Campus Night Walk highlights new lights and designated walking paths

During fall term, the sun sets around 5 p.m. every day, and many students make their daily walks home in darkness. Lights provide a certain level of security in some areas, but the University of Oregon wants to make sure students feel safe, and know where the safest areas to walk are.

Just as the sun was setting, eleven people gathered in Friendly Hall at 5 p.m. for the annual Campus Night Walk on Thursday, Nov. 12, during which students and staff had the opportunity to give feedback to campus electricians about unsafe areas to improve for pedestrians.

According to the UOPD, campus operations staff then prioritizes the suggestions and finds the money to complete as many of them as possible.

Electrical supervisor Rob Berg led the meeting, and revealed that there are designated walking paths that are specially lit for late night safety that are all wheelchair accessible and specially maintained during ice storms, which surprised many of the meeting attendees.

“I’m a junior, and I’ve never seen this,” one student said.

Attendees discussed how to make that information more public and voiced other concerns. For example, some areas of campus are not well lit, even on the designated walking paths.

“One of the biggest light concerns I saw was the walk from Lawrence and Allen toward Fenton,” Berg said.

Berg recently replaced the old lights on the path with new Light Emitting Diode bulbs, or LEDs, that now illuminate the area with bright, white light.

Berg has slowly been replacing all of the old high pressure sodium lights on campus with LEDs. The high pressure sodiums are easily recognized by their yellow light. LEDs and metal halide bulbs emit white light.

As the group observed the path from Allen Hall to Fenton, attendants marveled at how well the new LEDs illuminated the area as they walked.

Berg also said he’s replacing the high pressure sodiums first “so we can get all of campus to one color.”

“When you look at the old ones you’ll see light coming out of the top,” Berg said. “The new ones are black on top so you get the night sky.”

Berg said the UO has spent $60,000 on new lights and light poles this year.

The group moved on to a problem area near Collier House, then surveyed a very dark area near the Pioneer Mother by Gerlinger Hall. However, Berg said that this area is off the designated walking path, and it is therefore not considered a priority to improve by campus operations.

The walk ended quickly, around 6 p.m. By that time, it was already pitch black outside.

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Noah Mcgraw

Noah Mcgraw