Jodie S. Lane Public Safety Foundation

On January 16th, 2004 Jodie Lane was electrocuted on 11th Street and 1st Avenue in New York City as a result of stray voltage. In struggling to make sense of this tragedy, Jodie’s family determined three objectives they wanted to achieve in her memory:

  • A monetary settlement with Con Edison, the power utility responsible for Jodie’s death;
  • A scholarship in Jodie’s name, as she was pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology;
  • Improved public safety in New York City, Jodie’s home and the city she adored.

Through eleven months of negotiations with Con Edison, Roger Lane, Jodie’s father, and his close friend Stanley Witkow, set the framework for achieving these objectives.

Jodie was a doctoral student at Teachers College-Columbia University, pursuing her lifelong goal of obtaining a PhD in clinical psychology to work with children and adolescents. Since Jodie’s pursuit of a PhD was cut short, her family wanted to ensure that other students could achieve her dream with the help of a scholarship named in her honor. The Lane family created a $1 million dollar scholarship program at Teachers College-Columbia as part of the settlement with Con Edison. This scholarship program has helped dozens of clinical psychology PhD students realize their goals since 2006.

Besides her passion to work with children, Jodie treasured the diversity, energy, and vibrancy of New York City. In memory of her love and enthusiasm for the city, Mr. Lane, along with Jodie's mother, Karen, her brother, Jacob, and family friend, Stanley Witkow, founded the Jodie S. Lane Public Safety Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to improve pedestrian safety and prevent people and pets from being electrocuted, shocked or injured as a result of stray voltage. As part of the settlement reached with Con Edison, the Lane family, and in turn the Jodie S. Lane Public Safety Foundation, has access to Con Edison’s database of all stray voltage detected throughout New York City. This data has been instrumental in the Foundation’s advocacy. All of the information and analysis on this site, along with the recommendations for improving public safety, are derived from this data.

The Jodie S. Lane Public Safety Foundation has worked tirelessly to drive Con Edison and the New York State Public Service Commission to improve safety on the streets and sidewalks of New York. Some significant achievements of the Foundation are:

  • Established a panel of experts and met with Con Edison twice each year to review their plans and actions taken to reduce the number of energized objects;
  • Created the "Jodie S. Lane Stray Voltage Detection, Mitigation & Prevention Conference", an annual meeting attended by power utilities and regulators from around the country to discuss stray voltage detection programs;
  • Lobbied and advocated with Con Edison and the Public Service Commission to increase the frequency of mobile scanning for energized objects. As a result of this pressure, Con Edison will perform twelve mobile scans for stray voltage in all five Boroughs of New York City in 2009. Prior to Jodie’s death in 2004 there were no scans and no such detection program existed. This increased number of scans has materially improved pedestrian safety in New York City and needs to continue. For more details on these scans, what has been found and an analysis of the effectiveness of increased mobile scanning click here.

Please explore this site to learn more about stray voltage and the risk to pedestrians, facts about what has been found, where stray voltage is near you and what you can do to advocate for improved safety.