Local Economic Development Organization Spearheads Pedestrian Level Lighting Program
(San Francisco – February 21, 2013) On Saturday, February 16, 2013, the Excelsior Action Group (EAG) executed a grassroots safety program with the help of over a dozen local youth in San Francisco’s Excelsior neighborhood. Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior is a pedestrian level lighting campaign that enlists youth as safety liaisons to distribute free energy efficient lighting to small businesses to brighten their storefront windows at night. Generously funded by PG&E, the program addresses the neighborhood’s dire need for pedestrian level lighting to increase safety and foot traffic on Mission Street after dark.
Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior was developed in response to a call from merchants and residents alike for better lighting and improved safety along the Excelsior’s commercial corridor. In EAG’s recent community needs assessment, merchants shared common anecdotes of increased break-ins and defacement of their storefronts during the night. Residents living, working, and shopping on the corridor cited that their sense of security on Mission Street dramatically decreases after dark. EAG’s Public Safety Planning Group took these findings as a call to action, working with PG&E to develop the Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior program.
Fifteen neighborhood youth from Balboa High School and San Francisco State University volunteered with EAG staff to distribute energy efficient light bulbs to 193 small businesses along Mission Street. Their message was simple: leave a light on at night to improve pedestrian safety after dark. When asked why the program was important, SFSU student Rosson Pan remarked, “Increased lighting will encourage more people to feel safe and to shop on Mission Street after dark, which will increase safety even further. It’s a cycle that will help to improve the local economy!”
Small business owners were warmly receptive to the program and pleased to see local youth volunteering in the community. “We recognize that a free light bulb is only a temporary solution,” explained Commercial Corridor Manager Nicole Agbayani, “But it also sparks a neighborhood-wide conversation about a much needed project to permanently install pedestrian level lighting here in the Excelsior. Merchants recognize the positive impact more lighting has on their businesses. Youth recognize that more lighting engenders a safer community, and that they can be the impetus for that transformation.”
Bernardo Cortes, Customer Relationship Manager at PG&E, the program’s primary funder, said, “PG&E is proud to work with the Excelsior Action Group to promote safety along the Excelsior commercial corridor. We will continue to collaborate with EAG to provide local businesses with energy-efficient measures to help them save money and improve public safety.” EAG is grateful for all of the support it received in bringing this program to fruition, particularly from PG&E, Whole Foods, Balboa High School’s PULSE program, and SFSU Professor Brigitte Davila.