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April 9, 2019

City Light updating downtown streetlights

Photo provided by Evluma [enlarge]
This new LED globe streetlight was installed as part of the City Light pilot program.

Seattle City Light on April 1 began work to convert all globe streetlights in the downtown core to energy-efficient LED fixtures with the historic globe design.

By the end of 2019, it plans to have switched out 2,281 high-pressure sodium lights in an area that generally runs from Sodo to Olive Way and west of Interstate 5. That includes Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, the Central Waterfront and the Chinatown-International District.

In a press release, City Light said the $3.1 million project is expected to save about 536,683 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually — enough energy to power more than 51 homes for a year. The new fixtures will also reduce carbon emissions and improve pedestrian and traffic safety while maintaining the character of downtown's historic neighborhoods, City Light said.

In 2018, the public electric utility piloted a streetlight program in the Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market neighborhoods. Two LED luminaires were evaluated for their appearance, historical integrity and light levels. Using community input, City Light selected an LED fixture that incorporates the historic globe design, it said.

The utility's contractor, Potelco, is working in Seattle's arterial roadways from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., Mondays through Thursdays. City Light said minimal traffic and parking impacts are expected in the work area.

The utility is recycling the bulbs, transformers and metal of the old fixtures.

It said those fixtures are showing their age and replacement parts are unavailable while the new fixtures provide a uniform material standard and require less maintenance and replacement. HPS lamps can last a couple years, City Light said, while LEDs have a 10-year warranty.

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