Mayor Rahm Emanuel today launched a major initiative to upgrade more than 270,000 of the city’s street, alley and park lights to more reliable and higher-quality lighting. Over the next four years the Chicago Smart Lighting Project will improve safety and quality-of-life in neighborhoods across Chicago by replacing nearly all of the city’s outdated and inefficient High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps. The project will be one of the largest municipal lighting modernization programs in the country.
“By bringing our outdoor lighting into the 21st century, we will make our streets, sidewalks, alleys, and bike paths safer and improve the quality of life throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods” said Mayor Emanuel. “New lights will provide more reliable and improved nighttime visibility, giving communities a greater sense of safety. The process to achieve this for our communities may be complex, but improving our streetlights while creating jobs and strengthening our neighborhoods is a no brainer.”
The project will improve lighting quality and reliability throughout Chicago. It will utilize LED lights, which typically last three times longer than the current HPS lights, reducing the number of outages the system experiences. Public safety will be improved with clearer, brighter and more focused lighting. Additionally, the city’s responsiveness to outages will be improved with a lighting management system that will provide real-time updates when outages occur. The city currently relies on resident reporting of outages through the 311 system.
Replacement of the HPS lamps will come at no additional cost to Chicago taxpayers. The new lights will consume 50-75 percent less electricity than HPS lights, generating significant electricity cost savings that will be used to finance the cost of the modernization.
In coordination with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), and the Chicago Park District, the Smart Lighting Project is being spearheaded by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT), which launches the procurement process on Monday by issuing a Request for Qualifications and Proposals (RFQ/P).
“As we move to the next phase in this important project, CIT is committed to strategic investment in all of Chicago’s neighborhoods,” CIT Chairman Kurt Summers said. “Our infrastructure investments must address the ranging needs and priorities of working families, thus community participation in this process is critical to deliver a high value project for Chicago taxpayers.”
The program will replace approximately 85 percent of the city’s outdoor lights. The focus will be on the most common fixture types; ornamental fixtures may be converted in later stages.The project will include a public engagement process to solicit input from residents about preferences and priorities for neighborhood lighting. CDOT will continue to make targeted repairs or replacement of poles and wiring as part of the city’s capital program.
“CDOT receives more than 100 calls each day to report lighting outages,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “The new lighting management system that will be part of the Chicago Smart Lighting Project will greatly improve the efficiency of city forces and allow us to respond proactively when outages do occur and restore service more quickly. The longer life of LED lights will also greatly improve the reliability of our lighting system, enhancing safety for Chicago residents.”
The RFQ/P 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. The RFQ/P will require bidders to include a plan for maximizing the participation of Chicago’s workforce. The Project pre-submittal conference will be on May 3 at the new Malcolm X College Conference Center at 1900 W. Jackson Blvd. RFQ/P Part I responses will be due May 20.
All contracts with the selected bidder(s) will go before the City Council for approval. The work is expected to start early next year. Chicago’s streetlights will continue to be owned and operated by the city of Chicago.
The RFQ is available on the CIT’s website at chicagoinfrastructure.org. Responses are due back to the CIT on Friday, May 20, 2016.