‘That’s so dangerous’: Broken light poles held up with rope in downtown Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - “Oh my goodness, it is tied with a rope!”

Pamelina Rose was just as shocked as we were to see a broken light pole being held in place by nothing but a rope at the corner of East 17th Street and Chester Avenue in downtown Cleveland. Smart Led Lights

‘That’s so dangerous’: Broken light poles held up with rope in downtown Cleveland

Instead of removing the rusty metal pole, which is completely broken off from its base, someone used rope to tie the city-owned pole to a sign at Conrad’s, a nearby tire and vehicle repair shop.

“What if it falls down on someone’s car?” Rose said. “It’s supposed to be on that metal base right there, and it’s on the concrete. Oh my God, that’s unacceptable!”

Two blocks away, near East 19th and Chester, we found a broken light pole dangling from a rope that has been tied to a tree in front of Cleveland State University’s soccer field.

These are just two of several dangerous light poles 19 Investigates discovered on Chester, between East 17th and East 55th, and brought to the attention of Cleveland Public Power, the city’s municipally-owned electric company that is responsible for the street lights.

In some places where old light poles have been removed, there are rusty, jagged metal remnants jutting from city sidewalks.

“They should take action, this is not responsible,” one CSU employee told us, unimpressed by the makeshift rope and pulley system being used to keep the broken pole in front of Krenzler Field from falling onto pedestrians or vehicles driving down Chester.

“That should be solved as soon as possible, we never know with the winds and the rain,” he said.

A representative from the university told us they were looking into the matter.

Since 2018, Cleveland Public Power has been working to replace 61,000 old streetlights with brighter, energy-efficient LED fixtures to light the way to a safer city.

But there is nothing safe about this stretch of Chester - a stretch that the program has seemingly ignored, made evident by the lack of new LED lighting and the old poles left behind that are clearly a safety hazard.

On the north side of Chester between East 30th and East 33rd, there is an old light was replaced by a new LED. We know that because the pole is laying on the ground and has been for weeks, and it clearly shows that a new LED had been installed.

We don’t know if the pole fell because the base failed, or if someone drove into it and knocked it over. Either way, it’s dangerous.

At some point, bright yellow caution tape that says “Fire Line Do Not Cross” was tied from the fallen pole to a nearby fence, but it has since been ripped down.

Up and down Chester, we also found wires hanging out of light pole bases, as the metal panels either rusted out or were gone completely. There are also several bases of poles that had been removed but the bolts remained, and are clearly an obvious tripping hazard.

In a written statement sent to 19 Investigates on Thursday, a spokesperson for Cleveland Public Power said: “We would like to thank you for bringing these issues to our attention. We have investigated the steel poles along Chester Avenue and added the repairs and installations to our crew schedules. In areas where we found unsafe conditions we have marked them to keep the public safe, and these are a priority for repair.”

While these poles may not be hanging by a thread, they certainly should not be hanging on by a rope.

We called Conrad’s corporate office to see who, if anyone, allowed city workers to tie a broken street light to their sign with rope.

Due to some personnel changes on their management team, the company said they could not be sure if someone had actually, at one point, approved this. However, they did say that it is clearly not safe, right to the rusted, exposed base, and they planned to call Cleveland Public Power immediately to have it removed.

19 Investigates will continue to follow up and make sure these dangerous light poles along Chester Ave. are replaced or repaired.

CPP said Cleveland residents can report broken street lights to their 24-hour automated Street Light Outage hotline at 216-621-LITE (5483). The automated system provides a tracking number that allows you to track the progress of repairs.

Have you been dealing with broken street lights or fallen poles in your neighborhood? Give us a call at 216-250-1618 or send an email with photos to

‘That’s so dangerous’: Broken light poles held up with rope in downtown Cleveland

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