ARLINGTON — Arlington City Council member Lana Wolff recently drove from Arlington Municipal Airport into the heart of the city. It’s not what she saw that worried her — it’s what she didn't see.
It’s extremely dangerous to drive that area,” she told fellow Council members on January 4.
Arlington has 22,000 street lights. On major thoroughfares — including Collins Street, Matlock Road and Bowen Road — every other lamp is turned off.
Two-thousand total lights are intentionally kept dark. Keeping the lights off saves the city about $200,000 a year.
That’s in addition to lights that are out because of burned out bulbs or theft.
“I’m just concerned about visitors who are traveling through Arlington for the first time, trying to find their way around," Wolff said. "It gets dark very early.”
Nearly three weeks ago, Wolff asked whether there’s enough money to now turn the lights back on, before the big game. Council member Robert Rivera supported her, but clarified that he would like to see the lights stay on.
“It would be great to have the lights on for the Super Bowl, but not just for the game — every night," Rivera said. "The citizens of Arlington and our visitors deserve that level of safety.”
There was no further Council support, however.
City leaders say even without the lights, Arlington will still shine.
“Arlington and North Texas have planned extensively to provide the NFL and its fans with excellent experience," City Manager Trey Yelverton said in a statement to News 8. "We are confident that our preparations, services, and hospitality will achieve just that.”
Turning the lights back on would be no easy task. A fuse would have to be replaced in each of the 2,000 lights that have been deactivated. There are only five staff members assigned to the maintenance of all 22,000 of the city’s street lights.