Dec. 20, 2018 By Meghan Sackman
Roosevelt Avenue just got a whole lot brighter.
Officials announced earlier this week that the first phase of work on a street lighting project through Roosevelt Avenue has recently wrapped up, with revamped street lighting featuring new “pedestrian arms” installed over more than 20 blocks along the stretch.
The changes can be seen from 90th Street to 111th Street on the avenue, and come after more than $500,000 in city council allocations for the project.
“We’ve needed these on Roosevelt for years,” Council Member Francisco Moya said on social media about the project on Monday.
Moya said the goal of the initiative is to improve pedestrian safety, help make the dozens of small businesses along the stretch visible and ultimately enhance quality of life for all.
The 138 poles along the 21-block stretch now feature a second, slightly lower illuminating arm that faces and lights up the sidewalks. The “ped arm” installations, according to the DOT, began in late October and wrapped up toward the end of last month.
Work on Roosevelt Avenue lights, however, goes further back, following former Council Member Julissa Ferraras’ “New Deal Plan for Roosevelt Avenue” put forth in 2013.
The plan, implemented in 2015, saw the yellow, 100- and 150-watt lights on the poles between 90th and 111th Street replaced with new and brighter 78- and 91-watt LED lights.
Lighting up Roosevelt Avenue has always proven tricky, as the 7 train support columns create shadows along the roadway, and the elevated track structure itself limits the height of the poles.
The changes, however, are set to overcome the challenges.
“Especially during the darkest months of the year, new energy-efficient lighting upgrades critical infrastructure and creates a safer environment,” a DOT spokesperson said about the project. “That benefits local business, but because Roosevelt is also a Vision Zero Priority corridor, the brighter streets and sidewalks will be beneficial for traffic safety as well.”
The agency is also moving to install new poles with pedestrian arms and LED lights between 61st and 80th Streets on the avenue, with work in the next phase to begin in March 2019.