Streetlights in Saratoga are the streetright solution

November 29, 2017 — by Amith Galivanche

As a busy senior working my way up the mountain that is the college applications process while balancing academic duties and social expectations, I’ve found a very effective coping mechanism for all this stressful food on my plate: long, leisurely walks around my block.

Worried about an AP Statistics test and early deadlines? I just pop in my earbuds, crank up the Gloria Gaynor, step outside and feel the stress melt away.

But with the passing of Daylight Savings Time, it noticeably gets darker earlier in the evening. It’s OK, I tell myself. I can just go for a walk and, once it gets dark, use my trusty iPhone flashlight to navigate the mean streets of the Golden Triangle. But, to my despair, my iPhone flashlight proved no match for the darkness that consumed my locale, and I was forced to turn back after just half a lap of what was supposed to be a leisurely walk — not relaxing.

Why is it that Saratoga, an affluent community with nearly 30,000 residents, chooses not to offer its populace better lighting?

I understand that many of our distinguished residents argue that the atmosphere Saratoga provides is that of a small village, and streetlights, much like sidewalks, which we also don’t have, would shatter that vibe. But what our neighbors must understand is that safety concerns should trump the nostalgic sentimental yearning to live in a village environment in a 21st century suburb in Silicon Valley.

The safety concern isn’t just for my fellow late-evening walkers; as a newly-licensed driver, I am sure that other drivers are also sick of having to use their high beams to see more than a few feet at night because of a lack of streetlights.

It’s very unlikely that streetlights would even threaten the small-town atmosphere that is so characteristic of Saratoga, considering that similarly-sized cities, such as our neighbor Los Gatos, have been able to retain that environment despite installing streetlights. But they would make all the difference to its many citizens who want nothing more than guaranteed safety when they leave their homes past sundown, whether it be in a car or in tennis shoes.

Simply put, especially with total darkness setting in as early as 5:30 p.m. now, having to carry a flashlight and wear a reflective vest to walk outside your home is an inconvenience that Saratoga residents should be able to avoid in 2017.

I urge you, Saratoga, give us our streetlights. I promise that, much like Gloria Gaynor in her famous “I Will Survive,” the atmosphere of Saratoga that we have come to love will not be endangered.

It will survive.

 

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