Sunday, August 29, 2010

Safety Downtown

The Strand condo on Waterfront Drive Safe enough in the day but the park across the street can be very dark.

Los Angeles The 6th Street Bridge before (left) and after (right) the LED conversion (Bureau of Street Lighting )

The Downtown Business Improvement Zone from the downtown has released another study that says that people feel safer living downtown.

The women interviewed said they don't feel safe at night and the BIZ talked about their security programs and push for more police. Fairly standard moves and ones that can and do make people more secure. However, there are other ways for the city to try and make the downtown feel safer.

The one thing that is often heard is that people are afraid to go out at night. And why wouldn't they be? They sightlines are limited, the shadows are perfect for hiding and there are fewer people than the day. One of the big changes that seem to make the most sense is to find better lighting.

All over North America cities are changing from high pressure sodium lights to LED lights. As with many things, Winnipeg seems very slow to adopt the idea.

Los Angeles is well on the way in terms of transforming its streets. The picture above shows the difference. Some people hated the brightness but others emphasized that they are more efficient and also made people more secure in their neighbourhoods. If there is one place where the lights make sense it is the downtown.

I suspect this isn't even on the city's radar.

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mrchristian said...

Interesting. There was that lighting study that the BIZ did a couple of years back. The main gist was to get building owners to light their buildings but one of the findings was that our streets are poorly lit - not so much the quantity but the quality of light does little for visibility on sidewalks.

LED might be a good solution but many northern cities are having issues with LED. They're so efficient that they generate no heat and the heads freeze into a ball of snow and ice in the winter.

The city should do a test patch before jumping on the LED bandwagon.

John Dobbin said...

I certainly have heard about the technical issues over LED but several companies including some in Canada are working on fixes.

I totally agree on a test run on the lights. However, is it even something the city is considering?

Unum said...

I think some lights in front of the MTS Centre were converted to give off white light as opposed to orange. I'm not sure why exactly they did it though.

The Great Canadian Talk Show said...

"the quality of light does little for visibility on sidewalks."

The policy of the city is that lighting is for the roadway and that is their policy. The West End biz has learned this one the hard way. The city hall bureaucrats do not care if the sidewalks are in the dark or not because the rules don't make them care and common sense is not a requirement to cash a cheque from the taxpayers.

John Dobbin said...

If lighting for traffic was truly the focus for the city, they would consider LED. The before and after pictures in Los Angeles just for a bridge are amazing.

Orange Rod said...

Unum, the lights in front of the MTS centre were done for the Juno Awards a few years back. I always wondered why our city hasn't done the LED thing.