South San Francisco, CA August 4, 2016 City of SSF
Mayor Mark Addiego, along with members of the South San Francisco Public Works Department, traveled to Davis, California to meet with the City of Davis’ Sustainability Program Manager and the Director of the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) to discuss LED street lighting.
“It’s important for our residents to know that we are listening to them regarding their street lighting concerns and that we are actively gathering information,” said Mayor Mark Addiego. “Going there and seeing the lights at night gave us valuable insight and information for consideration when it comes to improving our LED street lighting.”
The City of Davis was one of the first cities to replace their 4000 Kelvin (K) street lights for warmer 2700K LED street lights. The City of Davis lowered the wattage of street lights in residential areas from 27-watt to 19-watt to improve lighting effectiveness.
The recent visit to Davis included an evening tour of a residential area with the 19-watt, 2700K street lights, and a new residential development with lighting design based on lessons learned from the Davis citywide LED replacement. A few of those lessons, according to Davis city officials, included an understanding that higher wattage LED lights can increase contrast, accentuate shadows, and lead to a perception of lower overall lighting levels.
South San Francisco Public Works Director, Brian McMinn, also said there are good reasons to go with lower wattage lighting, stating “there are physiological and psychological effects lighting has on our perception of lighting at night, and the lower wattage is seen as more effective.”
The City is currently considering wider distribution patterns, warmer color LEDs, and alternative wattage fixtures. For questions or comments regarding the street lighting in South San Francisco, please call (650) 877-8550 or email SSFStreetLights@ssf.net.
To read about neighbors input on this issue on Everything South City please CLICK HERE
When Public Works met with us in March, Dave Bockhaus informed us that the lighting contractors recomended using lower wattage lights for the SSF LED project. He was quite proud that Public Works ignored that advice and insisted on higher wattage lights, stating: “Imagine if we had gone with lower wattage lights! (given all the complaints about lack of coverage with the LEDs). Now, they went to Davis only to get the same advice that they ignored in the first place. Unfortunately, they already invested the better part of a Million Tax Dollars in higher wattage lights!
The lower wattage will reduce the contrast between the light and dark areas and the glare some people object to, but will not improve the lighting in the dark spots. The fact is, LED technology in 2014 was not suitable for the old infrustrure (widely spaced poles) of SSF, and still may not be. However, taking out 38Watt LEDs and replacing them with lower wattage LEDs (at approximately $300 per light) is certainly NOT the answer.
Public Works needs to retain lighting professionals who will look at the situation in SSF (not Davis) and LISTEN to their recommendations. There may be no good solutions until LED technology advances or we bite the bullet and install more infrastructure.
At the March meeting, Public Works also mentioned porch lights as a possible solution. I was sceptical until I Discovered a LED porch light with a motion sensor that is very effective in lighting the walkway, sidewalk and street. If most of the homes had one, they would illuminate the sidewalk as a person walked down the block, and when anyone pulled up in a car (i.e.,burglars). I’ve discussed it with Public Works and they are putting together a pilot program. This may be the best/most cost effective way to fix this problem the City has created.
Hooray! I am thrilled that the Powers That Be are finally listening to reason and acting on my advice.
Thank you Mayor Addiego and Director McMinn. Hopefully you have returned with the name of a Bay Area exterior lighting professional to come on board and help us design a plan that works for each neighborhood lighting variation.
Each of our City’s neighborhoods have a different requirement for streetlighting based upon the spacing of the poles, the topography of the streets (flat or hilly), the age of the development, etc. A professional lighting designer will give us the best options for each variation. They will be on the cutting edge of the lighting products that are available to meet our needs at the best possible cost and monthly electricity use. They will more than pay for themselves in savings.
Remember: What you saw at Davis was done several years ago. Advances in lighting technology happen at lightning speed these days. And, while the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis IS cutting edge, they don’t provide lighting design services to cities (to my knowledge). Instead, they are a research facility, helping all lighting professionals by testing products for us.
You’ve taken a step in the right direction. Please continue. We are watching and waiting.