Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Street Lighting Policy

The last Council meeting was a pretty important one, in terms of the number of major policy decisions - many of which have been discussed for years and years - we finally made.

Another example: pedestrian-level street lighting. After years of effort, the Council voted last Friday to finalize this policy, and I’m pretty thrilled with how it ended up.

When the City reconstructs a street, the default expectation will be that pedestrian streetlights will be installed. If 51% of residents petition to opt out, the new streetlights will not be installed. In areas that the City has designated as pedestrian zones, 70% of residents will have to opt out. For street renovations in residential areas or other non-reconstruction situations, residents may opt in by a 70% petition. In all cases, the streetlights will be paid for by assessment to property owners.

Even more excitingly from an environmental perspective, the new policy states that all new streetlights will be full-cutoff, unless the Council approves a variance. This will reduce glare and light pollution. I am also very hopeful that we can transition soon to Light Emitting Diodes (or LEDs), a much more energy efficient lighting technology, which will both reduce the carbon emissions of city operations and save the City a significant amount of money, given that the number-one use of electricity by the City is for street lights.


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