Followup: What’s wrong with the West Seattle Bridge lights

Quick followup on last Friday’s report about that dark stretch of the bridge: Seattle City Light says it’s figured out part of the reason why a stretch of new LED lights on the west side of the West Seattle Bridge went out. SCL spokesperson Scott Thomsen tells WSB, “Our crews discovered that a breaker is tripping, cutting power to the lights. They are trying to determine the underlying cause for that problem, which is related to the power supply, not the lights.” More info once that’s figured out.

15 Replies to "Followup: What's wrong with the West Seattle Bridge lights"

  • wscommuter January 13, 2014 (5:44 pm)

    My snarky gripe: I hate (can’t think of a stronger word) the new LED bulbs the city is sticking in these lights and our neighborhood lights. Instead of the soft yellow-ish glow of the old incandescent bulbs, we get the harsh white/blue light that is so ugly. I understand the energy savings – all for that. But puhleeeeeeeze … find equivalent bulbs that aren’t so hideous. We live half the year in darkness … couldn’t we have some aesthetic concern addressed in city light poles too?

  • vanilla gorilla January 13, 2014 (7:13 pm)

    good now they should go look at the one on roxbury and 15th in front of texaco!! they installed it a few months back and the thing flashes like a strobe light every night.. its very distracting driving through that intersection .. perhaps they did it on purpose to hypnotize the thugs on the corner??

  • Mark January 13, 2014 (7:39 pm)

    So I go to Home Depot, buy some new super energy efficient light bulbs, go home and put them in and wow. Cold, icy, and painful to add to our depressing time of year.

    I go back, return them, then realize that they actually have a display to educate people like me to not make the mistake I just made.

    I agree with WsC. Can we return them and get the warmer light????

  • West Seattle Hipster January 13, 2014 (7:46 pm)

    Ah, cold light bulbs, such complicated problems we have these days………………


    Glad we have our priorities in place.

  • All my life WS January 13, 2014 (7:51 pm)

    We actually love the way the bridge lights up now. It is far easier to see the cars and the road. I do agree that for a dark and wet city, it would be nice to have something with a warmer glow, however I will lean on the side of safety first.

  • Kennedy January 13, 2014 (8:20 pm)

    I like the new bridge lights. It makes the bridge lighter and safer. Also it makes it look more modern which is always a good thing.

  • redblack January 13, 2014 (9:45 pm)

    wscommuter: the old lights are sodium vapor lamps, not incandescent. and – big surprise here – i find them hideous.
    personally, i can’t wait until the LED’s are installed on fauntleroy, and i hope that the port has a plan to replace their lighting on harbor island, as well.
    enough with the ugly orange pallor of the sodium lamps already. seattle will look so much nicer from approaching aircraft when the whole city is lit with LED’s. and, like kennedy, i think the new lights are brighter and safer.

  • Andros January 13, 2014 (9:59 pm)

    I love the new LED lights too. I know they don’t have the same color, but there throw and spread on the bridge is great, and it really helps to have that efficient and extra light at night. Plus they save a huge amount of energy.

    Change is good, folks.

  • David January 13, 2014 (10:37 pm)

    Agree. NOTHING is worse than those horrible ugly “hard yellow” lights. They give you totally off colors and ugly pallor to everything. I understand a bit of “nostalgia” for the way things used to be, but from a lighting/artistic point of view sodium lights are the WORST nasty things. True SOME of the new LED lights be be harsh on the blue tone (I like better than yellow, but that’s a personal choice). For home use, there are now many many bulbs that are coated and designed to produce more ‘traditional’ slight yellow or even full spectrum (white) light. It’s absolutely true a slight yellow is a nice ‘warm’ effect that most folks like better than even full spectrum white. It’s a matter of choice. Just take the time to find a bulb you like. Enjoy paying 10x less electricity and not replacing your bulbs ever 2 months. :)

  • TiAg E92 January 14, 2014 (6:09 am)

    Not only do these LEDs save energy but they also cut down on maintenance significantly. Additionally it makes it easier to spot color more accurately. Try identifying the color of a vehicle accurately when an orange glow is distorting it.

  • sc January 14, 2014 (8:19 am)

    Came home last night to West Seattle and as I drove on 1st Ave S noticed all the Seahawks billboards along the road. It made me smile all the way! Then as I got onto the West Seattle bridge saw that the new street lights were out on the north side.
    Guess the circuit breaker tripped again!
    I like the new lights, you can see the road ahead completely!

  • trickycoolj January 14, 2014 (9:35 am)

    Curious if anyone knows if LEDs are better for the light polution situation or if they’re about the same as the orange sodium lamps? It sure would be nice to not have orange skies at night.

    For home LEDs I really like the Feit Electric brand that’s been rebated by SCL at Costco. They have warm white lights that throw about the same color as the CFLs they’re replacing. The BR30 floods are especially nice since they don’t require as much warming up (instant on) and are about $13 a piece… I’m so thrilled my builder put about 14 of them inside my house. I buy 2 each trip to Costco.

  • AG January 14, 2014 (10:24 am)

    I don’t know enough about lighting to determine the answer to my observation, but the other night as we carpooled home in the dark, my spouse and I were noting how much darker the streets are than what we remember as kids. I recall playing outside and it being fairly bright with the streetlights, and when learning to drive in the mid-80’s, the street lights were bright enough that I didn’t have any trouble seeing pedestrians and other hazards.

    Is it my 40+ year-old eyes? Are the lights significantly darker? (I recall the “light pollution” conversations ~20 years ago) Is it just “Seattle Darkness” that I’m noticing? Pedestrians dressing differently? My own perception? Or a combination of the above? It’s getting to where I detest driving at night because I feel like I can’t see anything, as it’s all too dark and I don’t feel safe. But it’s just as bad if I’m walking, so I don’t buy that it’s ONLY my night-driving vision.

    If someone with facts could weigh in, I’d love to hear your take. Engineers, lighting technicians, astronauts, I don’t care. I have a kajillion opinions of my own, but I’d love to hear some fact.

  • bolo January 14, 2014 (11:32 am)

    AG, here are some vision facts for you:

    Aging pupils don’t dilate as much, which reduces the amount of light entering the eye at night.

    Aging lens less clear than before, which scatters the light entering the eye. More glare and difficulty perceiving brightness differences.

  • Scott Thomsen, Seattle City Light January 14, 2014 (1:43 pm)

    To answer trickycoolj’s question, the LED streetlights dramatically reduce light pollution because they do not use the curved drop lens of the old high-pressure sodium lights, which bend — or refract — some of the light upward into the sky.

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