9 Things to Consider Before Changing Your Street Lights

Posted on Monday, July 10th, 2023 by
In Roadway, tagged in

Great street lighting design increases safety and improves aesthetics in neighborhoods, parks, on roadways, and at businesses. However, staying on top of the health of your system and knowing how to best add new facilities can be overwhelming.

When assessing existing systems, we suggest looking at the structural integrity of your current poles and evaluating if they are structurally sound. It’s also important to see if converting to LED fixtures could offer cost savings. Many of our clients have been making this change and are seeing improved results for their communities.

For new street light installations, determining the pole placement and number of lighting controllers is key. In many cases, we’ve found that more LED fixtures can be placed on a controller.

Beyond these factors, there are number of items that impact our team’s approach to a lighting project. Here are the most common to consider when creating a plan.

  1. Look at the pedestrian and traffic levels for the area. Then, let the roadway type influence which solutions are selected. What is chosen for an arterial roadway should vary when compared to a neighborhood street.
  2. Determine if poles should be placed on one side of the roadway or both. For example, an overhead or buried utility, trees, or limited right-of-way (ROW) might constrain placement options.
  3. For areas with traffic signals, decide if the lights should be integrated into the mast arm or not.
  4. Evaluate the site to see how right-of-way, close buildings, and trees might affect the design plan.
  5. If a pathway parallels a roadway, determine if the design should incorporate pedestrian scale lighting. This could include a pedestrian light mounted on a street light pole or a separate pedestrian light pole.
  6. Identify how important aesthetics are to the project. If decorative elements are desired, there are a variety of options. Poles can allow for hanging baskets, banner arms for signs, or electrical outlets for Christmas lights. Each of these elements could be governing factors in the design.
  7. Decide early in the design process the type of light source you will use. Most current designs are using LED but there can be reasons to use metal halide or high pressure sodium. Also, it is important to consider the color temperature (shade) of the light fixture.
  8. It’s critical to choose fixtures that work well for the area. Designs will differ from a residential to a commercial area. Determine how much light spill is acceptable and select the appropriate fixture that keep light within the street.
  9. Understand the stakeholders’ expectations. For example, some communities are asking for design plans that don’t impact the dark sky. Other projects may be looking for a greater amount of light. Know your audience and create a plan that’s best for them.
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