A proposal to provide additional lighting to the Georgetown area to deter nighttime robberies and assaults sparked a heated debate between residents and representatives of the university at an Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Tuesday night.

Dave Morrell, vice president for university safety, and Meredith ellody (COL ’05) of the Student Safety Advisory Board made a presentation asking for support from the ANC for the construction of more lampposts on frequently traveled walkways.

The lamps were requested for 3409 O St. NW, 3609 O St. NW, 3515 N St. NW, and 3608 N St. NW, which are primarily on university property. Those locations were chosen after a recent Student Safety Advisory Board lighting survey showed that those areas were of particular concern to students traveling late at night.

While many commissioners said they appreciated and commended the survey, they declined to pass a motion supporting the additional lights and chose instead to table to discussion until the next ANC meeting on Oct. 26.

Commissioner Tom Birch said he was concerned that residents were not adequately involved in the decision. “I’m hesitant to forward this request to the city myself without full notification of the neighbors [on those streets],” Birch said.

Some residents argued that the proposed lampposts would shine too much light in their windows and claimed that many Georgetown streets are already too bright.

“I can only say that the residents are very upset about the level of light on N Street,” Victoria Rixey, president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, said. “It worries me a bit to see four new lampposts in what seems to be a fairly small area.”

Student Commissioner Mike Glick (COL ’05) said he remains optimistic that the measure will pass at the commission’s next meeting.

“I’m confident the ANC will approve these locations,” Glick said after the meeting. “Some commissioners wanted to check in with the Citizens Association to seek their input as well. We’ll get at least a few of those locations approved in a few weeks.”

Glick also praised the Student Safety Advisory Board for their work on the project.

“Meredith made a fine presentation and I was disappointed we couldn’t get the approvals sooner,” he said.

Another point of discussion concerned the type of lighting the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) would install. Georgetown lighting is provided largely by carriage lamps, which project light indiscriminately, causing as much light to fall on resident windows as on the street.

Bob Andrew, president of the Foxhall Community Citizens Association, suggested that areas of the lamps could be blackened or a different style of lamp could be used, in order to prevent large amounts of light from disturbing neighborhood residents.

“I think that lighting in the neighborhood is an excellent thing to do,” Andrew said. “[But] the type of lamp used by the DDOT is not appropriate.”

Brett Clements (COL ’07) said that the three recent robberies on Prospect Street in the areas where lampposts have been proposed are justification enough for the quick passage of the proposal.

Glick too emphasized that safety is ultimately a community effort.

“I think it’s important that we remember that these lights are being put on public space, and for the benefit of all,” he said. “If there are dark streets, it affects not only the people who live on that street, but pedestrians and drivers as well. There are certain sacrifices we all make for public safety.”

DDOT officials are already moving to repair broken lamps and removing objects like tree branches that were obstructing lamps’ light.

Also discussed at the meeting was the brochure “Know Your Rights/Know Your Responsibilities,” produced through a joint effort by The Corp and the FRIENDS Initiative and distributed on campus. The presentation by Eric Lashner (COL ’05) and Jerry Graunke (COL ’07) culminated a year’s work of input from residents and students.

Commissioner Mark Ryan said he hoped the new brochures would help bring harmony to a town-gown relationship that is “constantly a challenge.”

The pamphlet includes information about students’ legal rights in dealings with taxicab drivers, landlords and police officers, among others.

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