Op-Ed: Put Street Lights Front and Center in Huntington Station Revitalization

Editor’s Note: Pilar Moya-Mancera submitted this letter to members of the Huntington Town Board and the local committee of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative goal is to transform downtown neighbors into vibrant centers that offer a high quality of life.

A magnet for increasing residents’ experience of New York State by creating an active downtown with a strong sense of place and safety.

Huntington Station being approved for DRI is a positive funding that will improve the quality of Huntington Station residents and businesses on New York Avenue.

Housing Help Inc. realized that the best utilization of this funding will be adding lighting posts on New York Avenue. We acknowledge that the original border is on 2nd street all the way south toward 12th street.   We  also recognize that there are several calls for project submissions outside of the current boundaries stated for Huntington Station. We would like to extend our first proposal and add streetlight posts from 2nd Street South to Jericho Turnpike for more access to streetlight posts in the community.

In an experiment conducted by the University of Chicago and New York Police Department the evidence presented that street lighting can be effective in reducing urban street crimes. The study states “The lights study found that the developments that received new lights experienced crime rates that were significantly lower than would have been the case without the new lights.”

Among other findings, the study concluded that increased levels of lighting led to a 36% reduction in “index crimes” — a subset of serious felony crimes that includes murder, robbery and aggravated assault, as well as certain property crimes — that took place outdoors at night in developments that received new lighting, with an overall 4% percent reduction in index crimes.”*

By enhancing visibility, lighting has the potential to change crime through many channels, including by empowering potential victims to better protect themselves and by making potential offenders more aware that a public space has visible light and can not hide in the shadows. Implementing light posts on New York Avenue will benefit both business owners and residents. Well-lit streets will attract customers after dark and ensure more sense of safety and comfort ability. Without proper lighting, criminals can hide in dark areas and easily cover for their crimes. Making sure that businesses are well-lit will help to discourage crimes such as theft and vandalism.

New York Avenue is a thriving center for Huntington Station residents with local businesses, stores, restaurants, the Huntington Station Public Library, and close to Huntington High School, the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet Intermediate School, Woodhull Intermediate School, and Walt Whitman High School. It serves as a major route for commuters and local residents, connecting them to various neighborhoods and destinations within the town. It is crucial that commercial areas like New York Avenue can evolve and change over time.

Ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable populations, children and seniors, is of the utmost importance when designing and implementing infrastructure like light posts in public spaces. Adequate lighting on streets and sidewalks enhance visibility during the evening and night time. Students from nearby schools would feel more comfortable walking after dark and joining after school activities in the Winter.

I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity of being a part of the DRI LPC Board. The board is full of individuals actively pursuing change to improve the safety of residents in Huntington Station. I would like to state my appreciation for the Town of Huntington widening sidewalks, enhancing pedestrian safety and comfort by providing more space for walkers, cyclists, and people with disabilities to move freely without feeling congested or encroaching on the road.

I sincerely hope that the board enthusiastically supports the initiative to install more light posts throughout New York Avenue South towards Jericho Turnpike, as it holds the potential to significantly enhance safety and security. By illuminating our streets and public spaces, we can create a safer environment for everyone, especially for children, pedestrians, and cyclists during the evening and nighttime. Well-lit areas not only deter criminal activities but also promote a sense of comfort and reassurance for residents and visitors alike. If anyone in the board has any questions or requires further information about this project, I encourage them to reach out and contact Housing Help Inc. Together, we can work towards creating a well-lit, secure, and inviting town that benefits us all.

Thank you for your attention and for your consideration.

Pilar Moya-Mancera

Executive Director  

Housing Help Inc.

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