As part of its continued effort to reduce the city’s energy use, the Department of Transportation is installing new energy-efficient lights in Bayside.
Residents in the Bayside Hills section of the neighborhood noticed light bases going up on Bell Boulevard between 48th and 50th avenues. According to a DOT spokesperson, the agency plans to remove four existing lampposts from the sidewalk and install six lampposts in the center median along the stretch.
All of the new lampposts will be energy-efficient LEDs, which replaces the current standard high-pressure sodium street lights. DOT maintains 262,000 lights on the street, bridges and underpasses, 12,000 in parks and 26,000 on highways.
DOT began testing the LEDs on streets and sidewalks in Central Park and along the FDR Drive in 2009. The agency partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Climate Group on the LightSavers program, first established in Toronto in 2008. The initiative’s purpose is to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously improving energy efficiency.
The Climate Group also plans to bring the LightSavers program to other cities including Toronto, London, Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
In 2013, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that DOT would retrofit all 250,000 of the city’s street lights with energy-efficient LEDs, which reportedly saves $6 million in energy and $8 million in maintenance a year.
DOT’s energy efficiency goals were outlined in Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030, which calls for a 30 percent reduction of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
According to the agency, the current high-pressure sodium lights last six years, compared to more sustainable LEDs, which can last up to 20 years before needing replacement. The LED lighting also produces a “crisper, whiter light” under lower intensity, allowing for increased visibility at night.