Seeing Clearly


  • If people feel vulnerable or lost, they can be more vulnerable to criminal activity.
  • People should be able to see a good distance in front of them and from side to side. Columns, walls, fences, corners, and landscaping can all obstruct sight lines, block the view of observers, and make it difficult to see danger.
  • Landscaping should be arranged to help enhance visibility and avoid obstructed views. 
  • Fences should provide clear separation of spaces while not obstructing views on to public spaces. 
  • Spaces for activities in a park of public space can be located so they can be observed and contribute to observation, providing "eyes on the street" or "eyes on the playground."
  • Buildings can be altered to improve visibility: mirrors can improve visibility in stairwells, and windows can be added to blank walls that face play areas or parking lots.
  • In parking ramps, lighting should be at a high enough level to allow identification from 50 feet away.
  • In pedestrian areas, lights should be designed to make faces visible, not just cars.
  • Multiple light sources—instead of fewer brighter lights—can remove shadows and eliminate dark areas that make it harder to see who is around.
  • Lighting that is too bright can reduce safety, if people can't see a far distance from where they are standing.
  • Light fixtures should be designed so that they cannot be easily broken.
  • A street with poor lighting or dark areas is not pedestrian-friendly.
  • Buildings that aren't being used during dark hours like schools, libraries, or stores should still have lighting to help people see.
  • Windows on the street allow people inside the buildings to be observers, increasing safety.
  • Entrances and exits to connectors—stairs, tunnels, bridges, and overpasses—should be visible. They should be clear of shrubs and other obstructions.
  • In residential areas, street lighting should also light the sidewalk.
  • Some park areas cannot be observed or made safe during night hours. Good lighting will show which areas can be safely used at night.
  • Park, school, and library buildings should have clearly visible entries.
  • Spaces that can be viewed from the outside are safer. Observation from neighbors and law enforcement can reduce illegal activities and conflicts.
  • Children's play areas should be located where houses, pedestrians, and car traffic can observe.
  • Spaces within recreation facilities should permit staff to observe multiple spaces at once.
  • Viewing windows allow recreation center staff to observe outdoor activities from inside the building. The more people observing, the better.

Tell us your idea!

*Note that to be eligible for funding under our capital improvement budget, ideas must involve investment in infrastructure owned and maintained by the city. Also, proposed investment must be something that will last 10 years or more.