Watchdog: Light issues near city street signs leave drivers in dark

'Highway to Nowhere' detour area in West Baltimore affected

February 26, 2011|By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

The problem: Street lights and directional signs remain dark in West Baltimore.

The back story: Harry E. Bennett Jr. regularly travels from his home in Sandtown-Winchester to Westview Park to go bowling.

For months, he's been troubled by the dark street signs in his neighborhood. At two intersections, lights have been dim on two green overhead signs — like the kind you see on highways — that direct drivers around the "Highway to Nowhere."

The signs are located on North Fulton Street, guiding drivers onto westbound Franklin Street, and on westbound Mulberry Street, to North Monroe Street.

"I noticed it for so long, I figured somebody should have noticed it by now," he said. "I don't know how many out-of-town drivers come through that part of town needing direction." Most probably stick to the Baltimore Beltway and Interstate 95, he added.

In addition to the directional signs, several street lights on the bridges are dark.

Bennett wasn't sure who could take care of the problem.

"I had been trying to figure out who to write to," he said, including the State Highway Administration and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

He said he also called 311, but no longer had the confirmation numbers from those reports.

Bennett also wondered whether the outages were related to demolition of what is known as the "Highway to Nowhere," which began in September.

Watchdog contacted Baltimore's Department of Transportation, which maintains about 12,000 of the city's 70,000 street lights — aside from those in alleys and parks.

Staff there determined that the lights all run on a circuit maintained by BGE, department spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes said.

The outages have been entered in the 311 system, which BGE can access, according to Barnes. "BGE will just capture them and they will repair them," she said.

Who can fix this: Richard Hooper, chief of the Baltimore Department of Transportation's maintenance division, 410-396-1686. City residents should call 311 to report problems.

Need help?

Is there something in your neighborhood that is not getting fixed? Tell us where the problem is and how long it's been there by e-mailing watchdog@baltsun.com or calling 410-332-6735.

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