News & Notes February 2013

Irving, Calif. — A section of Rapid City’s bike path is safer and brighter after 58 solar lights went into use in November.

The Leonard “Swanny” Swanson Memorial Pathway is a bike path between Memorial and Roosevelt parks in Rapid City, S.D., where there are quite a few walkers and cyclists passing by during the night. However, in past years, the path has been an area of high crime rates caused by aggressive panhandlers and vagrants. Local police were looking for proactive projects to make it safer and create a more appealing corridor for walkers and cyclists.

In April 2010, police officer Ryan Phillips, a member of the city’s Street Crimes Unit and one of the main participants in the project, was patrolling the area when he came up with the idea to add lights along the pathway to deter crimes. He spent almost 2½ years pitching the idea to community and business leaders before finally seeing his idea become a reality on Nov. 13, 2012. The cost was covered by private donation, public funding and in-kind contributions. The lights, which were built by Greenshine New Energy, met all the requirements for the project.

“Solar power seemed like the best route for the project,” said Phillips. “The initial cost is more, but it’s a savings in the long run.” The solution is totally off-grid and will ensure obvious savings on trenching, landscaping, maintenance costs and electric bills.

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