The members of the Aspen City Council took a walk down Main Street Tuesday night to see what lighting improvements can be made for pedestrians.
At the end of the trip, they decided on two things. First, the fluorescent bulbs at five non-signaled intersections will be replaced with $450 enhanced LED lamps. Second, the city will test out a bollard-lit crosswalk at one intersection for a year.
The council got its first look at the bollard prototypes, which stand about 4 feet tall, this summer. During Tuesday’s work session, the council agreed to install the bollards this spring at Main and Garmisch streets, where there already is a system of rectangular, rapidly flashing lights for pedestrians. During the one-year trial, the council will judge the system’s effectiveness and field any complaints.
The 55-watt LED lamps will phase out bulbs at the following non-signaled Main Street intersections: Eighth, Third, Garmisch and Hunter streets. The bulbs at Cooper Avenue and Original Street also will be phased out. The LED lamps have a 10-year lifespan, compared with the two-year lifespan of fluorescent.
Though Mayor Steve Skadron said he anticipates negative feedback from the community concerning the bollards, the council agreed to the trial period.
“The real issue here is not necessarily the lighting. It’s the eight-lane superhighway we have running down the center of our town (called) Main Street,” Skadron said. “That’s the issue we should be addressing.”
City Engineer Tyler Christoff said the bollards will be pedestrian-activated, and the lighting will be confined to the crosswalk.
Because the lights will meet pedestrians head-on rather than from above, there will be better visibility for motorists.
“I think it increases the public safety by a lot without affecting the Dark Skies initiative substantially at all,” council member Adam Frisch said, referring to an initiative Skadron has pushed for in the past.
Council member Ann Mullins said it’s a low-cost option in comparison with a median running down Main Street, which a previous council had considered.
“If there’s substantial complaints, ... we can talk about it,” Frisch said. “But the vast majority of complaints about lighting in town had to do with that there’s not enough of it from a public-safety standpoint. People don’t feel safe walking around some parts of town, especially if it’s busy intersections.”