YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - When you hit the road at night or early in the morning, dark conditions can make your drive dangerous.
First News called the Youngstown Police Department traffic division to find out which city streets they think could benefit the most from better lighting. Lt. William Ross says one of the biggest problem areas he sees is along Glenwood Avenue near the Southern Tavern, where he recalls one pedestrian dying and several others getting seriously hurt.
"One is too many," Ross said. "Anything is more than we'd like."
Ross says this area of Glenwood Avenue, near Cleveland Street, has a lot of traffic with people heading home from the bar, going to the Salvation Army, or leaving Mill Creek Park.
Both neighbors and Ross say when people are walking in the dark, the street lights here don't do much to help.
"It's dark! You almost always have to have your bright lights on all the way up," Ronald Stevens, a concerned neighbor, said.
Stevens, who lives just off Glenwood Avenue, said he refuses to walk on the busy road because it's dark, dangerous and just too hard to see.
"It's very difficult and if you're really not conscious, it would be easy for us not to see someone."
Stevens said he also sees people trying to walk from halfway homes in the area and not wearing bright colors. He worries they might get hit by a car.
"How many times has someone got hit down there by Salvation Army trying to cross the street?" Stevens asked.
Lt. Ross thinks Glenwood Avenue could benefit from upgraded, LED lighting. He pointed out there are only lights about every four poles compared to other areas of Glenwood Avenue where there's lighting every other pole. He says another option would be to put lights on the Southern Tavern side of the road, too.
With a curve on one side of the road and dark conditions on top of it, Ross said it's a crash waiting to happen.
"You don't see everything in front of you that fast and you're on it before you know it."
The city has put up reflective chevrons and flashing signs in the area to let drivers know about curves in the road and people walking.
Officials with the city engineer's office said they've driven this area and think it's bright enough, but Deputy Director of Public Works Chuck Shasho said they'll need to look at the traffic reports to consider if they need additional lighting.
"I'm not sure it really needs to be brighter. We had some requests for it. We're going to take a look if we feel it needs to be brighter if it's a safety concern," Shasho said.
Shasho pointed out there are lights in the area and all are working properly.
Still, the people who live and work nearby think people walking at night and early in the morning would be safer if it was just a little brighter than it is now.
Until anything changes, people like Stevens are just hoping no one else gets hurt.
"We don't know what to do. We don't know who to call. All we do is tell each other, 'Be careful, be safe.'"
If you want to report a dark road in your neighborhood, you should contact your city. In many cases, you should reach out to the city engineer's office. You can call the following numbers:
- Youngstown Engineering: 330-742-8800
- Boardman Township Administration: 330-726-4177
- Girard City Engineer: 330-545-1934
- Hubbard City Engineer: 330-534-1271
- Warren City Engineer: 330-841-2617
An Ohio Edison spokesperson also suggests reaching out to your local councilmen and women to try to get them to push for a lighting change if you're concerned about a particular area.
You can also report a street light outage to Ohio Edison online. You can find the link here: https://www.firstenergycorp.com/service_requests/report-lighting-problem.html