Monday, June 27, 2011

Salmagundi of Streetlights

The new Dudley Square police station is good looking. And the new Dudley Square police station has those antique-looking "acorn" street lights in front of it. But within a couple hundred feet of the acorn lamps, at the corners of Washington, Dudley, and Malcolm X, are the George Jetsons, those streamlined round silver lamps, as well as the Flat-tops, the matte black flat square lamps.

The whole of Dudley Square is a gallimaufry (I want to see how many different words I can use for hodge-podge) of different types of lamps. Washington and Warren have acorns. Streets off of it have George Jetsons or Flat-tops. Dudley Station has its own giant dual, square, flat faced lamps. What's up with that?
"George Jetson" lamps on Marvin St. and "acorns" in front of Central Elder Services on Washington

Corner of Washington and Dudley Streets and Malcolm X Blvd., left of the new police station with, from left to right, a traffic surveillance camera, a flat-top lamp, George Jetson lamp, and an acorn lamp - then a double George Jetson

"Flat face" lamps in Dudley Station, acorn lamps on Washington

Maybe the mix is an unintentional nod to some kind of modern historical authenticity and each type of street light speaks to a different era of development and construction or financial or environmental constraint. Or maybe the hodge-podge of street lights is a symbol of an era of neglect and sloppiness where things were done in the Square with an "it's Roxbury, who cares?" attitude. Maybe there simply has been no cohesive overarching aesthetic vision of what Dudley might best look like.

The Roxbury Strategic Master Plan, published in 2004, is a "community-based Plan (that) is the product of a three-year partnership with community members, resident groups and city and elected officials," according to the preface by Mayor Menino, has all kinds of recommendations on how things should be done in Roxbury. I think we are the only neighborhood to have such a "plan".

Though I found no mention in the 119 page document specifically of street lights, on page 75, the RSMP does state that "Rigorous development standards and design guidelines are critical to ensure high quality development desired by the Roxbury community." Just sayin'.


  1. "Rigorous development standards and design guidelines are critical to ensure high quality development desired by the Roxbury community."
    are we talking about lights down Dudley?
    What about the major issues, open drinking, loitering, drug use, drug sales, prostitution all 100 yards away from the police station... by the way it doesnt look good to me.. it looks like money that could have been better spent on something else and also its quick construction shows that when the city wants to do something it gets done... too bad what they want to do usually only benefits the city and not the people.

  2. Aesthetics are a good reflection of the care, attention and planning that goes into a place, as well as the socio-economic factors that exist there. All the major issues you mention manifest in how the area is cared for - by both the city and its residents. All the major issues you mention are reflected, I think, in the details of the neighborhood - details like street lights. Check out the Back Bay and Beacon Hill as further proof of this.