Create a Thriving Business District
Good outdoor lighting can create and encourage a pedestrian friendly environment, which is especially beneficial to neighborhood business districts. Pedestrian-scale lights improve walkway illumination for pedestrian traffic and enhance community safety and business exposure. Typically, this lighting is positioned over the sidewalk, rather than the street, at about 12 to 15 feet above the sidewalk.
The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) are currently working to install pedestrian lighting in business districts that requested these improvements through their neighborhood planning process. If your district did not include pedestrian lighting in its neighborhood plan, you can still work with the City to obtain this improvement.
Frequently asked questions:
Does pedestrian-scale lighting replace street lighting?Generally, pedestrian lights do not sufficiently light the street. However, some newer types of pedestrian-style light fixtures can be mounted higher and provide lighting on narrower streets as well as the sidewalks. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is the City department responsible for ensuring the proper street lighting levels and can help you determine the best street and pedestrian lighting combination for your area. Call Ahmed Darrat at SDOT at 206-733-9144 to discuss the options.
What pedestrian-scale lighting options can communities pursue for their neighborhood business areas?
In recognition of significant neighborhood interest, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has developed a pedestrian-scale lighting program with fixture options to choose from for placement along main business arterials. SDOT has four luminaires (i.e., lamp heads) of varying historic and aesthetic character. To maximize resources and minimize installation time, most neighborhoods have selected lights which are mounted on existing poles. A more expensive option is to install the lights on top of free-standing poles which receive power via underground conduit.
How do I get started?
The initial steps that need to be followed to pursue pedestrian-scale lighting for a neighborhood business area include:
When lights are installed, who bears responsibility for their maintenance? Who pays for the power?
City Light will assume maintenance responsibility and power cost. To qualify, the pedestrian lights must be installed in the right-of-way to enhance lighting in the sidewalk area, selected from the City Light standard pedestrian lighting options and be installed to meet City Light standards.
What should we consider when choosing a light fixture ?
Choose fixtures from the SDOT approved “menu.” This will ensure that replacement parts are readily available when repairs are necessary. Contact SDOT's Ahmed Darrat, 206‐733‐9144, ahmed.darrat@seattle for the menu.
Keep in mind that your pedestrian lights will not be effective if they are buried in the tree canopies. It may be several years before very small trees can grow tall enough to be pruned up to the levels of the pedestrian lights.
Where can examples of the pedestrian lights be found?
Some examples of pedestrian-scale lighting around the city include:
Who are the best contacts to talk with about pursuing pedestrian lighting ?
It is best to talk to the Department of Neighborhoods first. The best person to contact is the Neighborhood District Coordinator or the Neighborhood Service Center Coordinator for your neighborhood (see contact information below).
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