Ballard streetlights to be replaced with LED lights

Ballard’s traditional high-pressure sodium streetlights will be replaced with light emitting diode (LED) lights later this year. Seattle City Light says the LED lights will last longer and use about half the energy as those currently in use.

At an event last evening, crews showed off the difference between the current lights and the LED. Although the LED lights come in a range of colors, Seattle has chosen a white light similar to moonlight. You can see the difference in light lighting in the video on the West Seattle Blog.

Initially, 5,000 LED lights will be installed on residential streets in Ballard, Fremont, South Greenlake, Eastlake, and the University District, followed by a city-wide transition over the next five years. Seattle City Light conducted pilot projects on Capitol Hill and in South Park, “The approval rate in Capitol Hill was 85 percent. Many positive comments have been received from South Park while survey results are being calculated. The U.S. Department of Energy has received similar responses in its satisfaction surveys about LED streetlights across the country,” a fact sheet handed out at the event states.

The first phase of the project is being funded by $1 million in federal stimulus package money and $1.5 million from City Light.

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The founders of My Ballard

17 thoughts to “Ballard streetlights to be replaced with LED lights”

  1. I'm very, very happy about this change. Not only are the lights going to cut back on energy bills, but they greatly increase visibility. I have poor night vision, even when wearing my glasses, so the lights will be a big help when driving at night.

    I've heard a rumor that maintenance costs could be the one pitfall of this plan, some citing that costs to replace/repair an LED fixture are much higher than a sodium fixture. Seeing as how I'm under the impression that LEDs last much longer, is there any reasoning behind this argument?

  2. I've seen these in other neighborhood and they suck (if these are the same as the lights right off of Broadway). I have perfect vision naturally and these make it difficult for me to see there so damn bright. Its like all the brand new cars that are coming our with LEDs, I swear they all have there brights on and I can almost guarantee that I'll set in an accident someday from being blinded and hitting something.

    I hope the cost really does make a difference to justify these.

  3. I hope this means they don't shut themselves off as often. That is SUCH a pain, except when we're trying to see the 4th of July fireworks. Then, we're thrilled when they go out!

  4. According to my math, City Light is spending $300/bulb of its own money. At that price, it's hard to believe that the LED bulbs will pay for themselves anytime soon. Why not use the money to prevent some of the recent rate hikes instead?

  5. Thats nice but, I'm still waiting for power lines to be run underground so this city won't have that third world electrical grid look .

  6. Hey, for once Ballard gets something first. We can lord this over our neighboring hoods when they brag over their rail connections, streetcars, major park expansions, and neighborhood plan revamps.

    “Oh, yeah?” we will say, “Well, who's got the LED lights? Huh? HUH?!”

    Then we will begin sobbing softly.

  7. Ha. The lights in the area I used to live / walk barely came on when needed. They were motion activated or something that made them stay dormant when a human walked under them but would come up and stay on when a car drove by. I find this change intensely amusing.

  8. LovrienS, your note about the longer life of LEDs is right on target and significantly reduces the cost of maintaining LED streetlights. Our current lights last about four years before they need to be replaced. The LED lights being installed are expected to last at least 12 years. They also use 40 to 50 percent less energy. We estimate the savings from energy efficiency and reduced maintenance will be about $2.4 million a year once all 40,000 LED streetlights are installed for residential neighborhoods.

    Scott Thomsen
    Seattle City Light

  9. I wonder how Seattle City Light will be rolling these changes out. Perhaps they could prioritize the blocks that have registered sex offenders living on them. In terms of public safety, there is currently no communication between SPD and Seattle City Light regarding street lights on blocks where registered sex offenders reside. Unfortunately, that is a large number of blocks, but it would be a good place to start.

  10. They did 59th St sometime in the last week and you can definitely notice a difference, especially when you look down the street and see them lit up all the way down. The color is a little white, but it feels safer when walking around at night, especially with the days getting shorter.

  11. Thanks for nothing, City Light. If you want to save money: Use less Electricity! Don’t replace current lights with ones that are substantially brighter–regardless of efficiency you’re spending more than you have to! To boot: those who live next to the lights are going to have to suffer a change they didn’t ask for–loss of darkness.

  12. Well, because of LED lights are really the best optional thing. And the LED lights really use less power. And it’s out put is really awesome. This type of light has really longer lifespan.

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