Seattle City Light crews have started installing LED streetlights in Belltown and the Central District as a pilot project to test the energy-efficient lighting for use on arterial streets.
In Belltown, LEDs are being installed on 2nd Avenue between Wall and Lenora streets. In the Central District, the streetlights are being replaced on Cherry Street between 23rd Avenue East and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.
Crews expect to complete the Belltown and Central District installations Wednesday.
Earlier pilots in Capitol Hill, South Park and West Seattle found wide support for the use of LED streetlighting in residential areas. City Light is now installing 5,000 LED streetlights in residential areas between the Ship Canal and 65th Street. During the next five years, a total of 40,000 LED streetlights will be installed in residential areas.
LED streetlights use about 40 percent less electricity than the high-pressure sodium lights currently in use. They also last three times longer, reducing maintenance costs. City Light expects the new lights to save $2.4 million per year once all 40,000 are installed.
Another benefit is the improved quality of the light.
The LED lights City Light is installing produce a light that is similar to moonlight. Colors appear in their natural state, eliminating color distortion. That’s a big change from the amber glow of our current high-pressure sodium lights, which makes it difficult to distinguish between white, silver, tan or light blue and colors like green and red tend to look muddy.
The whiter light also creates greater depth of field for a person’s vision and makes it easier to spot small objects in the roadway.
Those public safety benefits are the big reasons Seattle Police support the use of LED streetlights.