BY KRISSI HUMBARD — Parts of West Hyattsville are looking a little brighter, thanks to some lighting upgrades.
Department of Public Works (DPW) staff presented an update on the lighting project at the Feb. 21 city council meeting. Phase One of the city’s lighting upgrade project has been completed. The initial phase consisted of 21 new lights and 73 upgrades to existing lights for a total cost of $94,710.62.
In March 2015, Charles P. Johnson and Associates (CPJ) completed a comprehensive Lighting and Pedestrian Safety study. The study found deficiencies with overall lighting in Hyattsville. The report cited deficiencies with the amount of lighting, the quality of lighting, and amount of coverage provided. The study recommended retrofitting existing lighting fixtures to LED lights to improve overall lighting conditions. The focus area for the study was West Hyattsville.
“I’m just so glad to see this. This is something that we’ve been talking about for the four years I’ve been on council, this deep need between the two metros for lighting,” Councilmember Patrick Paschall (Ward 3) said, before thanking the city staff for all their work.
The first phase did take some time to complete. DPW Facility Manager Mike Schmidl worked with Pepco on the upgrades. DPW Director Lesley Riddle explained “that it does take some time” because Pepco has to confirm Schmidl’s findings, and then put a proposal together, which DPW staff then presents to the city council for approval.
Riddle added that Schmidl has worked hard to streamline the process. “This second phase, we hope, will go much smoother.”
The site evaluation and inspections for Phase Two have been completed. Due to the size of the project area, staff split the second phase into two segments — segment 2.0 and segment 2.1 — which will be completed simultaneously. The second phase of the project includes installing 68 new lights on existing poles, and retrofitting 261 lights to LED. The project is expected to be complete later this year. The budget estimate for the second phase is $360,000.
Councilmember Paula Perry (Ward 4) emphatically thanked the city.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” she said, adding that she had pushed for lighting upgrades for 18 years. She suggested city staff tackle Oliver Street and Lancer Drive next, citing the awful lighting and the heavy pedestrian traffic on those streets.
“But thank you so much for finally getting started on this,” Perry said. “You don’t know how happy I am.”