Residents say LED light transition needed to keep streets safe

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The City of Albany is in the midst of a $30 million project to convert street lights across the city to LED. With a rise in crime, residents say the conversion is needed now more than ever.

On Monday, city crews installed new street lights in the South End. It was a welcome for activist and South End resident Lukee Forbes who has patrolled the city streets to survey areas where lighting is an issue.

“I really wanted to get out into the streets because some of the lights were on, but the area was being blocked by trees, so I really wanted to make sure we keep track of things like that as well,” Forbes said.

Installations for the lights have been in the process for more than a year.

“This is one of the blocks where most of the lights from this block were broken. They were dim, flickering or completely off,” Forbes said as crews replaced lights on a section of South Pearl Street.

The installations were delayed by 16 weeks due to the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With 90 percent of lights converted to LED complete, the mayor’s office expects a full conversion by the end of the year.

“We need to open up our mouth and get verbal about the things that we don’t like and we have to be verbal about the things we do like as well,” said Albany Councilman Derek Johnson.

With gun violence and homicides eclipsing last year’s numbers, Johnson said the upgrades of the street lights are needed now more than ever.

“It makes people feel like people care about them,” Johnson said.

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