Where are all the lights?

The streets of Mansfield, Connecticut lack street lights that make it dangerous to students, residents and anyone who uses the roadways around the University of Connecticut at night. (Eric Kilby/Creative Commons)

The streets of Mansfield, Connecticut lack street lights that make it dangerous to students, residents and anyone who uses the roadways around the University of Connecticut at night. (Eric Kilby/Creative Commons)

There is currently a major safety issue around campus that nobody is talking about. In fact a decent percentage of campus doesn’t even know that this problem exists. I am of talking about the lack of lighting around Mansfield. The lack of lighting is dangerous to students, residents and anyone who uses the roadways around campus at night.

By and large, UConn and the Mansfield area is relatively safe. Downtown Storrs and the entire UConn campus is very well lit all of the time. UConn police drive frequent loops around campus and are quick to respond to most incident reports. Additionally, the release of the Annual Fire and Safety report showed that the UCPD was reviewing domestic violence reporting protocol to improve safety for students.

Unfortunately not all of these solutions apply to those who live just outside the universities reach. Take me for example. I live just off campus down North Eagleville Road. Most of North Eagleville is very, or semi-light because of its connection to the university. On one-side the road, you have the science complexes, North residence halls and Northwest Residence Hall. On the other side you have a sidewalk that connects to Northwood Apartments. It is at Northwood Apartments that everything changes. The sidewalk and lights cut out. For about a quarter mile stretch of road, there are absolutely no lights of any kind. Forget about the sidewalk as well. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for that fact that road curves so even if a car has its headlights on, you won’t see them as well.

North Eagleville Road is not the only road like this either. Separatist road, which is a major connector for anyone going between 215 and the rest of campus, has no lights. Like all good backroads, it is full of curves, which makes for a great deal of fun in the dark. Parts of Hunting Lodge Road has no lighting. The roads behind East Campus and Buckley lack lighting. And even some of the major highways going to and from campus lack lighting.

A very common complaint by Mansfield residents is that students are not safe drivers and make driving on the road very dangerous. Students, however, cannot take all the blame for the poor driving situation. While many drivers, students and residents alike, like to speed through certain areas, the lack of streetlights makes things incredibly dangerous for even the most careful drivers.

It being winter doesn’t improve things either. It is a well-known fact that winter weather can lead to dangerous driving conditions. Fog, rain and snow are all dangerous conditions to drive in on their own. Combine them with winter road ice and you have deadly driving conditions. If you can’t see the dangers coming up you are absolutely screwed.  

The town of Mansfield and UConn have a duty to both students and residents to keep them as safe as reasonably possible. While both entities have no control over how people drive, they do have the power to limit potential accidents by limiting common factors. And currently they are not doing that. I have only lived in the area for only five years. Yet during that time I have not seen the university or the town look into fixing this major issue. If they aren’t going to do it, then who will?

As living costs increase and UConn’s prestige grows, more and more people are going to be moving into the neighborhoods around campus. As it stands, Mansfield sits along many major state highways and the area has major traffic. If something is not done soon, there will be major accidents. And the blood from those accidents will be on the hands of UConn and the town of Mansfield.


Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.