When Seattle City Light started converting streetlights to LEDs around its service area, the focus was on non-arterial streets because of concerns about how the new lights would handle the needs of major streets.
(WSB photo from 2010: Side-by-side residential test of LED vs. sodium streetlights)
Now, after testing, City Light is getting ready to start swapping out arterial lights too. We talked with SCL’s Scott Thomsen after we spotted a published notice about the call for bids.
He says SCL expects to award the contract for fixtures on August 26th, getting the components sometime in October, and beginning installation shortly thereafter. According to Thomsen, they hope to get as many as 1,800 LED streetlights installed on arterials by year’s end, before the weather gets too bad.
That will include 88 lights in the White Center Business District, by request of the WC Chamber of Commerce, he said, but otherwise, they will be focusing on a northern area, with “selected lights chosen by SDOT,” strategic placements with easy access while the weather remains workable. After that, the installation pattern will be much the same as the one that’s been followed for residential-street LEDs, going north first before heading south. And, Thomsen adds, they’re still finishing up the residential installations.
It’ll take up to six years to get all the arterial lights/fixtures replaced. The advantages, in case you were wondering, include that they last three times as long, use less electricity, waste less light on non-targeted areas (which means less “light pollution”), have a better “depth of field” so that more objects are illuminated, and show colors more truly, particularly helpful for police trying to get accurate descriptions of vehicles, suspects, etc.