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June 18, 2010 at 12:12 PM

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Seattle puts LED street lights in Belltown and Central Area

Posted by Emily Heffter

Seattle is replacing streetlights in Belltown and the Central Area with bright white -- and more energy efficient -- LED lights.

In Belltown, LEDs will be installed in a four-block area on 2nd Avenue between Wall and Lenora streets. In the Central District, the street lights will be replaced along a five-block strip of Cherry Street between 23rd Avenue East and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.

The new lights expand a pilot project already underway.

"Effective streetlighting is essential to fostering safe neighborhoods and a safe nightlife environment," Councilmember Bruce Harrell said in a news release.

There are 84,000 street lights in Seattle. The city wants to replace all of them with LEDs. They last longer -- saving money on replacements -- and cast a truer light.

When I spoke with Harrell yesterday about the importance of the lights, he cited a recent example of why that is important. After the Halloween night shooting death of a police officer in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood, witnesses reported seeing a white car. The car actually was light blue -- but it looked white under the old street lights in the area.

In April, the federal government selected Seattle to lead an effort to get more cities to convert to LED street lights.

The city plans to install 5,000 LEDs in 2010 and 40,000 over the next five years. Right now, there are LEDs in Capitol Hill, West Seattle and South Park.

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