Back when Seattle City Light started converting streetlights to LEDs, the conversion was initially planned for residential streets only.
Then, the utility decided in 2013 that it would be OK to convert arterial streetlights too, and while the subsequent work began in the north part of the city, this summer, that conversion has been moving full speed ahead in West Seattle.
This past week, we noticed a crew working late at night on the streetlights along the two arterials closest to WSB HQ, California SW and SW Thistle, which are now fully switched over in the Gatewood/Fauntleroy area. So we checked in with Seattle City Light on the conversion status, as well as the reason work was being done at night (while we’re still working at 11:45 pm, seemed a little noisy for residents who sleep more “normal” hours).
Spokesperson Scott Thomsen explained, “Crews have been working nights since June 1. This shift change was done mostly due to Metro trolley routes and to avoid disruption to busy arterial streets when they are most busy and for crew safety.” The night work is expected to end within the next month or so; in the meantime, he says, crews are reminded to be mindful of the noise, but while the “tool they use to loosen and tighten bolts does make a ‘ratcheting’ type noise” – this was the observation made in our note asing about it – “The crew will typically spend less than 10 minutes at any given light.”
Thomsen wasn’t sure how much longer the work, now in the service area south of SW Brandon, will be going on in West Seattle; though we do a fair amount of night driving around West Seattle, we haven’t seen the crews since the work close to our neighborhood around midweek. He says, “The scheduling estimates are not that specific since the crews work in rows across the service territory.”
Around the city: “A little more than 16,000 arterial lights have been converted to LED and our contractor will continue with conversions through December. In 2017, we should complete the arterial conversions.” Checking our archives, this appears to be an acceleration, as it was just last year that West Seattle arterial conversions weren’t expected to start BEFORE 2017.
Also from the archives: As this WSB story from 2010 shows, West Seattle was a test area when the city started planning the non-arterial streetlight conversions.
BACKSTORY: More background on the LED streetlight program can be found on this page of City Light’s site.)