Please note the time change of San Rafael Regular City Council Meetings to commence at 6:00 p.m. 

street lights

Canal Community Lighting Project

Project Contact

April Miller
Public Works Director


Project Goals, Background and Overview

Project Goals

  • Understand the current public lighting challenges for residents and pedestrians the neighborhood 
  • Gather community input to help identify and guide investments in lighting poles, banners, or other public lighting devices that will improve nighttime pedestrian activity in the routes identified 
  • Analyze community testimony and establish a project plan 
  • Seek funding for projects 

Background and Overview

San Rafael's storied Canal neighborhood includes some of the most densely populated residential areas in Marin County that are frequented by walkers, bikers, commuters and residents alike. However, some residential neighborhoods lack adequate lighting facilities, leading to reduced pedestrian safety and walkability, and increased opportunities for illegal dumping. 

In collaboration with the Dominican University of California and Canal Alliance, Voces de Canal (the project team) partnered on developing a project to advocate for public lighting improvements in the Canal neighborhood. The project team identified seven routes that require improved lighting. 

Image from Canal Community Based Transportation (CCBTP)

On February 26, 2022, the project team presented their findings and recommendations to the community in the Canal. In addition, the project team collected testimonies from community members regarding their experiences with lighting in the Canal. These testimonies served as a data point to advocate for improved lighting in the routes identified. This event was attended by City officials and staff, including elected leadership and the police department.

On March 23, 2022, the project team invited the City to collaborate by participating in a qualitative data analysis working session. In partnership with the City, the project team analyzed and categorized the residential testimonies collected at the photo exposition held the previous month to identify overarching themes, and community priorities and recommendations for addressing the public safety concerns in the neighborhood, including lighting.


In Fall 2022 the City installed new lighting near the picnic tables at Pickleweed Park.

Throughout FY 2022/23, City staff coordinated with the project team and community members to identify and replace aging lightbulbs in several popular residential routes in the Canal neighborhood. City staff then worked with Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE) to erect new streetlights in strategic areas identified by the community members and project team in the CCBTP locations 1,4, 5, and 6.


In June 2022 the City replaced light bulbs to brighter light bulbs along Canal, Hoag, Novato, Fairfax, and Sonoma Streets.

From February to July 2023, PG&E upgraded infrastructure and the city to installed lighting on these modified poles in 34 locations within the Canal neighborhood. The image below shows the locations of the new lights.

As of July 2023 below is a map showing the total lights in the Canal neighborhood:


Changing street light bulbs
Close window