Let there be light – bright, new, modern light.
The LED fixture installed Friday on Crittenden Avenue near Broadway completed a 200-streetlight pilot program area in the Old South End.
Leslie Ramos, 15, and Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson watch with others as the last of 200 LED fixtures in the community of Old South is installed on Crittenden Avenue as part of the 2017 SMART City Pilot Program, Friday, Sept. 8.
Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson – who was expected by some spectators to rise in a bucket truck and install the final light-emitting diodes herself, but instead stayed on the ground – said the lights would promote safety and vitality in the area.
“The LED pilot project is part of the city’s desire to be a smart city and the three pilot projects are just the beginning in being a smarter and more innovative city,” the mayor said. “By embracing new technology, the citizens of Toledo will improve our mobility and create more livable neighborhoods.”
Toledo City Council in July approved three pilot programs for the energy-saving LED street lighting.
Council voted 12-0 each for three separate ordinances to improve lighting in a portion of the Old South End; on Garden Estates Drive from Sylvania Avenue to Rose Garden Drive; and on Bancroft Street between Maplewood Avenue and Collingwood Boulevard.
Mayor Hicks-Hudson said she wants LED street lights installed citywide in two years. The pilot programs will allow city officials to devise the citywide plan, she said.
The Old South End, the largest of the three pilot areas, was identified for the new lights more than a year ago and included in a neighborhood plan approved by council.
Brenden Ottney, 20, of Harding Drive said the brighter lights make people feel safer.
“There is a lot of gang violence and things that go on you don't catch when you are inside,” he said. “Now you feel safer ... I can still walk on the sidewalk and still feel safe.”
Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, lauded the plan for the Old South End and credited the FLOC Homies Union, a youth leadership program, for pushing the idea for the neighborhood.
David Poska, director of operations services for Toledo Edison, said the fixtures are roughly the same as the mercury vapor or high-pressure sodium lights that were removed but they use less energy and will last at least 20 years.
“It's a brighter light for more energy efficiency,” he said.
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