Upper Dublin Township is considering a township wide Street Light Reduction Program to cut energy costs and lower green house gas emissions. This program does not involve traffic signals—only street lights. The Street Light Reduction Program would be implemented over time. The Township obtained a professional review of its street lighting costs and imminent rate increases. Download the memo to the Public Safety and Services Committee. Currently the Township spends almost $250,000 per year for street lighting with 2,019 lights. 600 or 30% of them are the more expensive mercury vapor lights. It is recommended that the Township begin with a modest replacement and removal program.
The Township estimates that replacing the 600 mercury vapor lights with sodium vapor, a much more efficient light, would save about $15,000 per year and would be replaced over time. Additional cost or energy savings can be achieved by turning off some street lights, equipping some with programmable photocell timers, and leaving some lights to operate throughout the night. It is suggested that 72 lights be targeted for removal initially. Reducing energy consumption from street lights will result in a significant reduction to the Township’s carbon footprint. Additionally, ambient light levels will be reduced allowing for greater visibility of the night sky.
The Township provides the street lighting to light public ways for motorist and pedestrian safety, not to provide private property lighting.
The following are the criteria used to determine which street lights would qualify for removal:
Lights proposed for removal would be posted as such and turned off without having the physical structure removed for 30 days. Without significant complaint or challenge to the removal, it would then be scheduled for removal. The costs go down only if the light is removed.
Street lights that would operate with a programmable photocell timer:
Several academic studies have been published on the correlation between street lighting and crime. None of the studies make a direct correlation between increased street lighting and reduced crime. In fact some of the research indicates just the opposite, noting that the introduction of street lighting actually increased the occurrence of crime as perpetrators could monitor their actions without the use of flashlights or other lighting tools which could highlight the individuals’ presence. Street Lighting Projects- National Evaluation Program Phase I Report
There are; however, other aspects of public safety that are enhanced by the presence of street lighting. Some of these other valid issues include: crossing intersections as a motorist, pedestrian or cyclist; identification of unusual or unexpected roadway features, such as tight curves, medians or traffic calming devices; and visual support of critical facilities such as hospitals and fire stations.
Our Vanishing Night
National Geographic Magazine article on light pollution.
The Township of Upper Dublin
801 Loch Alsh Avenue
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Phone: (215) 643-1600
Fax: (215) 542-0797