Dear PoP – Who Gets New Street Lamps?


“Dear PoP,

Why do some neighborhoods have historic looking gas lamps along their streets, while others are lit with ugly 1970’s lamp posts? Even streets that are not designated in a historic district have installed gas lamps. How does the District determine which streets qualify for street improvements?”

I’ve noted these lamps a few times. I think I’ve seen them on H St, NE, a large section of Georgia Ave, 11th Street, NW in Shaw and maybe one or two other spots.

Though, I’m fairly certain they are just regular electric lamps. Are there gas lamps that I’ve missed? If so, where have you spotted them? Anyone know how the location for these new lamps are chosen?

15 Comment

  • I have seen them on Brentwood Road over by Giant/Home Depot. Also I have seen them on 12th Street (I think) in Brookland.

  • Streets that are in the Great Streets Initiative are getting upgraded street lamps
    The Great Streets program mainly focuses on corridors in eastern more “up and coming” parts of DC,a,1249,q,638970,ddotNav_GID,1754,ddotNav,%7C34241%7C,.asp

    Also the DC Main Streets program is another way streets would be getting lighting upgrades. The Main Street program focuses on “neighborhood downtowns” all over the city, including Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Shaw, Georgia Ave Gateway, H St. NE and Barracks row (already done)

  • Shouldnt you keep the ugly 1970’s lamps to preserve the historic look than have new lamps, probably made in China that are just pretty to look at?

    Whats mnore historic. something from 1970 or something from 2010?

    Or maybe you dont like the history of the 1970s.

  • They are also going to be installed along Sherman Ave from Park Rd to Florida in line with DCs Sherman Avenu Beautification Project.

  • But they’re not just on Main Streets or Great Streets, a good stretch of L St NE between 3rd & 12th have them as well. Is it as simple as submitting a petition to DDOT? I want pretty lights!

    • Seriously, who should I talk to about replacing terrible street lamps with Washington Globes? DDOT?

      My street (Abbey Pl) which is about 1000 feet long is anchored by two streets (M and L NE) which have undergone replacement of existing lamps.

      • Prince Of Petworth

        Here is what DDOT wrote to me on twitter:

        “We install new lights as part of streetscape projects. Outside of that I will have to check to see if you can request an upgrade”

  • It’s not a stupid remark.

    If the “original” street lamps are no longer in place, I’d much rather have 1970s lamps then fake retro lamps that aren’t historically correct at all. If new street lamps must be installed contemporary designs should be used.

    • Why should they be contemporary? To me it seems like they should fit the era of the neighborhood they are being put into, and most of the city was built from 1890 thru the 1920s. They are called “Washington Globes” for a reason–they are authentic to the area, and I don’t mind if the new ones are reproductions.

      The 70s lights are all about being cheap and the harsh blue light is awful. What’s the comment about the lamps probably being made in China? Got anything to back that up? Would your contemporary lights not be made in China?

  • it’s also historic districts. Ledroit Park is now full of them (and I freaking love them)

  • you know what i hate? Besides historically inaccurate new street lamps? New streets. Why don’t we have historically accurate dirt streets? Who decided to replace them with Chinese made asphalt and concrete? Not me….

  • With the exception of DDOT-funded street improvements, most of the new Washington Globe lamps seen around town have been and are being installed in connection with privately-funded public space improvements (i.e., as part of a new development or major renovation which involves at least some open space). The DDOT guidelines for public space work specify that lamps must be upgraded. The type of lamp (teardrop, acorn, two-arm, etc.) is based on the particular area of the city in which the project is located.

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