By ARDEN BASTIA Select city officials have been invited to view the lights on Inman Avenue off Strawberry Field Road. They won't be looking at strings of colorful Christmas lights or festive displays of holiday inflatables, but instead LED fixtures that
Select city officials have been invited to view the lights on Inman Avenue off Strawberry Field Road. They won’t be looking at strings of colorful Christmas lights or festive displays of holiday inflatables, but instead LED fixtures that will replace existing streetlights across Warwick over the next 6 to 8 months.
The project has been in discussion for over a year, according to Lucas Murray, Principal Planner and Special Projects Manager for the City of Warwick. The one-time, pilot event invites city council members, city engineers, the police chief and fire chief, as well as Mayor Joseph Solomon, to take a stroll to view and vote on LED fixtures in comparison to the remaining High Pressure Sodium fixtures. Each member of the pilot program is asked to fill out a survey as they view each of the six pre-selected streetlights along Inman Ave.
“We’ll ask them about what’s comfortable for residential settings. Do the residents or officials notice a difference? Is there a glare? We’ll also ask them about the temperature and safety of each light,” said Murray. “If we notice a common theme it’ll sway our decision to go in a different direction. It’s kind of like comparing TVs at Best Buy.” The tour had been planned for Wednesday evening but postponed yesterday. No new date was announced.
Residents of Inman Avenue will be receiving a flyer with a survey so they can also weigh in on the new lights, Murray explained.
The pilot program will provide Murray and other city planners the information needed in order to replace the 9,000 streetlights in Warwick, a project that will begin in February or March and extend through the summer, ending in July or August.
The City Council approved a $3.1 million contract in July to convert streetlights to LED lights. The conversion could save the city over $700,000 in maintenance and energy fees annually, as well as being more environmentally friendly, according to Murray. The city purchased fixtures, arms, and poles from National Grid for about $50,000, which “is a really good deal, compared to a lot of communities,” says Murray. “We got a really good deal on this system, since it’s based on depreciation, and our system is an older one.”
Some of the additional benefits of LED streetlights that Murray listed included saving approximately 70 percent of energy use, as well as the ability to customize light locations and strength based on constituent requests. He also said response to constituent complaints would be quicker with LED lights.
“We have a lot of lights that are out or extremely dim, so when you install these new lights there is going to be a noticeable difference,” explained Murray, who expects to receive comments and concerns from residents. “What we’re asking for is to be a little patient, give it a little time. Hopefully people will enjoy the new lights and the safety that it brings.”