After years of hoping and praying that Buffalo's outdated and ugly cobra head-style lamp standards would be eliminated and replaced with a more neighborhood-friendly and efficient model, there is actually signs of progress. This summer we should see Richmond Avenue undergo the change. From there, more streets will be added to the list.
The total replacement of highway-style lamp standards will not happen overnight. Rather, it will be a long process, as there are a 32,000 found throughout the city, most of which are outdated. While the conversion process might take a while, the good news is that we will be seeing a change for the better. According to Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak, The City is eyeing a bid project that would see the installation of LED technology. "At this point National Grid does not offer LEDs," Commissioner Stepniak told me. "That means that The City might look at purchasing and maintaining (or sub-contracting) the LEDs for long-term cost savings. The attractive Olmsted-approved lighting would ultimately pay for itself with the energy savings. We are looking at a very aggressive plan moving forward, starting with streets like Richmond and Ellicott. It's a big project, and it's an important one."
To me, this is very exciting news. As we see our neighborhoods beautified through grassroots initiatives, it irks me to see these industrial eyesores dotting our streets. They were installed during an era when the car was king and people were an afterthought. Today we're reevaluating the mistake and taking measures to rectify it. When I walk around neighborhoods like Elmwood and see these outdated lamp standards hanging out over the street, I can't help but avert my eyes... finally I can look at them and know that sometime in the near future (relatively speaking) they will be gone.