Nosy Neighbor Report: Lighting Up the Night

Took some doing, but RAH residents finally got the bridges on Scotts Lane & Ridge Avenue lit up after dark.

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No need to tell us Scotts Lane can be trouble. We’ve almost been hit by cars jumping the curb near the community garden plenty of times.

The whole stretch was ominous after dark too, particularly for women, according to Roni Green, of Scotts Lane, and Rose Cooper, President of RAH Civic Association. They were also concerned about the railroad bridge on Ridge Avenue (near Dobson’s Mills Apts.).

They began a campaign  years ago to alert local politicians before someone got hurt. Last month, they finally won their fight (with lots of help from 38th Ward Leader Mark Green) — a row of shiny new LED street lights now stretches along Scotts almost to the train tracks. There are also lights above and below the Ridge Avenue bridge.

It didn’t look so easy when they first took up the fight “because the bridges belong to the railroad company,” said Green. Undaunted, they kept up their push with Councilman Curtis Jones while reaching out to Green at 38th Ward Committee meetings.

In the last year, we really stepped up the pressure,” said Cooper. “Mark and I started circulating petitions and sending letters to Curtis’s office from people in the neighborhood. We kept at it because walking under the Scotts Lane or Ridge Avenue bridges at night was dangerous. Somebody was really gonna get hurt.”

The volume of petitions and letters spurred Jones  into action.

As the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, I was scared to walk under those bridges. Now I am not. Thanks to the Streets Department for their cooperation and willingness to make the neighborhood safer.” Seeing the streetlights lit up recently, Green smiled “You can fight city hall and win.”

What’s next? Cooper’s next big plan is to have Scotts Lane repaved from Ridge Avenue to the train tracks. Fixing the cavernous potholes would go a long way to making the road safer.

According to Cooper, it won’t be easy to get the city involved. Why? The road is technically not fully owned by Philadelphia. In other words, the owners of Scotts Mills and Sherman Mills will have to pony up some of their own cash.

Cooper is currently investigating how much of the cost will be borne by the city. “One way or another, we’re going to get it done.”

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