Community Board 2 shines light on district’s dimming intersections

Garrison Avenue and Barretto Street are one of many CB2 intersections in need of LED lighting.
Photo by Patricio Robayo

Community Board 2 is shining a spotlight on issues concerning its district’s dim intersection street lighting.

According to the published February 2015 Register of Community Board Requests, CB 2 specified the installation of district-wide LED street lighting as its capital priority for fiscal year 2016.

The board wishes to have these energy efficient street light upgrades installed at such intersections as Bruckner Boulevard; Barretto Street; Tiffany Street; Longwood Avenue and E. 165th Street; Garrison Avenue, Barretto and Manida streets; Lafayette, Barretto and Manida streets; Southern Boulevard between Westchester Avenue and E. 167th Street; Westchester Avenue between Intervale Avenue and Southern Boulevard; and Whitlock Avenue from Westchester Avenue to E. 165th Street.

They explained these roadways have street lights, but their luminescence is weak and must be replaced with more effective lighting.

CB 2 asked the New York City Department of Transportation to aid in the project and were informed by NYCDOT it is being reviewed and under consideration by the Borough Commissioner’s office.

Rafael Salamanca, CB 2 district manager, explained the current situation presents a public safety concern following Human Resources Administration’s arrival which brings an additional 26,000 travelers through the district.

He added loitering is common at the poorly lit Manida Park and surrounding Barretto, Lafayette and Manida streets. Manida Street homeowners have complained about prostitution at the corner of Manida and Garrison.

“We need to brighten up the area with LED lighting and we’re eager for DOT to make the appropriate changes to keep things going for our district. This project would improve the quality of life for residents and for people coming to our community for services,” Salamanca explained.

A NYCDOT spokesperson revealed the Bronx is slated for a LED conversion next summer and the effort is being partially funded by PlaNYC, the Accelerated Conversion and Efficiency Program, and City Capital funding.

NYCDOT explained this will yield an annual savings of approximately $14 million with $6 million saved in electricity and $8 million in maintenance.

According to NYCDOT, LED lights in cobra head fixtures have lower wattages of 78 and 110 watts compared with High Pressure Sodium lights which use between 100 and 150 watts.

In addition, LEDs have an estimated lifespan of 20 years and are directional lights offering better street lumination while also reducing light pollution.

This conversion intends to aid the city in reducing its collective carbon footprint by 30% by 2030.

NYCDOT said approximately 500 intersection street lights were replaced with LEDs in all five boroughs as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Initiative.

Further, more than 2,000 under deck fixtures were replaced in the boroughs’ small underpasses and conversion is underway at all major highways.

Salamanca said CB 2’s capital project received support from The Point Community Development Corporation, the NYPD, the BankNote Building, HRA, Bronx Works, and the Manida Street homeowners.

“This is something we here have been fighting for a very long time especially in the case of the Bruckner which is poorly lit and sees people crossing over six lanes to reach their destinations. We are in full support of such top projects as the one Community Board 2 has put forth which seek to better our community and residents’ lives,” Maria Torres, The Point CDC president stated.

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