Johnston Square

Streetlight upgrades are a “critical step” in Johnston Square neighborhood revitalization [Video]

BGE partners with Baltimore City government, community stakeholders to make streets safer and more welcoming to residents and businesses

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Go for an evening walk in Johnston Square and you’ll see the beginning of its brighter future.

Located in east Baltimore City, this historic neighborhood is experiencing a community-driven economic renaissance through a collaborative vision with public and private partners focused on reversing generations of concentrated poverty, population loss, and property abandonment caused by systemic disinvestment and discriminatory lending. BGE is among the organizations supporting the effort.

“We asked the community, ‘what are your priorities and how can we help,'” said Sam duPont, principal for strategic programs at BGE and the company’s lead for Connected Communities programs.

Their near-unanimous answer: brighter, more reliable streetlights. Creating safe and walkable streets is a pillar of the Johnston Square Vision Plan, which provides a blueprint for equitable reinvestment in the 110-acre neighborhood. Safer streets immediately benefit residents and businesses and in the long-term help Johnston Square leverage its proximity to competitive real estate markets, employment centers, major institutions, and regional transit access.

BGE completed upgrades to 198 neighborhood streetlights in fall 2020. The new LED fixtures are indeed brighter and more reliable, and they’re also more efficient–an additional cost savings for city government.

The benefits to quality of life, though, are invaluable.

“Lighting is a critical first step to creating a safer neighborhood for all,” said Baba Olumiji, principal of Johnston Square Elementary School. “Lighting is a sign of commitment. And with commitment feeds to change and change feeds to creating a safer environment.”

The streetlight upgrade project in Johnston Square is part of BGE’s Connected Communities initiative, a suite of demonstrations that explore innovative ways various smart devices can improve government services and address individual customer priorities related to energy use, safety, and communication. Smart technology–e.g., air quality monitors, flood detectors, smart LED streetlights–can be controlled remotely and analyze data in real time. Baltimore City, Annapolis, and other Connected Communities partners rely on BGE’s infrastructure expertise to guide smart technology deployment projects in their jurisdiction.