SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The Tenderloin, a neighborhood with a reputation of dark deeds and deals happening on dark corners, suddenly has a fresh infusion of light and safety in the form of new streetlights.
In the past, when the sun went down in San Francisco, that was the end of the light in the Tenderloin. Street lamps were few and far between, leaving sidewalks dark with danger looming.
But, with an infusion of cash from Sutter Health and California Pacific Medical Center, 97 new streetlights are paving the way for a safer, brighter Tenderloin.
“I feel a lot safer walking around at nighttime now. It’s kinda scary on the darker streets,” says Tenderloin resident Felecia Smith.
“I know people are thinking, ‘What’s the big deal about lighting?’ It’s a big deal. Every community in this city, they want pedestrian lighting. They want tear drop lighting fixtures that look this beautiful,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed at the unveiling.
The project has been in the works since 2011, when former Mayor Ed Lee arranged for the hospital to give $4 million.
The new lights line Eddy, Larkin, Leavenworth and Jones Streets. They mimic the classic, old-school San Francisco street lamp style.
“I think they’re beautiful. I think they bring a wonder and charm to the community,” says Tenderloin resident Randy Gauthier.
The project hasn’t been without problems; the wrong fixtures were delivered twice.
No matter the delay, Tenderloin residents say the disinfectant quality of the lights will bring to neighborhood problems will help.
“It’s easy to rob somebody or assault somebody when it’s dark. When there’s bright lights, it’s hard because there’s always somebody on the street watching,” says Smith.