In July 2021, the Goleta City Council voted to approve an LED Street Lighting Project. The project proposed the conversion of the city-owned street lights to LED lights; the purpose for the change was to reduce energy use and cost.
However, there are certain areas of Goleta which appear to have been neglected during the street lighting project.
According to a map included in the agenda item from the July 2021 council meeting, Nectarine Ave. has three lights which fell outside of the scope of the project. Alondra Dr. between Nectarine Ave. and Mallard Ave. has four street lights, two of which were proposed to be fitted with 70w lights. Mallard Ave., between Gato Ave. and Alondra Dr., has three lights, two of which were proposed to be fitted with 70w lights. According to another map under the agenda item showing the areas of Mallard Ave. and Mandarin Dr., the lights in those areas fell outside of the scope of the project.
During the July 2021 council meeting, the majority of the public comments expressed concern about the excessive brightness of the LED lights.
“I am concerned about the brightness of the proposed streetlight lamp replacements in lights on Cathedral Oaks between Winchester Canyon and Calle Real. The proposed lights (84W, 8,500 lumen LED) are way too bright for this area – I live in Winchester Commons and the proposed lights will overlight the homes on Cathedral Oaks. A more appropriate lumination would be 22W Type B, LEDs with 2,600 lumens. And this goes for those lights on Winchester Canyon and Calle Real,” said Patrick Foster, resident of Winchester Commons and professor at SBCC, at the meeting.”There is no need for this increased brightness, it will cost more money to operate, and it violates the will of the people living in the area. If the city of Goleta cannot solve this homeowner issue, what good is city government?”
Included in the staff presentation were the results of a survey, known as the LED Street Lighting Project Pilot Study. “Residents were asked to rank various streetlights in the Canon Green Drive neighborhood and provide feedback,” according to the agenda item. According to the results of the study the highest percentage of residents (36 percent) were concerned with brightness. The remaining concerns were: color/temperature (28 percent), night sky compliance (21 percent) and environmental issues (three percent).
“In Old Town, nearly half of the street lights were replaced and upgraded with LED bulbs. For the rest, I will see that they are prioritized for upgrades as soon as possible,” Councilman Kyle Richards told the News-Press in an email.
“The city of Goleta has made tremendous efforts in acquiring street lights from Southern California Edison (SCE) and in conversion to LED lighting. I support building on these efforts so that the city can be more expedient in responding to concerns around neighborhood lighting. Past efforts with SCE resulted in only a portion of the streetlights in Old Town being acquired – a large number of streetlights in Old Town are still under the control of SCE. I’ve worked with SCE in the past and will engage with them on this topic in line with resident input,” Councilwoman Luz Reyes-Martin told the News-Press in an email. “I encourage residents to reach out to the council with their concerns around lighting or a desire for additional street lights. I am available to speak to any resident in English or Spanish to hear from them directly. Residents can also submit a Goleta CityAssist request to inform the city of issues with existing streetlights and also inquire about additional lighting needs.”
“With the acquisition of the over 1,400 Street Lights in March 2020, the city retrofitted the lighting fixtures from sodium-based lights to LED. This project did not involve installing any new street light poles. It involved acquisition and replacement only,” Charlie Ebeling, Director of Public Works told the News-Press in an email.
The News-Press asked Mr. Ebeling if more lights would be added to streets that did not receive much attention in 2021: “The remaining streetlights are still owned and maintained by SCE. Currently, SCE is undergoing their own LED conversion process. Lighting is an important component of the City’s Infrastructure and is a component which is considered in Capital Improvement Projects. If there is a need or an opportunity, lighting is one of the features which is looked at during project design. If feasible from a scope of work and budget consideration, lighting will be added where needed. An example of current CIP projects which will be going to construction this year that includes the addition of lighting is the Hollister Class I Bike Path Lighting Project. This project will add lighting for the pedestrian/bicycle multi-use path to help improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. This was a need identified during the original project development and the City was able to apply for and receive a Measure A grant to add lighting to the path. Another current project which will be in Construction later this year is the Ekwill Street and Fowler Road extension project which includes new lighting along Ekwill Street in Old Town. As part of the Development Review process, the City may require the installation of new streetlights as a condition of approval when applicable.”
“The remaining streetlights are still owned and maintained by SCE. Currently, SCE is undergoing their own LED conversion process which would improve brightness to the existing light fixtures; no new poles are anticipated to be installed,” said Director Ebeling.
To request the installation of additional street light poles, submit your request to Michael Winnewisser, assistant engineer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New light pole requests are confirmed through a local lighting analysis. If the analysis determines that a new pole is necessary to improve any lighting issues in the area, a new pole will be installed.