We interrupt our normal flu pandemic reporting for this coverage of a less serious but still quality-of-life affecting topic: the new LED streetlights being tested by the city at 10 different locations across Capitol Hill.
Neighbor John writes:
Maybe you’ve posted about it, but the city recently installed l.e.d. streetlights along the 1100 block of 16th ave. e. (and some other spots, I’ve heard) to test them vs. the older sodium lights. On our block, neighbors are flipping out about how strange the newer lights are. The funny thing is that the city didn’t let people know about the lights ahead of time. I learned about it from the guy in the truck installing them. Maybe you’ve heard more about what they’re up to and what the benefits of the new lights might be.
I talked again to Mike Eagan, spokesperson for Seattle City & Light. He provided information when we came calling looking for details on another area where the city is testing these new streetlights on Capitol Hill at Aloha and 10th.
Here’s what he told us then about the potential value of LED streetlights:
LEDs have the potential to lower energy use and maintenance costs, but we want to see how they work in the field before making any decisions. Our hope is that they will align closely with our overall conservation goals as captured in our Five Year Conservation Action Plan. However, any additional efforts to expand the LED project will depend on available budgets.
The city has more to say about the pluses of going LED in this press release. Here’s the map of Capitol Hill locations that either already have the new lights or will get them soon.
So, back to neighbor John and some of people on 16th Ave who may be, as John put it, ‘flipping out.’ I decided against knocking on doors in the area — hopefully a 16th rep or two will chime in here in comments — but I did ask Eagan why there wasn’t more notice and what his department was planning to do to gather feedback.
Eagan said the city did not flyer or send out mail notices of the tests but did issue a media release. “We want comments from the community,” Eagan said, adding that a consultant is being hired by the Department of Energy who is helping to run this trial. “We’re still working on the survey,” Eagan said. “It will be available online and taken to the doors.”
In the meantime, you can contact City Light customer service with any issues you’d like addressed in a shorter timeframe. That number is (206) 684-3000.
Eagan said the trial will continue for several weeks with a goal of delivering a final report to City Light brass by the end of July. You might notice different lighting at different locations as the city is testing bulbs from six different manufacturers.