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Brighter, more efficient LED streetlights being installed on Green Lake streets

What do you think? (6 Comments) July 15, 2011 at 1:28PM

New LED streetlights are being installed on residential streets in the north Seattle area, including Green Lake.

This is the second phase of Seattle City Light‘s installation of LED streetlights. Last year, 6,000 were installed between the Ship Canal and North 65th St. City Light is now installing 12,000 more from N 65th St to the northern border of City Light’s service territory [PDF map].

The new streetlights are brighter and more efficient than traditional lights. “The feedback from neighborhoods has been overwhelmingly positive,” Councilmember Bruce Harrell said in a press release. “The ‘feel’ of the neighborhood has improved with a brighter ambiance and public safety safeguards have increased.”

As the Chair of the Energy, Technology and Civil Rights City Council Committee and Vice Chair of Utilities and Neighborhoods, Harrell is responsible for oversight of Seattle City Light. Speaking about the new lights at Wednesday’s Green Lake Community Council meeting, he told the group that his father worked for Seattle City Light. “Growing up,” he said, laughing, “we really felt it, if you know what I mean, when we didn’t turn out the lights after leaving the room!”

That spirit of efficiency and fiscal discipline carries through in his work today, Harrell said. Compared to traditional lights, LED streetlights are cost-efficient, reducing energy and maintenance costs and providing more reliable lighting. Once all Seattle streetlights are converted, Harrell says, the city’s savings will reach $2.4 million per year.

Councilmember Bruce Harrell speaks about LED lights at Wednesday's Green Lake Community Council meeting

The lights also enhance safety, according to Harrell. At Wednesday’s meeting, he gave one example: traditional lights, he said, impede correct color identification, making it difficult for witnesses to accurately report on the color of vehicles involved in crime. Objects under LED streetlights, on the other hand, are seen in a truer light.

On Tuesday (July 12, 2011), Councilmember Harrell and Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco held an outdoor press conference in north Green Lake, at N 79th St and Stone Ave N, about the LED streetlight installations. Video of the press conference has been made available via the Seattle Channel:



For more information about LED streetlights, contact Councilmember Bruce Harrell at bruce.harrell [at]

6 Responses to “Brighter, more efficient LED streetlights being installed on Green Lake streets”

  1. angeline says:

    You can come see them in Fremont. Maybe safety is enhanced, and definitely you can see better at night. But the color of the light is ugly, ugly, ugly. I think in residential areas they should have gone with an slightly yellower-tinged LED (they can be had in virtually any color) and saved the super bright blue-white lights for arterials and business areas. I’m glad they save energy and money, but that is all I like about them.

    • Jw_photo says:

       I agree with all of the complaints mentioned in the string.  It seems to me that the ‘overwhelmingly positive feedback’ that council member Harrell speaks of is a crock.

  2. chickadee says:

    They. Are. Hideous!

    And I agree, the soulless blue glower is not appropriate for residential streets. I can read by the one outside my bedroom window, unfortunately.

    They also cause haloes on contact lenses, give a milky haze to any car windshield with dust on it, and are too bright to even tell whether it’s raining at night by looking outside — the glare obliterates it. The savings aspect is understandable, but surely there’s a way to do it without making the whole city look like one big Wal-Mart parking lot.

  3. horseknuckle says:

    I have to admit, I hated the new LED lights when they were first installed right outside my bedroom window.  I also thought they cast a light that looked exactly like the light from another car’s headlights.  But now, I guess I’ve gotten used to them, because I don’t even notice them any longer.  Either they have ruined my eyesight, or I’ve just become numb to their glare. 

    I have wondered, however, what kind of light pollution they cause.  They seem brighter than their amber predecessors.  I’ll have to pay attention next time I’m flying into Seattle at night.

  4. Treelo says:

    Just returned from a vacation, arrived home at night and was shocked and distressed to see that my street has turned into a glaring bright Walmart parking lot.  This is hugely depressing.  How dare they deprive us of night.

    • Richard says:

      Good people, the light glare and even the color can be changed with light covers, led and induction is the future of lighting, it is just new that is why the skepticism? give it a chance ,adapt with it. Energy efficient lighting once installed nationwide will save billions in the long run and many many tons of CO2, enough to shut down several coal burning plants.