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Lighting Isla Vista

County Grants $100,000 to Project


Monday, May 6, 2013
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Amid the flurry of campus elections and midterms, a group of UCSB students petitioned the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for better lighting in Isla Vista and won $100,000 in community block grants.

The county supervisors voted unanimously to approve the funds, which will initially be used to replace bulbs on Del Playa Drive, Sabado Tarde Road, Trigo Road, and Pasado Road with energy-efficient LED lights.

The campaign, which will improve the lighting throughout Isla Vista, was initiated by Rhandy Siordia, the Associated Students external vice president of local affairs. Siordia helped establish a fence at Walter Capps Memorial Park earlier this year. It was the hard work and lobbying of his office and a number of other students involved in AS that convinced the supes to allocate the funds to improve lighting.

Annalise Domenighini
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Annalise Domenighini

Isla Vista, with no local government save for the Recreation and Parks Department, has long been overlooked when it comes to identifying structural needs and deficits. That job rests largely, then, on the activism of the the students living in Isla Vista. If we want roads to be repaved, fences to be put up to protect us from falling off cliffs, or the lighting to improve so that we can feel safer at night, we have to make enough noise to make it happen. The activist students themselves had to canvass Isla Vista and make note of the places where lighting was the worst. Without their hard work, none of this would have happened.

A number of people have compared Isla Vista to the elephant graveyard of the Lion King, for good reason. Speaking as a student whose part-time job often has me working until 1:30 in the morning, the darkness of Isla Vista has on more than one occasion made me concerned enough to choose to drive from Isla Vista to the other side of campus. Biking at night means you run the risk of a car not seeing you, and don’t even think about walking in the dark. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve come close to hitting someone while driving simply because I couldn’t see them due to the poor lighting. Headlights can only help you so much when you’re on the lookout for people in what is almost pitch-blackness.

While studies on the correlation between lighting and crime have found that brighter streets don’t always mean safer ones, the introduction of better lighting in Isla Vista is not money wasted. At the very least, students walking home from classes late at night won’t have to feel so afraid. Hopefully an increase in lighting on these first four roads — which are all near the ocean and high-traffic, the ones with the most parties — means the Sheriff’s office won’t have to invest in as much money in floodlights come Halloween.

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Not to mention the Intoxication of others either driving, biking, or walking in IV.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 7:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's the Isla Vista Recreation and Park DISTRICT, not department. Gees.

Carmelo (anonymous profile)
May 7, 2013 at 3:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

One of my neighbors was recently stabbed in a botched robbery, overall violent crime here has skyrocketed. In fact the increase in alcohol related crimes and violence has increased since the Board of Supes in their very finite wisdom decided to shut down the dispensaries in this area while they promote alcohol related industries and activities here and elsewhere in the county.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 7, 2013 at 12:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well yes Ken. People can't understand why there is so much in the way of problems with booze while they worship at the altar of Bacchus.

Up in Buellton, they passed some ordinance officially banning all "Head Shops" while they now have a moonshine distillery and of course, the never-ending influx of bars.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 7, 2013 at 3:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If I win the lottery I think I might open up a headshop in Buellton just so I can sue the crap out of them. Then I'll expand the headshop and make it the biggest headshop in the world.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 8, 2013 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Although I'd rather have everyone smoking pot than drinking booze, I don't think there's a way to go back to the good old days when alcohol sales were not allowed within a mile of any state university campus. Pot was illegal but that did not impede its sale, people were just more circumspect about obtaining and using it. Back in my day (I mean, waaaay back in the late sixties) college students kept a low profile and did not draw attention to ourselves, sitting around smoking weed, munching on snacks, listening to music and sipping the occasional glass of wine, in our apartments. Nobody stumbled through the streets whooping and screaming, falling into - ooops! - the wrong house, so drunk they didn't realize they had just broken and entered a family's residence. I'm a long-time IV resident who misses those mellower days. Even summertime in IV is not as delightful as it was in the eighties and nineties when most "seasonal residents" cleared out for a few months and Isla Vista was quiet, safe, pleasant, open and relaxed.

Ibid (anonymous profile)
May 8, 2013 at 1:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm against prohibition, but when a culture obsesses over alcohol and that particular drug becomes a status symbol you're bound to have problems.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 8, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Back when I had a newspaper in Isla Vista, I interviewed (and published) comments from Foot Patrol folks that I.V. was a much easier place to police when marijuana was the drug of choice vs. alcohol. But let's get back to the topic of street lighting.

What's wrong with using County Service Area 31 (created for street lighting) to light up the town, especially the 6600 block of Del Playa? I mean, that's what it's for. If there is a public safety need to have more street lighting, then use the damn thing instead of waiting on "grants", which primarily upgrade to more efficient light bulbs. Gees.

Carmelo (anonymous profile)
May 9, 2013 at 8:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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