Goodnight Detroit

It is no fun watching a city die:

Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.

As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can’t afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing’s plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year.

The good news? More and more of the city will be available for crews shooting apocalyptic-themed shows and movies. The bad news? Well, it may be difficult to tell the movies apart from the real thing:

A single, broken streetlight on the northeast side brings fear to Cynthia Perry, 55. It hasn’t worked for six years, Perry said in an interview on the darkened sidewalk where she walks from her garage to her house entrance.

“I’m afraid coming in at night,” she said. “I’m not going to seclude myself in the house and never go anywhere.”

Right. ‘Cause everyone knows what happens if you just lock yourself in the house–and none of it is good.

Joking aside, this move on the part of the city is about much more than streetlights–it’s about giving up. How much longer will it be before Detroit is a modern-day Gotham?