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LED street lights becoming more popular in Grand Rapids

The city plans to expand its utilization of LED fixtures in public street lights, deploying higher-volume installations of the technology in three areas: around the new Downtown Market, along Monroe Avenue at Riverside Park, beneath U.S. 131 by Grand Valley State University.
Grand Rapids currently has an estimated 100 LED street lights, and the city will evaluate whether all 18,000 lights in the system should get the fixtures.
“We are looking at an asset management strategy to consider just that,” said Christopher Zull, the city’s traffic safety manager. “We’re likely going to find a spot where that makes good business sense” as LED technology improves and costs come down.
“We’ve moved from the small-scale 3- and 6-fixture (installations) to a more large-scale 40-fixture test. As we’re upgrading street lighting for areas such as around the Downtown Market, we’ve asked for an LED option for that contract.”
Grand Rapids started installing LED street lights several years ago, but officials were disappointed with early results. With LED illumination having improved, the city now will hire a consultant to inventory street lights and lighting levels to assess the merits of broader LED installations.
Zull said citywide LED street light deployment could reduce electricity use by an estimated $425,000.
“This will not close the (budget) gap entirely,” he said. “The current business model (for street lighting) will not be able to achieve a complete sustainability state.”
Grand Rapids officials said they are budgeting $3.9 million for street lighting in the upcoming fiscal year, including about $1.8 million on electricity. The city projects about $1.8 million in direct revenue from street lighting services.
Grand Rapids leaders three years ago considered charging a fee for street lighting, but backed off.

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