perfect time. Finally, letting the students know that these streetlights are for them would make them feel safer knowing that the city were looking out with their best interest in mind.
The benefits to adding more streetlights would be purely for safety reasons. All too many times, students are having to walk from classes back to their dorms or apartments, and if it's too late in the night that buses aren't operating, it can be a very frightening experience. Cutting down on crime would also be a great benefit due to the fact that criminals would be easier to spot.
Adam Weinstein, a man living in Iowa City, was responsible for a string of sexual assaults in the University of Iowa area in 2015, and he was recently convicted. Although his crime wasn't preventable, it could have been caught sooner if the city was brighter and victims were able to see his face clearly. Cutting down on crimes like these are the most important part of my proposal.
The potential obstacles the proposal faces is cost and increased construction.
The cost of putting up one streetlight would be around $4,000. Therefore, the cost can add up quickly. That's why I am also proposing the switch to LED bulbs. Not only would it help cut cost and increase efficiency, the white light from an LED bulb can bring out brighter colors in clothing, which could help with crime. Also, brighter bulbs will mean a brighter city. Construction, on the other hand, would be an issue due to most lights being placed on intersections, therefore more construction and backed up traffic.
Being a college town, Iowa City should know the importance of campus safety, yet, with the lack of light in the city, it only makes people feel unsafe and frightened. Crime could be lurking around every corner, but we would never be able to see it. That's why my proposal could help students by making the city a better, and safer, place.