CARLSBAD — The City Council approved a new safety and economic lighting program for Carlsbad Village.
During its June 25 meeting, the council heard a presentation detailing a 15-month study about the potential for lighting. The current decorative lighting was part of a pilot program along State and Roosevelt streets, Carlsbad Village Drive and Grand Avenue.
The city will create different themes based on the streets and their functionality. All new lights would be LED, while older ones would transition to LED to stay consistent with the Climate Action Plan.
The city hired Stantec Consulting Services in February 2018 for $120,240 to perform the study. Paul Erickson, an electrical engineer with Stantec, said his firm brought on San Diego-based MIG, which specialize in landscape architecture and urban design.
“Switching over to LED … smart city applications, twinkle lighting and finally, a fourth item that there was some observation that enhanced lighting improved businesses,” he said of trends found when discussing the issue with other cities.
Erickson said one goal along State Street and Carlsbad Boulevard is to have lights from Beech Avenue to Oak Avenue. In addition, light poles would incorporate the city’s logo to add an “identity” for when motorists and visitors enter the Village.
“In general, the Village seems dark, it’s inconsistent with light levels and parking lots and alleyways feel unsafe,” Erickson said.
The estimated cost of the project is $5.37 million, which will be funded through the Capital Improvement Program over the next several years, according to Claudia Huerta, the city’s village manager. For Fiscal Year 2019-20, the council approved an initial lighting project for $552,500.
The study only found one example of a thorough economic and safety report worldwide. In Liverpool, England, the study showed decorative lighting increased business revenue by £3.2 million and people felt safer.
Another report detailing temporary lighting in Alingas, Sweden, reveals a light festival each year accounts for more revenue than the holiday season.
Erickson said his firmed reached out to nine California cities to see what how their plans were executed.
“We got really good feedback from nine cities in California,” Rick Barrett, principal with MIG said.
The study recommends distinct lighting themes for the different street typologies — through the addition of decorative lighting such as pedestrian-scale lamp post in most areas and twinkle lighting, tree uplighting, or artistic lighting in specific areas. The council, though, opted to not include adding uplighting to new palm trees presented in the report. Councilwoman Cori Schumacher said she was not a fan of palm trees as part of the project, saying there are other native trees more in line with the presenting the city’s “small town, beach charm” feel.
The recommendations include best practices for lighting hierarchy, glare and color control, lighting timing, illumination placement and brightness parameters for various streetscape elements such as trees, signage, and parking lots. A custom luminaire bracket is proposed for key east to west and north to south streets, such as Carlsbad Village Drive and Carlsbad Boulevard.
Photo Caption: The Carlsbad City Council approved a new decorative lighting project to enhance business and safety in Carlsbad Village. The estimated cost of the project is $5.37 million, spread out over several years. Photo by Steve Puterski