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The Street Lighting Retrofitting Revolution

Stephen Kelly, editor

The roadway entrance and walkway up to the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada is flanked by 'Sheridan' concrete poles (StressCrete Group) with K56 pendant lights (175-watt metal halide HID lamps) from King Luminaire. The ornamental spun concrete poles typify the light style of the 1920s and '30s.
Photo: StressCrete Group/King Luminaire


Street lighting is something many take for granted, unless that street light in front of your home goes out. Or you're visiting some big city and find yourself walking down a side street or in a park at night and realize how poorly illuminated the street or pathway is and how vulnerable you suddenly feel.

Lately, the most common news regarding street lighting is the number of cities and towns that are upgrading their street lighting. Many are opting to retrofit with LEDs, or with lamps from the high-intensity discharge (HID) family.

The LED-lighting startup Bridgelux, for instance, has just unveiled a deal with a Chevron Energy Solutions to finance the installation of LED lighting by city governments in California. Under the program, Chevron will upgrade street lights with LEDs from Bridgelux at no upfront cost to the cities. The idea is that, as LED street lights require about 50 percent less power and less maintenance than many older technology street lighting, cities can finance a retrofit installation with the savings garnered from switching to the more energy efficient lighting technology. Street lighting typically ranges from 10 to 40 percent of a municipality's energy costs.

Bridgelux has launched pilot programs in Livermore, Calif., where the company is headquartered, and in several other California cities (Dublin, Benicia and Solana Beach).

Brad Bullington, vp for corporate and market development at Bridgelux, notes there are 35 million street lights in the U.S., 70 percent of which use a standard form factor "cobra head" design from General Electric that could use the company's LED modules.

With street lighting retrofitting in mind, we thought to take a look at a number of lighting manufacturers and some communities across the nation that are upgrading their street lighting.

We'll be journeying across the country, from the Pacific shores in Southern California, over to Oak Park, Illinois, Naples, Fla., Arlington, Mass., and even crossing the border into Ontario to ... Niagara Falls.


Fallsview Casino at Niagara Falls, Ontario Rolls the Dice on HIDs

The $1 billion Fallsview Casino Resort complex in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada is built on a cliff overlooking Horseshoe Falls. Fallsview is the largest (2.5 million sq. ft.) and, if they do say so themselves, "most elegant gaming resort facility in Canada." The site has come a "long way baby," as at the turn-of-the 20th century it was once home to a hydro-distributing transformer station building of the Ontario Power Co.

The resort, which opened in June 2004, is the largest single investment ever made by the Ontario government in the Niagara area. Fallsview is owned by the Ontario government through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., however, it is operated by a five-company consortium.

The resort has a towering 30-story Belle Epoque style hotel with 374 guest rooms, 18 restaurants and a 1,500-seat theater. The resort was created by Terry Dougall and features stone and other natural materials. The building, notes the resort literature, was designed in accordance with Feng Shui prinicples.


LEDs for Pleasant District, Oak Park, Illinois

At the four-corner intersection of South Marion Street in the Pleasant District of Oak Park, Ill. is an X-shaped pole frame attached to four corner light poles, each with four 16-inch globes illuminated by 29-watt LEDs (4500K). The light over the center of the intersection is a 29-watt "1914" LED housed in a 16-inch globe. The lighting is by Sternberg, and has dimming controls. Brick streets have replaced deteriorated asphalt from South Marion to Pleasant Street.

Oak Park, Ill. (pop. 50,000) is 10 miles west of Chicago's Loop. December 1, 2011 marked the grand opening of an Oak Park streetscape project that began in June. The new streetscape area is now officially the "Pleasant District," which is adjacent to downtown Oak Park. It is one of three downtown districts. The streetscape now has wider sidewalks, new decorative streetlights (Sternberg Lighting), a brick street and freshly planted trees.

The $5.4 million dollar improvement on South Marion Street extends the upgrades the village made to North Marion Street in downtown Oak Park in 2007. Designed by Chicago-based planning and landscape architecture firm The Lakota Group, the streetscape builds upon the historical elements of Pleasant Street, Pleasant Home and Mills Park.
Complementing the design of North Marion Street, brick streets have replaced deteriorated asphalt running from South Marion to Pleasant Street.

Aging water and sewer lines were also construction. Project funds came from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing district.

"There is definitely an aura of excitement among residents, business owners, and patrons about the completion of the project," says Mary Jo Schuler, president of the Pleasant District Association and owner of the Marion Street Cheese Market. "Overall, the project went smoothly and it is a remarkable expression of teamwork between the village, the streetscape design committee, the contractors and the Pleasant District Association."


Naples, Florida Goes Metal, Halide, That Is

The Naples, Fla. Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funded and coordinated the installation of 128 new lampposts, with 156 lamps along 5th Avenue South. The lamps are 70-watt and 100-watt metal halides. The fixtures are the Sternberg 1914 Libertyville Series with a 31-inch diameter radial wave shade, acrylic teardrop lens. There are some twin fixtures, but most are single. The poles are tapered and fluted and have banner arms.

The Naples, Fla. Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funded and coordinated the installation of 128 new lampposts with 156 lamps along 5th Avenue South. Each lamp has a stylish 5th Avenue South medallion with black lettering on a gold background. Eight matching stop signs were also installed.

The project was substantially completed during the "off season," with minimal impact to businesses, which was remarkable, as new electrical lines went under both sides of the street and along the side streets to the alleyways. Citizen walkabouts with a lighting consultant determined just the right amount of lumens. The project is anticipated to come in under budget. New planter boxes were built at the intersection of 5th Avenue South and 6th Street South, and on both sides of 5th Avenue South at Sugden Plaza surrounding the bases of the royal palms to protect their root systems. The planter boxes were designed to be sturdy enough to sit on.

In many locations where larger shrubbery was removed and on the corners of intersections where there were formerly mulched flower beds, decorative pavers were laid and plumbed with a microdrip solar powered irrigation system that feeds the new flower pots. This reduces the manual watering needs and brings the plants closer to eye level. Groups involved in the success of the project included JRL Design, Naples (architect), Chuck Bentley, Bentley Electric (electrical contractor), Blue Water Engineering (electrical engineer) and Dave Rivera-Streets (traffic supervisor, city of Naples).


Historic Luminaires and LEDs: The Right Fit for Arlington, Mass.

Historically-inspired 'Serenade' glass acorn luminaires (Philips Lumec) were the choice for street lighting retrofit for Arlington, Mass. Mated with the company's 66-watt DSX LEDs ("LifeLED" optical system) and the RTA 400V 10-ft. poles has brought crisper light and superior light distribution to the streets and walkways than the older 130-watt technology. The luminaries have IES cutoff with "as low as one percent uplight," according to the manufacturer.

We're all aware of Arlington, Va., given it's home to Arlington National Cemetery, but you may not be familiar with Arlington, Mass. This Arlington (pop. 42,844) is in Middlesex County, about six miles northwest of Boston. Of course the entire area is rife with history. European colonist began settling here in 1635, but at that time they named the village Menotomy, an Algonquian word meaning "swift running water." The change to "Arlington" came about in 1867 to honor those interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Well, that was then. A city can't live in the past. It can retain a few monuments and historical buildings, but must continue to evolve to remain viable. Part of that modernizing influence is upgrading infrastructure. City officials wanted to upgrade the circa 1970s smoke globe refractor pedestrian-scale lighting on the main streetscapes with more efficient fixtures, yet maintain that "historic" feel. The historically-inspired 'Serenade' glass acorn (Philips Lumec) was the choice for Arlington, Mass., mated with DSX LEDs with the "LifeLED" optical system. The crisp white light emanating from the 66-watt LifeLED platform is a visual acuity enhancer compared to the old 130-watt lamps. The light distribution is also superior, which means fewer poles were required.

Of course the town is also enjoying tremendous energy savings with the lower wattage LEDs. The purported 15 years longevity of LEDs will be tested here, and wherever else they have been retrofitted, but should certainly outlive the older lamp technology and translate into real savings on the maintenance side.


Re-Imagining Del Mar Highlands Town Center

The Del Mar Highlands Town Center renovations include custom dual-Beacon outdoor lighting fixtures (TEKA Illumination). The 27-inch dia. copper shade has copper rings, brass spacers and 8.5-inch dia. cast bronze caps. The glass disk has a copper glass retainer. The lamps are 42-watt compact fluorescents with high-power factor electronic ballasts (120-volt). The 13-ft. 8-inch alloy aluminum-tubing poles are tapered.
Photo: Brett Drury

Del Mar, Calif. (pop. 4,161) is a small (1.8 square miles), well-healed community on the coast just north of San Diego. The area's prominent natural landscape is Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, home to about 7,000 Torrey pines, the rarest pine in North America. The only other population of Torrey pines, about 2,000, are on Santa Rosa Island about 175 miles northwest of the reserve.

Striking sandstone terraces arise dramatically from the beach here, and the smells of coastal sage and chaparral mix with the salt air. Gazing out on the rolling seas you're likely to see a pod of dolphins.

This story, however, is about the commercial side of Del Mar, the Del Mar Highlands Town Center on El Camino Real. The center, undergoing a two-year transformation, celebrated its grand opening Sept. 9-10, 2011. Consumer research revealed area shoppers wanted improved gathering places, more full service restaurants, more parking and improved traffic flow. Perkowitz+Ruth Architects and Placemaking Studio of P+R guided the transformation.

Del Mar Highlands worked closely with the community to re-imagine and upgrade the center, providing more family-oriented amenities, more intimate gathering areas and improved pedestrian access. Storefront facades were renovated, public spaced enhanced with seating areas for live performances, a state-of-the-art pop jet fountain, clock tower, covered escalators and 5,000 sq. ft. of additional shops. Signage, landscaping and lighting were important additions.


L.A.'s 1st Street Bridge's Retro Retrofit

1st Street Bridge in Los Angeles reopened Dec. 21, 2011 after almost a four-year closure for widening and adding a rail line. The city looked to ANP lighting to fabricate a custom period lantern. ANP's engineering team and in-house foundry created distinctive lanterns and pendants (150-watt high pressure sodium lamps) to match the Neo-Classical bridge architecture built between 1926 and 1928. Sodium vapor lamps are considered efficient, cause less light pollution than mercury-vapor lamps and supply good color rendering.

The 1st Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River was constructed from 1926 to 1928, part of the "City Beautiful" inspired by European civic architecture. The 1st Street Bridge's Neo-Classical design evinced that spirit. The chief engineer was Merrill Butler; the building contractor was Mittry Brothers Construction.

The bridge was declared a historic-cultural monument in 2008, about the time it closed for a four-year construction project to add two additional westbound lanes on the north side of the bridge and install Gold Line tracks to the Metrolink rail service. The bridge is a key route for thousands of commuters to downtown Los Angeles.


Pittsburgh's "3Rivers" Pedestrian Lighting

The lighting at Point State Park in Pittsburgh is indirect pedestrian fixtures with single 100-watt metal halide lamps (3000 K). The oval-shaped pole ('3Rivers' by Forms+Surfaces) is heavy-wall extruded aluminum with 6" x 9" x 166" dimensions. The oval reflective panel is 29" x 42" x .5"-thick aluminum with a drip edge and bottom surface finished in white for maximum reflectivity. The reflective panel is supported by an adjustable cast aluminum arm with a standard angle of 15? above horizontal. The overall fixture height is 16.25 feet.

Forms+Surfaces teamed with specifiers on Pittsburgh's dowtown's Point State Park renovation to develop a new pedestrian fixture called "3Rivers," as the National Historic Landmark park is at the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. The park's defining feature is its100-foot tall fountain.

The "3Rivers" fixture features all-aluminum construction and powdercoat finishes. The oval-shaped pole is heavy-wall extruded aluminum.

The oval reflective is also aluminum with an integral drip edge and bottom surface finished in white for maximum reflectivity.

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December 10, 2019, 7:18 pm PDT

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