Richmond, California (EastBayDaily) — Richmond is turning up the lights and installing Light Emitting Diode (LED) street light upgrades along some of the City’s busiest streets. The project is funded by a low-interest loan from the California Energy Commission that will be repaid by the energy cost savings and provides more illumination for City streets. The city-owned lights in the downtown and public safety priority areas are among the first to be upgraded including Macdonald and Barrett Avenues, Cutting Boulevard, 23rd Street, San Pablo Avenue and portions of the Richmond Parkway.
“This is a fantastic project that will help improve the health and environment of the community,” said Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. “We’re on track to make City street lights more energy efficient and provide better street lighting to encourage walking, bicycling and safer streets in general.”
The project is estimated to cost $900,000 to implement and will generate over $1,066,000 of savings on the City’s electric bills over the 13-year term of the loan. In addition to the electric bill savings, the LED street lights are expected to reduce maintenance costs because of their longer life expectancy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 250,000 pounds annually. The project was initiated and implemented by the Environmental Initiatives Division of the City Manager's Office in conjunction with the Engineering Services Department.
The City’s 5-Year Strategic Business Plan calls for modernizing all street light infrastructure and replacing all street lights with energy-efficient and brighter LED technology. The City is currently replacing the remaining two antiquated series street light systems in May Valley and Park View Neighborhoods financed through a subsidized energy efficiency bond.
“Upgrading street lights is a top priority for the City because of all the community co-benefits”, said Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay. “We’re aiming to make our neighborhoods and business districts more inviting, reduce operating costs and improve the quality of life for residents.”
The City plans to complete the street light project by early December 2012 and continue with additional LED street light upgrades in 2013 with another loan from the California Energy Commission. The City is requesting that motorists observe all traffic and parking signage and drive safely in construction areas.