WEST TOWN — Street lighting is about to look a lot different in West Town.
Street lights in portions of Wicker Park, Noble Square and East Ukrainian Village will be switched over from High Pressure Sodium lighting (the traditional orange glow) to LED technology over the next few weeks as part of Chicago’s Smart Lighting project.
Installation boundaries are North Avenue to the north, Kinzie Street to the south, Damen Avenue to the west and Racine Avenue to the east, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) told residents in an email newsletter.
“The goal of the Smart Lighting Program is to install better-quality, more reliable LED light fixtures on streets, alleys and viaducts to increase safety, reduce energy costs and improve the overall environment,” Hopkins said.
As crews install lights, temporary parking restrictions may be required, Hopkins said, so keep an eye out for “No Parking” signs in the coming weeks.
Each light fixture replacement takes about 15 minutes. It takes crews about one hour to complete each block.
“Please note that the installation process may cause temporary lighting disruptions, with some lights being out overnight or on during the day,” Hopkins said.
In total, Chicago is upgrading more than 270,000 street lights. Massachusetts-based Ameresco is the lead vendor on the $160 million project. The LEDs have been promoted as more energy efficient, and the Lighting Management System is intended to improve reliability, including the ability to target repairs more quickly.
The program has not been without its detractors, the chief complaint being that the LED bulbs’ white light is excessively bright.
The city’s response has been to focus lighting downward onto streets and sidewalks to minimize glare into homes. The chosen LEDs are also considerably “softer” than those installed in other cities, including Seattle and New York.
Residents can check the Chicago Smart Lighting website for an update on which areas are slated next for conversion.
To view the Wicker Park-West Town installation in greater detail, or to see what areas will receive Smart Lighting in the near future, check out this interactive Smart Light Installation Map.
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