Oahu neighborhood seeing things in new light

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The city unveiled the beginning of a pilot program to replace street lights with more energy-efficient fixtures.

But do they work? As KHON2 found out, some may argue a little too much.

It’s been 30 years since the city switched out any of its street lights so it’s a change for sure, one that could take some getting used to.

In the daytime you may not notice much of a change on Pahoa Avenue in Kahala.

But, there are light fixtures that aren’t like the rest.

They are brand new and feature LED technology.

“Let me ask you this does it save energy?” Kahala Park Caretaker John Krason said.

“It does,” KHON2 responded.

“That’s where we are at in this day and age of solar energy save this and cut back on that,” Krason said.

There are 43 of them in all in Kahala, the first Oahu neighborhood to test them out, but more are to come.

This week, Manoa will get a new glow with 37 LED lights.

Followed by 52 additional lights in Nuuanu and 48 more in Mililani mauka later in June.

“Why are we doing it? It’s about health and safety, brighter lights mean fewer people will get injured as they walk around our neighborhoods particularly in crosswalks,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.

“Let’s see what it looks like, whatever we do we will get complaints but if it’s all about public safety I’m all for it,” Krason said.

It’s also about savings.

All 180 new lights were federally funded with a total cost of $79,000 and they’ll use 40 percent less energy, increasing the lights lifespan from 20,000 to 100,000 plus hours.

The most noticeable change is what was once a yellow glow, is now a bright, white light.

Putting two lights side by side, you can see the difference.

“They’re on John what do you think?” KHON2 said.

“They’re great I like it I don’t see where residents should be complaining,” Krason said.

Other cities have had complaints about LED street lights being too bright, but Honolulu is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles and Las Vegas in attempts to limit light glare to drivers.

“The good thing is we can direct the light downward so it doesn’t go outward if we don’t want it to,” Caldwell said.

The city is open to comments.

If the pilot project works, the mayor wants to see the new lights up island wide.

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