Street lights finally replaced in dark alley

Posted at 5:58 PM, Dec 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-28 21:23:56-05

A dark alleyway had longtime, caring Detroit residents living in fear. 

JoAnn Lester is not one to just complain about things, choosing instead to focus on getting issues resolved. 

That's exactly what the elderly Detroit resident did when the street lights in the alley behind her house went dark.

Lester told 7 Action News she contacted the Public Lighting Authority -  not once, not twice but countless times.

"They kept telling me in two weeks, in two weeks, and nothing happened," she says.

The Public Lighting Authority is now responsible for lighting up the Motor City.

Since taking over, more than 58,000 new LED lights have been installed, but nonworking lights in the alley ways are not being replaced.

Click on the video player to watch Ronnie Dahl's full report.

After our report aired, the Public Lighting Authority released the following statement to 7 Action News:

Since the Public Lighting Authority began operations, our plan has not included relighting alleyways because the cost would be prohibitive.

Adding new lights in every Detroit alley would cost the PLA approximately $20 million dollars that the PLA doesn't have.

However, there is one exception to that rule – if the only access to houses on a residential block is via the alleyway. Individuals whose alleys lights don't meet the criteria are not eligible. 

The light in the alley of the 8900 block of Isham was reviewed on November 17 and the findings met the criteria for installation of the new light. PLA engineers completed the redesign and it was sent out for construction on the normal schedule. The light was installed the week before Christmas.

Prior to the Public Lighting Authority, across the city’s 139 square miles, the lighting system has not been operational for decades. The Public Lighting Authority is rebuilding the street lighting grid and has added more than 59,000 new LED street lights within the last 22 months, which represents more operational street lights in the City of Detroit since 1980.

To report a problem to the Public Lighting Authority, the PLA can be reached at, by calling (313) 324-8290, on Twitter and on Facebook.

If you have a story for Ronnie, email her at