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Residents Take Notice as LED Streetlights Take Over L.A.

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Have you noticed a difference in your streetlights yet? In some parts of the city, that yellow tint is gone, now replaced with a colder, bluer and more eco-friendly ones. In 2009 Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, standing next to former President Bill Clinton, announced a new streetlight program to retrofit all of the city's 140,000 streetlight fixtures with energy-saving light-emitting diode (LED) ones.

As of last February, around 9,000 lights had been replaced, mostly in the Northwest Valley, but last week, the L.A. City Council approved moving on with the project, even giving some additional funds to accelerate it.

In Venice last week, residents began to see the difference, but not all were happy about it. "I feel like I am living in Time Square now, my livingroom and bedroom feel like they have flood lights shinning in the windows now," said one commenter in the Yo! Venice forum. "This sucks."

"I thought jesus was coming to my house on saturday night," another said. "Then i realised [sic] that the city had replaced my streetlight with an led lazer beam!!!!!! like the police helicopter is just parked permanently over the house."

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But some were happy about it. "Oh i likey," someone said. "I could actually see the street while walking the dog, and could visually verify that no one was breaking into anything. that's always a plus in my book."

But the majority of comments were negative, like this one: "These lights are way too bright. They over-industrialize the area and lower property values. Can't even see the stars anymore or the moon through the trees. They really need to rethink the bulbs and brightness on these things. How are we supposed to sleep?"

The city's Bureau of Street Lighting has been instructed to replace up to 40,000 more lights over the next fiscal year. Once the project is complete and debt service is retired in seven years, the city will save $10 million annually. The lights are supposed to "save energy by a minimum of 40% and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 40,500 tons per year," according to a city report.