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Help us make PBOT’s streetlight conversion project better for bike riders

Posted by on June 18th, 2015 at 12:25 pm

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Have you noticed the bright, white LED streetlights popping up around the city?
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePorltand)

— Publisher’s note: Welcome to a first for BikePortland: We are working in an official capacity with the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation and DKS Associates (a transportation planning firm) to help gather feedback on their LED streetlight conversion and guidelines update project. That means city and DKS staff will monitor the comments left on this post, on Twitter, and on Facebook to learn as much as they can about your perspective on streetlights. Thanks for helping us make biking better! — Jonathan

The City of Portland is working on their largest energy-efficiency project ever and you might be surprised at how much bicycling figures into it.

First, some background…

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The Bureau of Transportation is about half-way toward replacing 45,000 older, “high-intensity discharge” streetlights with energy efficient, light-emitting diode models (about 80 percent of all streetlights in Portland). The new LED lights require less maintenance, use half the energy, and are likely to last about 20 years — that’s four times longer than the old bulbs. If you’re keeping track, when completed, the new streetlights will keep 10,500 tons of climate-changing carbon pollution out of the atmosphere. Not only that, but the $1.5 million in energy savings per year will allow them to fund other transportation projects.

In addition to this big conversion project, the City is updating their streetlight guidelines. The current guidelines were adopted in the 1980s, when bicycling didn’t have nearly as much of a presence on our roads as it does now. This time around, the City wants to insure the needs of all road users — including bicycle riders — are considered in the guidelines update.

That’s where you come in.

PBOT wants to make sure that as this project continues and the guidelines are updated, they meet the needs of walkers and bicycle riders. And they want to get it right the first time. They need to know where to focus their efforts, which light levels are setting most desirable for people using bicycles, and any other important considerations from the bicycling public.

Take neighborhood greenways for instance. This is a tricky application for PBOT because people who live on residential streets often complain about higher light levels. But in the past few years a number of streets have been converted into places where PBOT encourages bicycle use and wants to make cycling as safe and inviting as possible.

What is the best approach to balance these two perspectives? (We want to hear from riders and residents.)

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Screenshot of map showing PBOT’s streetlight conversion progress.

There’s a lot at stake here. As you can see from the real-time map of their progress, some major streets in the bicycle network remain to be converted. Most of the inner northeast neighborhoods, including the city’s busiest bike street of North Williams, aren’t slated for conversion until fall.

Your input can help PBOT implement the most bike-friendly LED streetlight conversion approach in the nation.

To help inform your feedback, the best thing to do is see the old and new lights in person or in the images below. It’s easy to tell the new LEDs from the old ones they’ve replaced. The new lights look crisp and white “like moonlight” (says PBOT) while the old ones put out a dull orange hue.

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I-205 path near NE Halsey (adjacent to Gateway Green).
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Neighborhood greenway with old streetlight…
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Neighborhood greenway with new LED streetlight…

Hopefully you’ve noticed these in your daily ridings. Once you have, we need to hear your feedback. To help focus your thoughts, here are some general questions:

    — What do you think of current settings where new LEDs have been installed? Are PBOT’s assumptions for lights on popular biking streets on target? Or, are they too bright? Not bright enough? What about where bike routes cross other streets?
    — Are there places on your daily commute that should be brighter?
    — In general, what parts of the city that don’t yet have the new lights, most urgently need them?

    — Given that PBOT expects bike use to rise in the future, what key bikeways should be given special attention when it comes to lighting?

    — Do you think neighborhood greenways should be brighter or darker (keeping in mind what it feels like to live on one)?

We’re happy that PBOT has come directly to the community through BikePortland to make this a better project. Your feedback is appreciated and you can rest assured it will impact this important project.

Feel free to leave a comment below, tweet us at @BikePortland (use #PDXLED if you’re into that sort of thing) or contact PBOT directly at streetlighting@portlandoregon.gov or (503) 865-LAMP (5267). Thank you for your help!

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

125 Comments
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    Adam H. June 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I love the new LED lights. They are so much brighter and make previously dark streets seem a lot less creepy. I live off a street that was recently upgraded and I appreciate how lit up it makes the street and sidewalk. I don’t really notice anything from inside the house, since the lights direct the beams straight down instead of all over like the sodium vapor ones.

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      Adam H. June 18, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      I’d also like to note that I appreciate how well lit SE Clinton is at night. The lights are closely-spaced enough to eliminate most dark spots. Only tricky spots are at the traffic circles. I’d suggest adding more light there, as the trees inside the circle typically make them fairly dark.

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      Anne Hawley June 18, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      Agree: the white light is much more attractive. And you answered my question as I was typing it – about the focus of the beams. Good to know.

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      Brad June 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      I agree. They replaced the lights right in front of my 2nd floor apartment a month or two ago and they don’t bother me any more than the old lights did. However, the light is so crisp and clear that I told my wife I could probably spot an ant crossing the road from the second floor.

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    Anne Hawley June 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    A couple of thoughts that may not be specific to the questions posed here.

    1. Can the new streetlights be made to point mostly down, at the actual street, instead of out horizontally in every direction? As the winner of a streetlight-right-in-my-windows lottery (and the ugly old yellow streetlight at that), I’d think they could assuage a lot of neighbor concerns by focusing light where it’s needed.

    2. In the leafy streets of many Portland neighborhoods, five months out the year the streetlights do very little to illuminate anything but the tops of trees. I wonder if they could be placed lower.

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      eli bishop June 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      THIS. I’ve reported the spill for a while now. PBOT says nothing can be done, but I know they can add shields and focus the light downward (like theatre lights). What I don’t understand is why they can’t adjust the light intensity, though: the lights -are- brighter, and because the light is white instead of red, it messes with my night vision.

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      Gary June 18, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      I have a streetlight right in my bedroom window. I will say that when they changed it from the HID to LED, it made a big difference. It’s still enough to annoy me in bed, but not nearly what it used to be.

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      paikiala June 18, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Light placement needs to be reviewed considering how much better the new lights are. Placed closer to the street, say 20 feet up instead of 30 feet, might also permit more cost savings with units that have fewer LEDs.
      Cars have their own headlights. Maybe street lighting for cyclists and pedestrians should be the focus.

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      wsbob June 18, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      “…1. Can the new streetlights be made to point mostly down, at the actual street, instead of out horizontally in every direction? …” hawley

      At the moment, I don’t have specifics for you, but I think there may be examples of downward focused street lighting already designed and available. Comparison to other designs, of the performance of the particular brand and model streetlight PBOT has chosen, could be informative.

      Haven’t seen them in operation at night, but it appears the street lights on the big east side terrace of the medical arts building on Moody, are configured to restrict the light from projecting upward; they’re globes, the top half of which is black.

      At the Beaverton Farmer’s Mkt a few weeks back, there was a booth offering info about the gradual transformation to use of LED street lighting in this city. I’ve not yet seen the lights in person. Guy had a couple pictures to compare old with new style…not a very good representation, but the illumination cast by the new lights appeared less shadowy, more evenly distributed, somewhat better color.

      I like neighborhood streets having no streetlights, or minimal street lights, though this doesn’t seem practical for many traffic situations. It’s worth giving some thought to the reasons presented for having streetlights. Maybe some neighborhoods would be better off without them, or with less of them. Good lighting design can be an art with very pleasant effects, but for so long, the approach to commercial street lighting, seems to have resulted in harsh, murky, dreary effects…far from pleasant.

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    davemess June 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    I like the new lights.
    My biggest complaint though is why they are first installed in inner neighborhoods (like almost every “new” thing, ADA curbs, bike infrastructure, etc) and then slowly the city works their way out to the outer ones a few years later.
    How about some equity?

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      Steve B June 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      I noticed that too. What gives?

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      eli bishop June 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      I dunno: I live pretty far out and they replaced ours about a year ago or more.

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      Alex Reed June 18, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      Looks like Sellwood first, then Southwest Hills, then downtown & inner southeast, then North Portland, then inner NE, then outer NE, then mid&outer southeast. So not strictly inner then outer, but close. Southwest Hills being the main exception.

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      Kirk June 18, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Ummm….there are a LOT of green dots on that real-time installation map east of I-205. It appears they are hitting up both inner portions as well as outer portions of Portland.

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        davemess June 18, 2015 at 4:16 pm

        Look at the dates on the grid.

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          Peter Koonce June 18, 2015 at 5:17 pm

          The dates on the grid were the old schedule that was set up more than 30 years ago. If you zoom

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            Peter Koonce June 18, 2015 at 6:08 pm

            Sorry, hit respond…. if you zoom out, you will see we did not follow the old grid and had an equity lens to this that was informed by the Coalition for a Livable Future work. There is a detailed technical report that CLF staff created.

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              davemess June 19, 2015 at 12:52 pm

              Thanks for the explanation, but I’m still seeing almost all of the lights as green West of 60th and most of the lights red east of 60th (with some pockets of green here and there)

              I also called in an, old burnout light in my neighborhood 4 months ago and was surprised when it got replaced with an old, dimmer light.

              So 30 years ago they are planning to replace the streetlights with LED? Or just to replace the street lights?
              Either way that seems like incredibly forward thinking.

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      Matt June 18, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      It’s almost like there are more people that can be impacted when focusing on inner neighborhoods instead of focusing on the fringes.

      Part of the reason people move out is because it’s cheaper. And the reason it’s cheaper is because there are fewer services. Something something cake and eating.

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        davemess June 18, 2015 at 4:18 pm

        So people paying the same taxes (or more as a percentage in many cases
        ) should get less services for their money, because they can’t afford to live near downtown?
        Awesome.

        https://multco.us/auditor/property-tax-equity

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        gutterbunnybikes June 18, 2015 at 4:22 pm

        Inner and downtown neighborhoods have the smallest population numbers, and in the case of Downtown only holds roughly 25% of the employment in town.

        So what is your point again?

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    Psyfalcon June 18, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    The white lights seem to suffer from much more glare. They all have bad cutoffs but the white looks worse because they’re much brighter (see lead photo). Dimmer more closely spaced lights are better because they eliminate shadows. If you want street lights for security, it does not make sense to light everything bright except for some number of pitch black spots for people to hide.

    White lights have also shown to be worse for circadian rhythm purpose of both people and animals. Please put a yellow color on them.

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      Doug Klotz June 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Street lights are far apart to save money, and high up so they’ll cast light further. As a result, there’s a 50′ hole in the tree canopy at every streetlight (trees can be no closer than 25′)

      If we had lower streetlights, dimmer, but more of them, we could have more continuous tree canopy, with lights low down enough, that they could shine under the tree canopy. It might help light sidewalks in treed areas as well.

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    Steve B June 18, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Overall the new lights make every street look like a commercial parking lot at night. I appreciate this application on larger streets, at intersections and along bikeways. I hope dimmer options are possible on quieter streets.

    One quibble: the way the 6 bulb LEDs cast shadows makes me a little dizzy. Usually it’s a shadow of a branch — it’s cast from 6 different light sources (per ‘bulb’) so you get this sort of in-focus / out-of-focus effect on the street. I wouldn’t notice this in a car but on a bike I stare at the street often. I have no idea how you account for that in the installation process.

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      eli bishop June 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Steve, I’ve noticed that too! Multiple overlapping leaf shadows is bizarre. It makes the shadows look pixelated.

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      mw June 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      agree with this about the shadows. Seems like it would be easy enough to put a diffuser screen on the lamps to mitigate the multi-shadow effect

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        q`Tzal June 19, 2015 at 11:13 am

        Cheaper still to get LED parabolic reflectors that are not perfectly mirrored. There’s a lot of diversity in the high intensity LED luminaire parts supply field.

        Given 30 minutes with my desktop at home I could easily build the parts list, BOM, assembly diagrams and, with some small dishonesty, get a quote sent to me pretending to be a purchasing agency.

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    John Stephens June 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I just noticed the new LED lights in front of my house a few weeks ago. They are remarkable for their brightness compared to the old incandescents. I like the ‘whiter’ light, as it’s easier to see things. However, for my street, with incredibly low foot and bike traffic, they seem too bright. On Albina, which has a lot of bike traffic, they haven’t converted yet but will be great when they do, as I really think the new LEDs will make cycling along this stretch much safer. Thanks City of Portland for the upgrades!

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      GlowBoy June 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      For clarity, the old ones were High Pressure Sodium Vapor HID, not incandescent.

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  • Chris
    Chris June 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I would prefer lower levels of lighting — when it is too bright, and you pass into an area where the light is blocked or otherwise not on, you tend to lose vision until your eyes adjust. If the overall level were lower, this would be less of an issue.

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      9watts June 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      I would prefer they turn them all off. Let’s see the calculation for how much CO2 is saved if we skip them altogether. Colorado Springs and other cities have done this, or started down this road (to save money).

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        Anne Hawley June 18, 2015 at 2:03 pm

        Sometime last fall we had a big, neighborhood-wide total power outage, and the no-streetlights effect was lovely! I saw an owl.

        I think I like this idea! Here’s one article that questions the safety value of streetlights: http://www.citylab.com/housing/2014/02/street-lights-and-crime-seemingly-endless-debate/8359/

        According to that article, streetlights would seem to be a bit like bike-lane striping: adding a feeling of safety without adding any actual safety. Very interesting!

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          9watts June 18, 2015 at 3:15 pm

          Brilliant!
          Thanks for finding that, Anne.

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        J.E. June 18, 2015 at 2:40 pm

        I hope you’re being sarcastic; Colorado Springs is an almost entirely car-dominated city. With the exception of the small downtown area (and sometimes even there), cyclists and pedestrians are extremely rare and there is almost no public transit. The roads are wide open with very clear sight-lines and arterials almost never have on-street parking. Obviously you can turn down the lights when virtually 100% of road users are vehicles (which just so happen to have built-in 1000-2000 lumen headlights). We really should not take any road- or safety-related cues from Colorado Springs, one of the most sprawling, car-oriented cities in America.

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          9watts June 18, 2015 at 3:12 pm

          “I hope you’re being sarcastic”
          Not at all.

          We in this country have embraced central heating, to devastating effect. The Japanese, traditionally, have heated their bodies or very small air volumes in immediate proximity to themselves. Taking a page from the Japanese approach to energy usage, decent headlights, which are now technically and financially feasible in ways they weren’t when I was a kid, *could* very ably substitute for the high powered, light-everything-up-whether-anyone-is-present-or-not approach that streetlights represent.

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            J.E. June 18, 2015 at 4:27 pm

            Be very careful citing the Japanese. Their buildings are also extremely poorly insulated and while their heat is traditionally not centralized, it’s also powered by electricity (much of their country is powered by coal, especially after the recent backlash against nuclear power) and quite energy inefficient. Besides, weren’t American/European houses also traditionally heated just one space at a time? (There’s a reason why old houses have fireplaces in every room) I assume, however, that you’re referring to kotatsu, which you’re correct in saying provides a good deal of warmth without much energy. However they only work when you’re actually sitting at the kotatsu; the second you get up the heat is gone and you’re left standing in a frigid room, not very practical. Japanese cities are also famous (or I guess you’d say infamous) for being lit up like Christmas trees 24/7, and light pollution in Japan is horrible.

            One thing their country does right, however, is that integrated bicycle lights are extremely cheap. No more concerns about having your batteries unexpectedly conk out on a dark road (which in urban and suburban areas don’t exist anyway; a shocking number of cyclists in Japan don’t use lights on their bikes at all, to the point where the police have to hold bike light stings). Their lights definitely aren’t powerful and hardly illuminate the road in front of you at all; they’re mostly just so you can be seen by other road users. I never saw anyone wearing reflective gear in Japan for fear of not being seen at night, not cyclists, not joggers, not pedestrians. And one major reason for that is that it is a very well-lit country. (It also helps that the Japanese are much more conscientious of more vulnerable road users than we are, but that’s a topic for another time.)

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            • Chris
              Chris June 18, 2015 at 5:52 pm

              You can praise the Japanese for one thing without necessarily embracing their every practice.

              And since we are already so far off topic: I for one love our kotatsu… it’s the warmest place in our house, and it’s the only thing that keeps the kids from sulking in their rooms all winter long. They want to be warm, so they tend to spend time in the family room! 🙂

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          davemess June 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm

          I would also point out that Colorado has a much greater number of clear (non-cloudy) nights, allowing more moonlight, than Portland.

          But you’re spot on. I lived in the Spring for three years, and it is about as sprawled as you can get for a city of its size.

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        rachel b June 18, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        Hear, hear! Turn ’em off. And those horrible residential floodlights. Light pollution is one of my most loathed nemeses. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text

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        Al Dimond June 18, 2015 at 5:42 pm

        I don’t know how y’all do it in Portland, but in Seattle basically none of our bike paths have street lights. My experience riding paths at night is:

        – On dry days, in places where it’s actually dark (there aren’t other big distracting light sources), this is totally fine. Even a mediocre headlight is enough to see everything you need to see.

        – Big distracting light sources can be a big problem. The worst floodlights can leave you essentially blind to what’s in front of you even on dry days with a good headlight. So can car headlights coming toward you on nearby roads if the road is sloped up toward your position. Of course, intense bike lights aimed too high can be a problem, too.

        – On wet days all the problems are amplified. Wet objects, most importantly the road surface, people, and other animals, don’t diffuse light very well, making them harder to see, but direct light sources are just as intense. The direct light sources are rarely what you need to see, or at least rarely useful without context, and they are just as bright, so relatively more blinding. Even when there’s minimal distracting light, you have to ride fairly slow with a good light to avoid running off the trail! When there’s lots of distracting light you’re sort of screwed.

        Even with all the street lights turned off, there are enough distracting light sources in a city that it would be pretty tough to see on wet roads at night, just as it’s tough to see on the trails (there are a bunch of places where turning off street lights would improve trail visibility). I think a program of reflector installation on trail margins and road margins and lane lines would help a lot… at least for cyclists with good lights. This still doesn’t address seeing pedestrians very well. When I run at night I wear reflective vests, but most people walking don’t and shouldn’t have to. I’m not sure there’s a substitute for well-lit crosswalks at intersections… but maybe fewer lights elsewhere would help crosswalks stand out.

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        soren June 19, 2015 at 9:08 am

        At the very least lets consider less lighting on residential streets. I suspect that people would drive more cautiously on residential streets with no or less street lighting.

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          El Biciclero June 19, 2015 at 11:14 am

          “…but officer, I just didn’t see him!”

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    Jayson June 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Love the new lights! Agree with previous comments that dark patches still exist and create a temporary blindness when adjusting. Rather than reducing lighting levels to ease the adjustment, can significant gaps be filled in with another LED? In most cases, this isn’t a problem because of conversion to LED, it’s a pre-existing problem.

    Unfortunately, I live two blocks out from the first year of improvements, so my neighbors a couple blocks closer to downtown already got their LED lights and I have to wait until next year. Boo..

    I would also add that from a criminal safety perspective, my neighbors and I love the more clear and crisp whiteness of these lights, which makes walking and biking at night feel safer because you can see your surroundings better.

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      PDXrider June 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Wait till they’re installed at your house, you’ll change your mind as light pours through your windows like the mid-day sun.

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        ethan June 18, 2015 at 1:48 pm

        There’s one directly across the street from my house. I like it. Much better than the old ones with their yellowy tint. Plus, the street is much brighter now, making it much easier to see grade changes in the sidewalk / tripping hazards.

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        paikiala June 18, 2015 at 2:53 pm

        P, did you call it in to PBOT for a cut-off shield? What you describe is light trespass.

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        gutterbunnybikes June 18, 2015 at 4:34 pm

        Kind of wish I had that problem, got one light every two blocks on my street – and my street is kind of an unofficial greenway…ie lots of bicycle traffic and a pretty sizable pedestrian route as well for the neighborhood.

        I’d gladly volunteer a light on the pole in front of my house, we’ve got black out shades to ward off the evening summer sun already.

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    Rebecca June 18, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    The new lights are good.

    As far as scheduling the replacement bulbs – the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 did an equity gap analysis of bike infrastructure throughout the city and made a map of areas with few/substandard bike facilities (pg 120). Facilities in these areas should be prioritized for upgrades over the inner neighborhoods.

    Especially if there aren’t many bikeways in these areas to choose from, then the ones that are there should be as safe as possible.

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    PDXrider June 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    I HATE them on residential streets – can anyone say light pollution? Its like the entire city has been turned into a Costco parking lot. Can’t even see the stars anymore. Don’t get me wrong the quality of the light is great and I like them on major byways and at intersections. Also love that they last longer and use less energy. I just miss the dark of night, seems so unnatural that night never falls in Portland anymore.

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      Adam H. June 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Since the LEDs face downwards, they actually reduce light pollution. PBOT’s own website states this, too.

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        eli bishop June 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm

        Adam, I’ve heard and read this from PBOT, too, but I’m an amateur astronomer and my experience is that it -is- harder to see the stars now. First, they’re brighter. Second, because the light is white instead of red/orange, night vision is drastically reduced.

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          El Biciclero June 19, 2015 at 11:28 am

          “…because the light is white instead of red/orange, night vision is drastically reduced.”

          This sort of breeds another problem for bicyclists, which is that such lights are great in the places they happen to be, but they become “addictive” in a sense, because when you transition out of a lit area, it’s harder to adjust unless you have a super-bright headlight.

          We recently had these new street lights installed as part of the Bethany Blvd. widening project in Beaverton. I distinctly recall when the first of these went in at the intersection of West Union and Bethany: I was on my way home in the dark, and stopped at this intersection—where I had stopped or passed through hundreds of times before—and immediately noticed something was different. It definitely had the “Costco parking lot” look someone else mentioned. It’s actually kind of nice to have this level of visibility at intersections, but too much of this glaring harshness everywhere is not necessarily a good thing.

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        kittens June 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm

        In a perfect world, but since they are putting out more light that light is reflected back into the sky if it hits a reflective surface (white car, wet road, snow).

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        Psyfalcon June 18, 2015 at 2:11 pm

        I don’t know, it looks worse from here. The white light does look more reflective at least, that would mitigate some gains from aiming.

        Maybe they are better, but Portland could still use a comprehensive light pollution plan (like Flagstaff). For everything else green about the city, we don’t make a lot of progress on that.

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      pdx2wheeler June 18, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      PDXrider, you might find this article informative. I think your innate hatred of these lights isn’t allowing you to “see the light!”

      http://bit.ly/1G8FMqf

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    rick June 18, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Beaverton has them on the Beaverton-zoned SW Nicol Road, but they are needed much more on the SW Laurelwood Ave which had a fatal hit-and-run pedestrian death in 2013.

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    Kirk June 18, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Overall, I like the brightness from the LED lights. I can imagine some issues may arise related to going from bright patches to dark patches as some commenters have already pointed out, but I haven’t been biking very late at night a whole lot recently to notice such detailed differences, but will definitely keep an eye out to compare from now on.

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      Anne Hawley June 18, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      It’s kind of funny that this post comes at almost the longest day of the year. It’s not real common for me to be out on my bike after dark in June.

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        Kirk June 18, 2015 at 2:21 pm

        Ha, for sure. Riding a bike at night? Who stays up that late these days? (Just kidding folks….)

        Seriously though, I’m curious how these new lights will make rain drops appear at night – because sometimes LEDs cause moving objects to look like they are at a party with a strobe light on. Hopefully that isn’t too troublesome on the eyes :/

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    Lester Burnham June 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    This is great for a lot of folks I guess. I have a 1800 lumen light on my bike so don’t even care if there are no lights at all.

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      eli bishop June 18, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      Just keep it focused on the road, please, and not in my eyes. 🙂

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    kittens June 18, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Oh my gosh, these cool-white light LEDs are a horrible assault on the eyes and the night sky. They are even more light polluting than the fixtures they replace. And how many years will the payback period be for all the emissions and money spent on the premature replacement of existing functional lamp heads?

    Study after study has proven that the cyan spectrum light has negative effect on sleep, eye fatigue and acuity in mist, fog, rain or snow. They may produce more lumens but the eye sees more red spectrum so the other light is wasted.

    And the glare factor is significantly worse as LEDs are denser light sources. This is why bike lights and projector beam headlights are so “glare-y”.

    As a frequent night rider and driver one unexpected effect I have noticed is how hard it is to spot car headlights now, say as one approaches a four-way intersection you used to be able to see the contrasting light of the approaching car or one behind you far in the distance. The new lights make this nearly impossible as everything is the same color tone.

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      paikiala June 18, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      but, they will save PBOT about $100k per month in electricity bills once installed.

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        9watts June 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm

        I get that. But how much would it save per month if we just turned them off altogether?

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          davemess June 18, 2015 at 4:23 pm

          How would that work with Vision Zero?

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            9watts June 18, 2015 at 7:18 pm

            What do you mean?
            Or was this a pun on the vision in Vision Zero?

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              davemess June 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm

              I mean that streetlights certainly provide an element of safety, not only for cyclists, but more importantly pedestrians. Simply turning them all off, might have negative consequences for pedestrians.

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                9watts June 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm

                You should check out the article Anne Hawley posted upthread.

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    Kirk June 18, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I think the MOST IMPORTANT thing about all of this that I want to bring up is that PBOT is reaching out to the public via the internet for part of their public process. That is really HUGE.

    Since many people already comment on things related to government issues via so many different social media outlets, it’s only wise for the government to go to where the action is rather than having the government ask for people to physically meet them in the basement of a church in order to express their thoughts to them about stuff that happens outside of the church basement.

    Not only is this a better use of everyone’s time, but I have a feeling it’ll allow more people to feel like their efforts to provide comments are worth it, since they don’t have to take an hour or more out of their day to say a minute or two worth of thoughts. The more people involved, the better!

    I never thought I’d say this, but I think PBOT has now joined the 21st Century along with the rest of us. Or at least the street lighting division within PBOT has 😉

    PS – I normally read through BikePortland posts without commenting as I want to catch up on the news but usually don’t have time in the day to provide my own thoughts on the matter. However, if I knew that a particular post about a potential bikeway project was being monitored by PBOT (or whatever agency was involved), I’d be much more inclined to take time out of the day to comment, and I bet others would as well. I’ll also go out on a limb and bet that we’d see a lot more of an equal gender representation of commenters, whereas normally it is dominated by males :/

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    shirtsoff June 18, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    eli bishop
    Steve, I’ve noticed that too! Multiple overlapping leaf shadows is bizarre. It makes the shadows look pixelated.Recommended 4

    Yeah, the “echoed” light pattern makes me feel like I’ve entered into a low quality newspaper print comic of decades past.

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    Caesar June 18, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Too much bright light. Nights are supposed to be dark. Install timers that progressively dim the new streetlights down to a soft glow at dawn.

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    Ben Schonberger (@SchonbergerBen) June 18, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Lowering the height of the street lights would allow them to be dimmed down and make them more ped/bike oriented.

    High, very bright, widely spaced fixtures are auto oriented and encourage speeding.

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      Jeg June 20, 2015 at 3:47 am

      This. We need attractive streetlps that can be dimmed for bike corridors and neighborhoods; they add a ton of charm, too.

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        Jeg June 20, 2015 at 3:48 am

        Streetlamps*

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    encephalopath June 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    It’s not just the brightness of the LED lights that makes a difference. The old sodium lamps are nearly monochromatic so no matter what you’re wearing you end up looking exactly the same color as everything else under the lamp.

    Without a secondary light source involved it’s difficult to differentiate yourself from everything else under the lamp.

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    mw June 18, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    probably not under the purview of the PBOT, but it would be great to get lighting on the Springwater Corridor – at least the heaviest used part between the Sellwood bridge and downtown. So many pedestrians and even cyclists without lights or even reflective clothing in the dark winter months. It’s only a matter of time until there is a bad accident there.

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      Tim June 18, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Springwater gets my vote for priority. How do we go about raising the issue to the right people so that Portlanders can enjoy the path throughout the year? I understand this is parks and rec territory but really feel that we should start pedaling so we can get somewhere;)

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        David June 18, 2015 at 6:15 pm

        I also wish we could have lights along the Springwater but I believe it keeps getting blocked by people concerned about wildlife being annoyed by the lights.

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    Spiffy June 18, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    the first thing that came to mind was the Springwater Trail… but that belongs to Parks, and there aren’t any lights to update…

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    J.E. June 18, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    This is a great topic Jonathan, thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our thoughts with the city! I happen to have several on this topic:

    To start with something specific, Ladd’s Addition right now is REALLY dark at night. I was walking home the other night and actually needed to use my cell phone’s flashlight to get home because I could not see the sidewalk in front of me. I imagine the neighborhood’s many mature trees are a factor, as well as the fact that the neighborhood hasn’t switched over to LEDs yet. I’d like to see the lights’ position on the street, and possibly even height, adjusted around mature trees. If this isn’t possible, the trees need to be trimmed. Despite complaints of “equity!” Ladd’s doesn’t even have curb cuts at all of its intersections, and its sidewalks are just as uneven as any in this city (trip hazard). For what is supposed to be a “very walkable” neighborhood, this is incredibly discouraging.

    Now to get more general, the greenways definitely need better illumination so cyclists can watch for debris and uneven surfaces. I cycled along quiet neighborhood streets at night a lot in Chicago and could see every crack and bump in the road even if I had turned off my front light because every street was properly illuminated (and these were the old orange lights). It was a completely different story the first night I cycled here (along the SE 16th greenway); even though I had a standard front light it was completely insufficient and the street lamps did almost nothing but add sporadic patches of “less dark.”

    However, I have also experienced the “light shining straight into my window” problem and I despise what light pollution has done to our urban skies so I sympathize greatly with calls to lower the light settings. We need to cap our lights; streetlights shouldn’t be shining into 2nd or 3rd story windows on flat streets. They don’t add to street illumination from a block away, so why should they be visible at all from there? They certainly shouldn’t be visible from the sky, but anyone who’s ridden an airplane at night knows how brilliantly America’s streets shine, even when viewed from directly above. If we make the caps reflective we might even be able to get more bang for our buck from dimmer bulbs.

    It’s not just capped streetlights though, let’s really get creative as a city; are there any ways to illuminate the street other than traditional tall streetlights? Can we have 5-10′ tall streetlights in the medians (perhaps for better mid-block illumination?) How about spotlights for especially bad areas? Or maybe small strings of LEDs placed right on the curb illuminating the surface of the road? Maybe we can angle our streetlights instead of the default of pointing straight down.

    The above suggestions are mostly for residential streets. Arterials, intersections at arterials, crosswalks on 30mph and above streets, streets with sub-standard cycling infrastructure (e.g. SE 26th) and streets with poor safety records (again… SE 26th) should look like the Vegas Strip at night. If the street undergoes safety improvements the lighting can of course be dropped accordingly, and again there’s no reason why we can’t cap or angle our lights so that the street is illuminated and not the sky.

    One last thing: traffic and street signs need better illumination. At minimum they need to get cleaned more often! There are a lot of dirty, non-reflective signs in this city, including stop signs. Whatever is used to paint over graffiti, plus the graffiti itself, is also non-reflective. Ideally every traffic sign (stops, yields, “bike lane ends,” etc.) would have its own illumination of some kind, even if it’s just angling the nearest street lamp in such a way that it hits the sign ever so slightly. Unfortunately not all bicycle lights are strong enough (or have a wide enough angle) to properly illuminate traffic signs (especially the less reflective ones), and while it’s easy to suggest “buy a brighter light!” the ones that properly illuminate the road AND traffic signs have poor battery life and are not the most practical or reliable for that reason. Further, a lot of traffic signs in Portland are at least partially obscured by shrubbery or tall vehicles parked in front of them (just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen). On the whole, sight-lines to traffic signs in Portland are not clear enough during the day; obviously the situation is way worse at night.

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      9watts June 18, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      “I was walking home the other night and actually needed to use my cell phone’s flashlight to get home because I could not see the sidewalk in front of me.”

      I wonder how people coped before flashlights and street lights? Did they just stay home? Or did they allow their eyes to adjust to the (actual) darkness so that they could see enough to make it home? Our eyes do work at night. But we don’t get very many opportunities to discover this anymore.

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        Tom Hardy June 18, 2015 at 5:07 pm

        I rode as a captain in a tandem for 2 years with a blind stoker. He showed me the roads of remote Washington county in the dark. He did it by smell, but I did it by starlight, even if it was cloudy at night we very rarely used a headlight unless a car was approaching from the other direction. A small taillight was all the illumination was all that was needed. Even the miniscule reflection of the 2 AA cell taillight was enough reflected from the overhead clouds was plenty.

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        Joseph E June 18, 2015 at 5:23 pm

        They stayed home. People in the country don’t walk around outside after dark either.

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          9watts June 18, 2015 at 7:21 pm

          “People in the country don’t walk around outside after dark either.”

          I got a good laugh out of that one.
          I use my headlamp nearly every day, probably more when I’m in the country than in town.

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      Anne Hawley June 18, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      Oh man, street signs. Yes. One per intersection so you have to guess which corner to look at, and when you do spot the sign, it’s obscured by years of dirt and no longer reflective. I’d be embarrassed to try to direct an out-of-towner anywhere in this city based on street signs.

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    wkw June 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Too bright? Who said this? They did my street in Sellwood and couldn’t be happier about the switchout.

    My only comment: Start switching out traffic lights to LED’s. PBOT did a pilot LED with immature technology >10 years ago. There are now reliable alternatives, I don’t want to pay people to change light bulbs, but rather fix roads.

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      Peter Koonce June 18, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      LEDS are standard in traffic signals.

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    Glenn June 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    what the ROI on these? what the price of the fixtures?
    what about the recycling aspect of these lights when they do out?

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    Glenn June 18, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    And why not go with Induction florencent lighting.
    I have seen some of the Iduction Florencent lighitng on the 205 bike path near Otty road…and I think they are much nicer lighting then the LED…

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    Terry D-M June 18, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    My glasses broke at the waterfront, but once I got to Ankeny I was able to ride home in the middle of the night blind as a bat as they say.

    They reflect a LOT better off the sharrows…..follow the sharrows.

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    Tim June 18, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Springwater gets my vote for priority. How do we go about raising the issue to the right people so that Portlanders can enjoy the path throughout the year? I understand this is parks and rec territory but really feel that we should start pedaling so we can get somewhere;)

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      J.E. June 18, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      While my other comments are very pro-streetlights, I think we need to leave our very-off-road paths alone out of concern for light pollution, cost, and energy consumption (you’re talking about a LOT of light to illuminate the Springwater). We should focus on high-traffic areas with potential for conflict between transit modes (including bikes vs peds). So Esplanade yes, Springwater no. There are some great mega-bike-lights out there for cyclists who want to go off the beaten path at night; I recommend the Cygolite Metro.

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        mw June 18, 2015 at 6:16 pm

        The Springwater between Sellwood bridge and downtown can be nearly just as crowded as the Esplanade during rush hour times… and it’s dark during these times a few months of the year.
        The problem with mega-lumen lights is that if you are not a dick then you aim them to shine on the ground about 20-30ft in front of you. This way you don’t blind oncoming bikes, but you also can’t see non-illuminated bikes/peds in front of you until it could be too late. This is especially a problem when oncoming cyclists with mega-lights temporarily blind you… then there is a window when you are basically blinded and then a non-illuminated bike/ped might pop into your field of view and you don’t see them until the oncoming bike passes, and by then it’s too late and you crash. I’ve had several close calls like this. If the whole trail were lit up, then you would have no problem seeing any obstacles way in front of where your light is shining. Your eyes would also be less sensitive to light and you would be less likely to be blinded by oncoming lights

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    MCR Bike Commuter June 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Nice to see cyclists being consulted. We have been on a steady LED streetlight rollout in Manchester UK. What I have noticed is being able to see in colour (color?) which helps identify badly driven cars more easily and better sharpness and contrast on road imperfections and potholes.

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    Scott Kocher June 18, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    1. So far as the safety of cyclists to be seen by inattentive drivers at night goes, the more brightness the better.
    2. The new lights make a grid of criss-crossing shadows (one per LED) on the sidewalk. That makes it hard for peds to see lifts/cracks in the sidewalk. Maybe a minimally diffusing cover?
    3. Related, more brightness makes the shadows of trees and other dark spots seem even darker, especially for old folks whose eyes don’t adjust as well. The lights often are placed high, above trees.

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    gutterbunnybikes June 18, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Can’t believe there have been so many posts without the:

    Q: “How many PDOT staffers does it take to change a light bulb?”
    A: “Depends how much fuss the local business owners make”

    Feel free to add your own.

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      Anne Hawley June 18, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      The coming generation probably won’t understand what a lightbulb joke even is. I’ve switched to LEDs at home and the only time I anticipate screwing in a lightbulb in the future is if I buy a new lamp.

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    Bill Stites June 18, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I have seen the new lights around my neighborhood [Belmont, 30’s], and I would like to express concern about their health effects. Primarily concerned about kids looking into them.
    I have never experienced street lights that were so bright that you couldn’t look at them, without serious potential damage to your retinae. I mention kids because the really young ones won’t know better – they don’t realize they are practically looking at the sun. This can result in quick and serious damage to the eyes.
    I also find the six shadows discomfiting. There is something rather unnatural about it.

    My humble recommendation is to reduce the intensity to 50% – 70% of what they are now and, more importantly, use some kind of diffuser lens.

    Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback.

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      PorterStout June 19, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      You’re getting carried away with this. I just Googled it. A recent article claiming a “record setting luminance” achieved for LEDs in automotive headlight use was 38 million cd/m2. The sun has luminance of about 1.6 billion cd/m2. Probably even more importantly, the sun also has a tremendous energy content in the ultraviolet spectrum, the same thing that burns your skin and gives you skin cancer if you stay out too long in it. LEDs contain no ultraviolet component. They might appear bright, especially when the surroundings are dark, but they are nothing like staring at the sun. If they were causing this kind of damage, you don’t think it would be all over the news?

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    Dwaine Dibbly June 18, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    HID lights are supposed to be really good for “indoor gardening”. I wonder if the City could recover some of the cost of the new LED lights by selling the HID lights to the public, particularly commercial growers. I suspect that demand will increase next month.

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      9watts June 18, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      there go the energy savings (already banked)…

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        Tait June 19, 2015 at 12:32 am

        if they go into private hands, they’re still saving on the city’s energy bill.

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      q`Tzal June 19, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Recent OPB story on Washington State’s “growing” (their pun, not mine) marijuana industry focused on some indoor growers and their massive energy use in lights.
      It touched on the fact that LEDs are in fact able to hit the spectrum zones they desire for such a light hungry plant and it is indeed saving tons of energy both in lumens/watt and BTUs of cooling not needed.

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    Mike Sanders June 18, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Roundabouts could be lit with lights in the roundabout itself, pointing to the ground and the signage. Same goes for the WIllamette River section of the Sprigwater, which passes thru a wildlife preserve. (By the way, there are no signs along the trail marking the boundaries of that wildlife area; signs telling people this need to be installed.) For these instances, think about the down-pointing lights on the center fence of the 82 Av. Freeway near the Airport, designed to avoid incoming aircraft landing Ina nearby runway. These kind of installations could be added to bike / ped trails in Washington Park. Forest Park, etc. These could be ankle-high but I think that such installations would work quite well.

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    Cory Poole June 18, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    First: HID is a very general term. The existing lighting is HID sodium.
    Second: I love the new lights. I can actually see holes in the street before my headlamp picks them up. I can’t wait for the entire city to be changed over.

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    John Lascurettes June 18, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Hope these are like the ones San Jose are starting to use, that focus downward specifically, eliminating more light pollution. Should make start gazing out in the gorge that much easier.

    http://sfbay.ca/2015/02/11/san-jose-flips-switch-on-led-streetlights/

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    Ben Funkhouser June 18, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    My simple feedback is that I really like the new lights. I currently in the Multnomah Village area where the lights were upgraded several months ago and I immediately felt safer walking and biking in the neighborhood, especially on dark, rainy nights. No complaints thus far!

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    Tait June 19, 2015 at 12:34 am

    I like the LED lights. I wish PBOT would install shields on them, though, as some others have mentioned. (Shields are the cones on the light that limit the light angle downward to 135 degrees or so wide, so that light isn’t emitted sideways and upward. They are clearly absent in the I-205 path picture in the article.) Not only do the shields make the lights less harmful to migratory birds, they make the lights more efficient by reflecting the light where it actually does good and because they significantly decrease the wasted “light pollution”, they reduce annoyance the lights pose to residences. If PBOT would shield all the lights, they could make them as bright as they want and I wouldn’t care. It’s only the unshielded lights casting (wasted) light directly into the bedroom that makes it hard to sleep. In other areas that have converted to LED lighting (like Hillsboro, for example), they do use the shields and it helps. It would make even more sense to apply asymmetric shields that imposed a 95-degree cut-off on the edges parallel with the street and allowed a wider angle angle on the edges perpendicular to the street direction.

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    JJJJ June 19, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Shielding is important. It looks like theyve been replacing the bulb but NOT the casing. Theres no need for the top of the tree to be lit up

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    Paul Souders June 19, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I hated the new LEDs in my old neighborhood (Collins View) but like them in our new one (Sellwood). Most of SW Portland outside Hillsdale and Multnomah is naturally dark and without sidewalks, the best strategy there is to have a good headlamp or flashlight and let your eyes adjust to the darkness. So in that neighborhood the LEDs interfere with night vision & are easy to confuse with headlights. But Sellwood is denser and we spend more time walking (no flashlight necessary). Also it seems like they are placed less close together there. We have a streetlight outside our house and it’s fine.

    I like the blue color, it reminds me of moonlight.

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    q`Tzal June 19, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Corners of intersections and all crosswalks.

    This doesn’t just benefit pedestrians who are hard to see at corners but bicycle riders who are likely to be right and left hooked at intersections.

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    q`Tzal June 19, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Perhaps consider something like this:
    http://www.ledsmagazine.com/ugc/iif/2015/05/04/arrlux-lighting-will-debut-innovative-microwave-motion-sensor-at-lightfair-international.html

    from article
    Arrlux Lighting … is debuting its newest patented microwave motion sensor for roadway lighting management at LightFair 2015.

    It offers roadway lighting with adjustable delay time from 5 seconds to 10 minutes where stand-by lighting levels can be set to 5%, 15%, 25% or 50% of the full output.

    Arrlux® motion sensors are equipped with wireless transceivers which allows each light to communicate with other lights in a same group. Essentially lights can be setup to illuminate for one side of the road depending on traffic conditions, hence saving energy. By configuring DIP switches on the motion sensor, the lights can be set into either two groups “A” or “B”. When the motion sensing streetlight detects movement, it will automatically fully illuminate and communicate to the other streetlights within the same group to do the same while the lights in a different group will remain in standby lighting mode. It provides a coverage angle of 120° x 60° and a network range of 400 meters. Furthermore, the streetlight with motion sensor can be adjusted to have its power-on delay time for peak hour conditions to be set from 4 to 8 hours

    Electric power costs will only go up as fresh water demands in the region increase and hydroelectric power demand in California pulls more from the Columbia River dams.
    A higher initial investment in smarter street lights that sense motion of all users to project at full brightness only when necessary would likely pay back much more quickly than coal fired electrical suppiers would like you to believe.

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    Josh G June 19, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I don’t like the warmth lacking vibe of the new lights at all, and had no problem with the color spectrum of the old yellow lights. The new ones makes me winsome for childhood, but this won’t be a problem for anyone soon. Soon, our whole lives will have the ambiance of being inside the Apple store. I like these new lights about as much as BMW headlights. I get all the positives of LEDS, but they have plenty of negatives as well (perhap we need less lights in our lives, of any sort) http://clarkstrand.com/waking-up-to-the-dark/
    Surprised they will only rated to last 20 years… I thought LEDs had a much longer lifespan.
    I surely hope all of the cities new lights meet these standards: http://www.darksky.org/outdoorlighting-29
    I guess this map http://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=11&lat=5705500.66155&lon=-13646792.8122&layers=B0TFFFFTT will eventually measure if we are making any progress.
    http://www.globeatnight.org/light-pollution.php
    http://koin.com/2014/10/02/explained-portlands-switch-to-led-lights/

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      q`Tzal June 19, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      More lights that focus light better where it is needed is cheaper and contributes far less spillover light polluting the skies and our sleep patterns.
      We still need lights in public as long as people are allowed out after dark, even WITH self driving cars that might require no visible light (IR, microwave ranging, GPS, yadda, yadda, yadda).
      Things in motion need to avoid pedestrians and people commit crime; light reduces crime and collisions.

      But less light wasted is less unnatural effects – both on our health and that of plants and animals.

      First reduce light pollution. Light not going where it is needed is direct waste. Its elimination is similar to the efficacy of painting a room with a brush versus a stick of dynamite in a pain can.

      Next implement simple motion detection triggering that dims fixtures to 5% and leaves them at 100% only while motion is detected. It will need to be sensitive enough to detect people.

      Next implement more intelligent motion detection and smarter on-off triggering.
      Possibly IR motion detection in concert with a cell phone signal strength monitor (to determine only if an electronic device is nearby transmitting anything) or even a super sensitive metal detector: any human in motion is very likely to have some metal and an electronic device. These combined sensory inputs would give a high probably of triggering even for slowly lurking purse snatchers. Trigger street lights on previously empty streets sequentially and in advance based on vehicle speed so human drivers can see what they need to stop in time for. Dim lights more quickly in sparsely active areas; if the lights were off on a road and I’m the only thing to go by in an hour there is no need to leave them on for 5 minutes let alone 30 seconds after I’m gone. Better yet: turn them off entirely if no one is nearby.

      Waste not, want not. Lights are only needed for humans and we only need that on surfaces we need to avoid. Eliminate everything else and we save so much money and grief.

      But we still need ’em.

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        Psyfalcon June 19, 2015 at 9:55 pm

        Various studies have not shown that more light reduces crime. Sometimes crime goes up, sometimes down. If we can keep people from over driving their headlights, the need for street lighting goes down there. (Narrow everything).

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          q`Tzal June 20, 2015 at 2:12 pm

          Citation please

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            Psyfalcon June 20, 2015 at 3:24 pm

            Mid 80s London: http://www.celfosc.org/biblio/seguridad/atkins.pdf
            “No evidence could be found to support the hypothesis that improved street lightingreduces reported crime. Although some areas and some crime types did show reductions in night-time crime relative to the daylight control, the dominant overall pattern, from which this study draws its authority, was of no significant change. A secondary part of the study assessed the attitudes and behaviour of residents
            and their experience of crime not reported to the police. Social surveys were conducted with a panel of residents in a re-lit area and an adjacent control area before and after re-lighting. The perceived safety of women walking alone after dark in the re-lit area was improved, but few other effects were statistically significant. No change in un-reported crime, harassment or travel behaviour could be detected. Nevertheless the reaction of residents to the re-lighting scheme was overwhelmingly favourable; it is without doubt a popular measure”

            2010 Los Angeles: https://www.amherst.edu/media/view/329628/original/Salvi-DoesIncreasedLightingReduceCrime.pdf
            Mostly less than 1% drop. (This is not the best thesis I’ve ever read).

            Some what anecdotal, but a list of sources, and a discussion of hiding in glare: http://physics.fau.edu/observatory/lightpol-security.html

            More discussion here: http://www.citylab.com/housing/2014/02/street-lights-and-crime-seemingly-endless-debate/8359/

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    SWB June 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    I’m a fan of the lights along Clinton. They work well for me as a pedestrian as I can now see the sidewalk when I walk around the neighborhood at night.

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    Tom Hardy June 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    I like the LED lights. I still have the 60 watt sodium porch light on the photo timer above the garage WITH THE SAME BULB! I put up in 1986 It is still the brightest porch light on the block. I did it for my daughter when she started dating.

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    gutterbunnybikes June 20, 2015 at 8:51 am

    I use to be a paperboy and had to deliver papers before dawn. Never had a bike light. And had a couple roads without street lights that were unimproved on my route. My only wipe outs were on black ice.

    A couple of tips on riding in the dark without lights.

    Loosen your focus and look over the road or path – not at it, this allows more light to the rods on your retina for better night vision. Your cones (color receptors in the center of your vision) are pretty much worthless at night.

    Loosen grip on handlebars for unexpected bumps, don’t lock your arms.

    And shift some of your weight from your butt onto your legs as you pedal, you don’t have to leave the saddle but putting more of your weight on the pedals the lower your center of gravity is.

    Don’t ride as fast.

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    BIKELEPTIC June 20, 2015 at 9:04 am

    There are a few people that have mentioned lights that are awkwardly shining directly into their windows. I want to definitely encourage you to reach out to PBOT to get these addressed. There ARE protocols to get these fixed!

    This can turn into a health issue, which can then turn into a disabling issues relating to sleep disturbances, fatigue, confusion, problems with memory, rapidly changing moods, anxiety, depression, weight changes. . . the list goes on and is nearly endless. Sleep is essential to our life.

    If the lights are causing undue hardship and forcing you to be unable to have equal enjoyment of your dwelling; therefore unintended strain on your daily (or nightly life) definitely inform someone. Document it. The ADA has protocols about these things.

    On a side note; if there are other lights (not these new lights, which I am in favor of as long as they are correctly directed at the street/sidewalk and not into people’s dwellings) for instance in private complexes, then you are covered by the Fair Housing Amendments Act (42 USC 3601) which permits individuals with disabilities the opportunity to request a reasonable accommodation rules, policies, practices or services.

    Documentation is key, as I mentioned; which could include going to the doctor and letting them know that you haven’t been sleeping because of the glaring suns of Xanthar have been shining through your window every night. Saving receipts if you have to purchase multiple black-out curtains with inevitably don’t work for piercing nightly laser-light shows on your front porch. You can rant/rave and say as much as you want. Proof is one thing. It’s difficult to prove anything. But documentation can go a long way.

    Just a helpful tip from a light-sensitive gal with some light-sensitive experience.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu June 20, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Will these turn on for pedestrians and cyclists, or only for cars? How will the residents like bright lights turning on and off and on and off outside their windows?

    This sounds like something for a freeway.

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    barbLin July 3, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    chimming in late here but they were just installed on our street. Thums up!! Less orangy glare coming in the upstairs windows, our bedroom darker for sure, better view of street. Also BONUS – really trippy geometric shadows on the sidewalk! It only took 2 minutes to switch out the fixture. I’m a fan.

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      Anne Hawley July 3, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      I just noticed my new streetlight too! Glad you came back to comment. I like the effect. It was kind of competing with the silvery moon.

      I still wish they’d have aimed the beams more precisely down to the street, but the improvement over the garish orange light that blared into my front windows is significant.

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    Lauren Swick November 2, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I understand the advantages for the new energy efficient street lights and it seems to be a smart investment to be making in the city. The biggest complaint I have, and everyone else I have had this conversation with (and even overheard the conversations of others having the same complaint), is that the 6 small lights create a dizzying effect where the shadows of trees, street wires, poles, etc. become multiplied. As a bike commuter, I have noticed feeling less safe biking on streets with the new lighting because of this. Also walking at night has become less pleasant because of the dizzying effects the lights are making. It seems to me, that if a cover was installed over the lights (similar to the old ones), this would solve the multiplying shadow pattern effect. I realize it would cost more money, but with the savings already of $100,000 /month from replacing the old lights, it sounds that this would be feasible and a smart/necessary investment, creating a safer and more pleasant atmosphere at night in this city.

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