Mayor Emanuel Announces New Street Lights; Requests Public Feedback Before Installation

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) today to announce a public demonstration of next-generation streetlights in seven neighborhoods as part of the Chicago Smart Lighting Project, which will upgrade streetlights across the city. Residents are being asked to provide feedback on the new lighting, which represents the latest advances in lighting technology, through the end of the year.

“The installation of better, smarter and more-reliable street lighting is a win-win; it’s a win for energy efficiency and a win for quality of life in neighborhoods throughout the city of Chicago,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Not only do these new lights last two- to three-times longer than the existing outdated streetlights, the new lighting management system will automatically notify the City when a light goes out – eliminating the need for calls to 3-1-1 to report outages.”

Each of the seven neighborhoods selected for the demonstration will feature the new lighting over one arterial street, one residential block and one alley. Residents will be asked to provide feedback about light quality, lighting levels and visibility.

Residents can submit their feedback online, by completing a short survey found at www.chicagoinfrastructure.org or www.chicagodot.org through the end of the year. Comments may also be submitted by mail to CDOT Streetlight Demo, 30 N. LaSalle St., Suite 1100, Chicago, IL 60602.

“Before we finalize the selection of new light fixtures, we believe it is important that we conduct field tests of the lighting in Chicago’s neighborhoods so that both residents and our own lighting experts can see how these lighting levels perform,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “All the feedback we get will be used to finalize the specifications for the new lights that we will be installing in all neighborhoods.”

The Chicago Smart Lighting Project is designed to enhance quality of life for residents by providing better, more-reliable and longer-lasting outdoor lighting. The new lights will also improve response times to outages by including a wireless management system that provides real-time outage updates.

The Smart Lighting Project procurement is being led by the CIT, in close coordination with CDOT and other City departments and agencies. Feedback from residents will be used to help inform the final specifications for the light fixtures. Responses for the Request for Proposals (RFP) are due in January. The City and CIT will recommend a winning vendor team to the City Council for approval in early 2017, with installations beginning soon after Council approval.

“We are very pleased to be nearing the final stages of the procurement process,” CIT Executive Director Leslie Darling said. “With a project of this magnitude, it’s important that the public have an opportunity to have a say in the process before we make a final recommendation.”

The city-wide lighting modernization initiative will replace approximately 270,000 outdated high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps with modern, energy-efficient LED lights over the next four years. These new lights, which will be owned and operated by the City, will consume 50-75 percent less electricity than existing HPS lights, generating significant electricity cost savings that will be used to finance the cost of the modernization.

The Chicago Smart Lighting Project will be one of the largest LED conversions projects in the country and will create the nation’s largest lighting control network. The project will also include targeted repairs to existing poles and wiring, with the goal of extending useful life and reducing failure rates.

The Chicago Smart Lighting Project procurement will continue the progress Mayor Emanuel has made in ensuring City initiatives are designed to generate investments and jobs in the neighborhoods that need them most. Bidders on the RFP are required to include a plan for maximizing the participation of Chicago’s workforce.