Lights out along Indianapolis trail, whose responsibility is it to get them fixed?

INDIANAPOLIS – You might want to call them the long-lost lights. Even though the White River Trail is lined with lights, no one seems to know who owns them.

They’re along the trail on Indianapolis’ near west side, there always seems to be people getting exercise, commuters or students heading to nearby IUPUI. 

As the days get shorter and many more people will be out on the trail when it is dark, lights along the trail are supposed to keep it lit. 

"I take this route from home to school,” an IUPUI student along the trail said. “Sometimes it's late at night, either I get out of class late or I get out of practice late."

Even though the trail is lined with lights, many of those lights don’t work at all.

We first learned about the light issue during a Call 6 investigation on the broken emergency call boxes along the same trail. After the first investigation, some people reached out to Call 6 Investigates and asked about the broken lights.

We started looking into the issue but figuring out who is responsible for those lights has proven to be difficult.

We first went to Indy Parks, they asked us for a pole number or any identifying serial numbers on the light poles themselves. When we went looking, we couldn’t find any numbers or labels on the poles at all. We sent them a few pictures and the locations on a map. 

Indy Parks told us they were looking into it, but IPL might oversee them because they are responsible for most street lights in Indianapolis. 

We reached out to IPL and they are also looking into it, but they say all their streetlights have yellow tags on the pole with the pole number. None of the lights along the trail have any tags whatsoever. 

Both IPL and Indy Parks tell RTV6 they will continue to investigate the issue. Indy Parks also says now that they're aware of the issues, they'll get to the bottom of it and get them fixed as soon as possible.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works has released the following statement about the lights:

The lights in the segment of White River Wapahani Trail, from New York St to 10th St, are owned by the city; and DPW manages the electrical contractor who inspects and repairs them. There are some cracks and breaks in the globes on the lights, and those cracks and breaks let moisture in. The moisture in the electrical fixture is the main cause of the lighting malfunctions.

Ultimately, DPW plans to upgrade the lighting to LED technology and replace all the globes. Funding for this project is the greatest challenge. However, DPW has been slowly replacing the globes as funding is available.

It’s worth noting that DPW has not received any reports on these lights being out. Even if a resident called IPL to report the outage, that service request would have been forwarded to DPW for follow up.

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