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Lighten Up Seattle!

Roadway Visibility Study Coming in Early March

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Seattle City Light (SCL) are teaming up with Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) to conduct a demonstration project that will evaluate the use of energy – saving LED streetlights. Similar tests have already been carried out in other cities such as Anchorage, San Jose and San Diego.  The studies, thus far, have shown that not only do LEDs (light-emitting diode) use less energy and therefore reduce costs, but they also provide a broader spectrum of frequencies and better visibility than the typical high-pressured sodium lights that Seattle currently uses.

The Northwest’s municipalities, including Seattle, currently have more than two million streetlights that will be coming to the end of their useful life over the next decade. Conceivably, as the old lights wear out, the LEDs, which have the potential for up to a 50 percent energy savings) could replace them.

So how will SDOT and SCL test the LED lights? One of the unique aspects of the test being conducted in Seattle, is the effectiveness the lights when the pavement is wet. The study is tentatively scheduled to take place on March 6, 7 and 8 on 15th Avenue NW from NW 65th Street to NW 80th Street. In order to carry out the study the street will be completely closed to all vehicles, except emergency response units, between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. each night.  Residents will not be able to enter or leave 15th Avenue NW by car or bus during the study periods, but are welcome to watch from the sidelines.  In fact, participants are now being recruited from the Seattle area to take part in the test and will be paid $40 for two to two and a half hours of their time. To register online, please visit:

Stay tuned for more information about this fascinating study as March draws near.

For more information on the study, the sustainability goals, and energy-efficiency assessments, please visit: