DC’s 71,000 street lights to be upgraded

by Prince Of Petworth December 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm 22 Comments


From a press release:

“The District of Columbia has selected Citelum to manage and upgrade the city’s 71,000 street lights to a state-of-the-art, sustainable system. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced today that it has awarded Washington’s streetlight asset management contract to the company, which already manages urban lighting for some of the world’s most recognizable cities.

Citelum’s unique approach and experience will enable it to turn D.C.’s lighting from a reactive system to a proactive one, based on real-time information, which will greatly improve system management, public safety and cut use of electricity by more than half.

“We thank DDOT for its selection of Citelum and its confidence in us,” Citelum North America Chief Executive Ricard Ivern said. “With this decision, Washington, DC will have better lighting, safer streets, faster repairs and a smarter, more sustainable lighting system — all at a significant cost savings.”

A key part of the project will be Citelum’s installation of LED lighting in every Ward of the District, which will help to build Washington’s reputation as one of the greenest cities in the U.S. and add momentum to Mayor Vincent Gray’s Sustainable D.C. Plan.

Citelum will bring its global experience working in such cities as London, Paris, Venice, Madrid, Mexico City and Shanghai to the U.S. capital. The Paris-based company established its U.S. headquarters in the District in 2012. This project is expected to create 40 new jobs.”

  • Crittenden Resident

    Love the LED lights! Had two installed on our block and they are so much brighter… in a good way.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent! Thank You Mayor Gray. I hope that instead of the orange lights that are used in many of the neighborhoods, we can go to a cleaner “white” light. Will any light poles be updated? The silver, urban express way ones get the job done, but don’t belong in neighborhoods. The new lights installed in Kalorama Park made such a difference. I hope this is the direction the city is going with the new upgrade!

  • Anonymous

    I love it… will get rid of those horrible sodium lamps (the orange ones) on our block. any chance we can get some decorative posts in Ward 5 instead of the industrial style ones?

  • SF

    Yes! Let’s get rid of those horrid orange lights! Oh man, I have waited forever to be rid of the lights we have now. Clean white lights (like the new ones on the mall reflecting pool) will make a world of difference!

  • Anonymous

    Any idea as to the time frame?

  • dat

    I too would like to know if they plan on replacing the poles, or just the bulbs/globes.

    Also, are they doing anything to minimize the lights pointing into peoples’ homes, rather than downward onto the street/sidewalk?

    • Tall E

      Agreed! There’s a lot of light pollution due to the upright “historic” lamps. They’re attractive but terrible lighting the street.

    • spookiness


    • dcloafer


      They replaced all the streetlights along Georgia Ave a year or two ago, and they’re pretty but *way too bright*. My apartment is now way too bright at night.

      I really hope these lights face down to throw light on the street. There is no need to illuminate the city sky, people.

  • JohnnyReb

    If the new light posts on the New York Avenue bridge are any indication of what’s coming down the pike, I’m not looking forward to it – I find those lights harsh and distracting (but maybe my 30-something-year-old eyes are getting more persnickety with age), and it’s a “cold” look. Bring back gas lamps!

  • please no light pollution

    If Washington truly wanted to demonstrate how green it is it would, as others have noted, make sure that the light from streetlights is properly directed downward and not into bedrooms or up at the sky. In many of the city’s neighborhoods the streets are overly lit at night in a really wasteful and aesthetically unpleasant way. Go to a city like Berlin and you realize just how obnoxiously bright DC’s streets are.

    • Anonymous

      That’s a symptom of the requirement that dc street lights follow an historic standard. Besides, there are certainly many other pollutions we should be eliminating that are far more sinister than light pollution.

      • anonymous

        Spoken like someone who doesn’t have a streetlamp or three directly outside their bedroom window…

        Also, while of course I agree there are more serious forms of pollution, this is a form of pollution that it is incredibly easy to mitigate – more so than many other pollutants.

  • Anonymous

    Folks should walk Grant and then Sherman Circle to experience the difference. Sherman has bright LEDs. Grant still has the HPS.

  • Anonymous

    In Arlington, they can dim the lights as late night comes. Wonder if DC will have such capability….

  • emilysquirrely

    Kind of weird that DDOT is in charge of the street lights, no?

  • bb

    +1 to all the light pollution comments. We need to have street lights that point down.


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