Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Light Bulbs . . . Who’s Responsible? Township staff or PECO?

On my way home from choir practice last night on Walker Road in Wayne, I drove through Chesterbrook on Chesterbrook Boulevard to Duportail Road to Swedesford Road. Between the Great Valley and Gateway Shopping Center, I make this trip regularly. I’ve never clocked the distance but I’m guessing that it is less than 2 miles from Swedesford Road to Valley Forge Road going through Chesterbrook.

As I drove on Chesterbrook Blvd. there was this real ‘darkness’ along the road. It was 9:30 PM and after narrowing missing someone walking on the road, it struck me as to ‘why’ it was so dark. Street lights – where were they and why weren’t they on? From that point on Chesterbrook Blvd, I began counting light bulbs that were out . . . by the time I got to Duportail Road, I had counted 19 lights out! Understand that this wasn’t an orchestrated, every other one light out, by design. There were complete dark areas where no lights were on. Chesterbrook Blvd. does not have sidewalks but has a bike path, which is why I saw several people out walking last evening.

I recall someone asked about the lights at a Board of Supervisors meeting and there was some discussion about PECO, calendars, schedules, etc. As far as I am concerned, lighting (or lack of lighting) is a safety issue. Is the lighting of township roads (replacing light bulbs) a responsibility of township staff? Is it PECO? Also, does the township pay a flat fee to PECO for lighting, regardless if the lights are working or not?

I have also been told by a resident that there are issues with lighting (or lack of) at the Paoli train station. Some may not agree that lighting is a safety issue but if a pedestrian is hit because the driver cannot see him, isn’t that cause for concern?

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  1. I agree and feel that, yes as a tax payer of several properties, we need to check it out and see if we’re paying to have more lights on in our district…

  2. Good luck getting any official response – I have tried to get this addressed for the 11 years we have lived in Chesterbrook. During that time, there has not been a stretch longer than 3 months when all lights were operational.

    I have called & emailed & written to the DPW and PECO numerous times, with no success. I have emails from Mimi Gleason when she was the assistant DPW manager, promising to deal with this problem – how many years ago was that? The township and PECO each point the finger at the other.

    It is only a matter of time before someone is injured by a driver who can’t see a person walking or riding a bike in the “pedestrian” space. And someone please try and tell me we don’t need sidewalks – just observe the dozens of kids who walk Chesterbrook Blvd to/from VFMS – and in the dark, during the middle of winter.

    This is a major tragedy waiting to happen.

  3. light pole across from myhouse has had a yellow ribbon around it for about 5 years.. the same amount of time the bulb has been out. Was told it was to be replaced, thats why the yellow ribbon was placed for Identification. (not for the military).. Still dark. Good questions. Guess I can call the township again.

  4. Peco is a power distributor,. They do not have any responsibility to change the bulb.

    There are local roads, state roads and US roads. Depending on how the service contracts work, mainly with the state will determine who is responsible for replacing the actual bulb.

    Chesterbrook Blvd is a township road. I believe that the township manages the roadway. This will include snow removal, surfacing, repair, markings, signs and lighting.

    That is a good question as to how they are charged for the lighting. I would imagine that the electricity for lighting, traffic signals and etc are not running through a meeter. So the logical thought would be a fixed rate based on number of lights, traffic signals, etc.

  5. My experience, across 202, was the following: after forgetting to submit a light pole maintenance to the township for about two months, I went to the Tredyffrin website to the lightpole maintenance web page, submitted a request for repair, next day recevied a nice note from someone at Public Works saying they received my request, the day or two after that saw a contractor’s (repair is outsourced) truck out front doing the repair. I had a good experience once I remembered to take the initiative.

    Using this method, a resident needs to take the inititative to go out, write down the pole numbers, submit them to the township, and wait for action.

    If this is shocking to you, then change your elected leadership at the township. The current name of the game is audience participation presumably due to lower staff levels.

    This is what happens when leadership has a you-can-have-your-services-but-pay-less-taxes attitude. Extraordinary service is not free no matter what the signs say. Mediocrity is less expensive for sure. If you pay for mediocrity, just don’t expect extraordinary.

  6. I have also called the Township about this on numerous occassions. I have spoken with Mimi, Steve N. (no longer employed), Dean Wilkins and Diane in PW. All to no avail.
    I just pray no one is seriously hurt or killed because of their lack of concern, or lack of work ethic, whatever it is.
    I am sure the hand goes up and out when it’s time for raises and bonuses. I was apalled to learn of large raises to Mimi, Steve, Maryanne, Dean to name a few, when the township was cutting back staff and purchasing due to their budget crisis. Yet, the township owned staff cars and fuel for them still exist. I remember seeing Steve N. on family outings and doing his grocery shopping in the township vehichle. On days of inclement weather, the entire staff is off WITH pay, unless you are plowing roads or on duty as an Officer. The ones plowing the roads always run home to do their own first, and then steadily while the storm is in progress. And yes, Steve N. was one of them. Some live in Malvern or Phoenixville, Wayne. It doesn’t matter how far, but they made sure their homes were done first. I guess maybe that could be the reason for no light bulbs!
    Speak to almost any of the township staff, be it PWD, Secretaries and/or the police force and they will tell you how poorly it is run. Mike simply drives around all day for Dean checking on the men because Dean doesn’t want to do that. Give me a break. It starts at the TOP. Makes you wonder about Mimi’s management. Lame duck maybe?

    1. The comments on the employees plowing out their own driveways are false. I am the wife of one of the employees and we have a driveway that is over a 1/4 mile back . I can tell you first hand that they do not do their own driveways! I actually have to pay someone to plow us out as the township does not allow their equipment to be taken home. My husband works endless hours to satisfy the residents and works for days on end and sleeps on a cot . It upsets me how the residents do not appreciate the hard work these workers give in times of emergency.
      As far as the street lights? My husband has been getting up at 2 in the morning to mark the out lights so that the residents stay safe. How dare anyone complain ! I also do not appreciate the comments concerning MImi, they are untrue and unfounded. Get your facts straight before you make comments that are outrageous. If anything, it’s the residents who are the ones who expect service and yet complain about the taxes and sewer fees. We are in East Nantmeal who the people pay high taxes and we are lucky to have a local farmer come along and plow us out. Be grateful for the service you get because the people named above have always tried to accomidate the residents with their requests. Part of the budget crisis comes down to the residents who do not pay their taxes. I am truely upset at the ignorance the residents have shown.

  7. I would like to know where people get their info. from.Ive worked there 14 years and never plowed my driveway and dont know of any fellow PW employee that has…You can be mad at the Twp dont be mad at the workers just following the orders the are handed.

  8. Sadly, I have to agree with “Sugar”.
    For the record, I do not know him/her. I can only say that I too, have seen many of the same things. As most of the claims are public record and can be found simply by investigation, some are brought up at meetings, or in minutes. I have been told many times about workers doing things at their own homes, be it plowing, mowing their lawns, or bringing home township equipment for personal use (generators when the power is out), it does happen. As I said, I had been told of this, so I started to watch closer, observe with more scrutiny, and kept my ears open. I couldn’t believe some of what I myself have witnessed. I did speak to a Supervisor about this, and was told it would be looked into. My tax dollars being used this way angers me more than I can say.
    Tredyffrin wants the glory, but look at how it has fallen. The lights on Chesterbrook Blvd are just a tiny part of what is not be taken care of in the place we call home. Thankfully, the police dept seems to be intact and professionally managed, Praise God!

  9. Rarely are people interested in facts Mike — they know what they think, and that works. But let’s see them talk about any kind of tax increase around here, and THEN you’ll hear rant after rant.

    WHile we are all excited now about light bulbs, and talking about staffing and budgets, just who will tend the sidewalks….or cite the residents who do not?

  10. I’d like to know if the Township has done any type of investigation or examination of the electrical system that supports the street lights?

    This has not been just one or two random light bulbs burning out periodically – there is an almost systematic outage (usually 4-5 poles) every 3 or 4 months – the sections that are effected vary. I have observed this for 11 years and the fact that it continues to this day tells me there is a more serious problem along Chesterbrook Blvd.

    How do we get the DPW to take action? Phone calls and emails to the Township are ignored.

  11. I am so curious to who is telling you this..Really, workers mowing their lawns and plowing driveways..I think you both are sadly misinformed!Its a shame that a few residents listen to crap that is being fed to them and give a bad name to the rest of the residents that appriciate the hard work the PW employees do.

  12. Well said Doug in Berwyn!!!!

    Get what you pay for. Minimal taxes equals minimal service.

    Light bulbs aren’t free. The budget given to the the light bulb replacement/repair is only so big, and once it reaches max, there won’t be any more bulb replacements. Small government means small government, it’s not just a catch phrase.

  13. This comment thread has gotten off track. Let us just focus on something that should be super simple, replacing light bulbs. I drove down Chesterbrook Blvd last night and had to turn on my bright lights because it was like driving down a country road. The roads are wet, covered with leaves and the Deer are all in heat running everywhere including into cell phone stores. The fact that we can’t see where we are driving makes a bad situation intolerable. Shame on the township for not addressing this after so many complaints!!

    1. I moved over to Chesterbrook in 1984, and the Chesterbrook Blvd. outage problem has always been an ongoing problem. The answer I always hear is that it is due to faulty underground wires. If so, is or was this the responsibility of the developer, the township or PECO to make the necessary repairs. And why was it never done.

      As has been pointed out, C’brook Blvd. is like a country road where the lights are out, and it is dangerous especially when wet, leaf covered, and deer are on the move. And yes, another area for sidewalks. Anyone ever follow drivers who drive in the “fog lanes” (I think that’s what Bill DeHaven called them). Can’t quite understnd why, there is plenty of roadway.

      BTW, this isn’t the only maintenance item the twp has had to drop, has anyone taken a good look at our parks this year? And let’s hope for a mild winter (no snow or ice).

  14. I remember a BOS meeting more than 7 years ago when the supervisors decided to have half the bulbs off. on many streetsdo to save money on electricity. Some streets were targeted for NO lights including Fletcher Rd near my house. I raised a big ruckus because lots of us walk our dogs along it after dark and there is no sidewalk. Since that time Fletcher has only one lightbulb working. For our current BOS I guess $ is more important than safety.

    1. There is no way that the street lights are individually metered, so I do not see how having any with dead bulbs or no bulbs would be a cost savings regardless of whether it was intentional or by accident. I am guessing twp is billed per light, working or not….

      The chesterbrook street lights have been a problem since day 1 (1980) Discussed numerous times over the last 30 years at BOS meetings, never fixed. The way they are wired they go out in large sections, rarely an individual light. Interestingly enough, many of them are now marked with ribbons.

      I amazed the amount of discussion on this forum re street lights. It would be great if some folks besides Pattye and a few others attended BOS meetings regularly and voiced their concerns. While the Supervisors, and twp staff are clearly watching this blog, to raise the issue at mtg would get far more attention and response. Get engaged, election is coming, here is our chance to vote some new folks in if you are not happy with the old guard…

  15. Thanks DAU == agree that these people want to discuss and complain, but when it comes to change….no way.

    As we approach this next election, there are all kinds of issues in play — and if you are part of the large majority of people who keep saying they cannot afford more taxes, you better look at the bottom line of some of these proposals and dreams. WHAT CAN WE AFFORD may not have the same answer as WHAT DO WE WANT?

    And friends — there is a school board election soon too. Is anyone besides me concerned that the TEACHERS are endorsing some candidates? Really? Does that mean they think they can work with them? I don’t want my candidate being buddies with the board going into this next election. Maybe some non-parents are worth considering — regardless, these are important decisions. Vote your head, and then whichever part matters most — your heart or your wallet. And PLEASE don’t buy into the “grant money” idea….do you really think Tredyffrin Township is worthy of grant money when other communities are TRULY suffering. We want to spruce up and clean up….not a lot more.

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