ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Petersburg is making a big change to make neighborhood streets brighter. Starting this week, the city and Duke Energy crews will switch out incandescent streetlights with LED lights.
Mayor Rick Kriseman says this could improve safety in crime ridden areas, make it easier for drivers to see pedestrians at night and save the city as much as $240,000 a year. The city's current electricity bill, including streetlights, is $3.5 million a year.
The city plans to work with Duke Energy to start replacing streetlights with LED bulbs beginning in South St. Pete, and across the entire city within the next 3 years. There are a total of 31,000 streetlights which will be converted to LED.
The first LED streetlights will be added at Silver Lake Park at 1311 11th Avenue South on Thursday evening.
Former St. Petersburg Council member Karl Nurse worked for several years to get the LED streetlights in place, but faced backlash from energy companies.
Residents in South St. Pete say LED bulbs are much needed. The LED streetlight bulbs are the same lumens, but appear brighter because the LEDs have white lights which more closely resembles daylight, versus incandescent bulbs which have an amber glow. The bulbs also have less wattage. A 40-watt LED bulb gives off the same amount of light as a 100-watt standard bulb.
Many residents have brought up concerns to St. Pete leaders for years, arguing an easy way to reduce crime is to make neighborhood streets brighter.