street lights

Canal Community Lighting Project

Project Contact

April Miller
Public Works Director


Project Goals, Background and Overview

Project goals:

Project Goal

  • 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 night time 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.

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.

Throughout FY 2022/23, City staff have 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 will then work with Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE) to erect new street lights in strategic  areas  identified by the community members and project team.

Changing street light bulbs
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