PHILADELPHIA -- The University City Lighting Consortium will officially dedicate the neighborhood's new, more powerful streetlights at a 7 p.m. celebratory event, Tuesday, Oct. 3, on the lawn at the University of Pennsylvania's Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services, 3160 Chestnut St.
New lighting was installed in University City this year as part of a collective effort to improve the quality of life and to address the safety concerns of neighborhood residents. Launched in January, when Penn President Amy Gutmann allocated $1 million to fund an off-campus lighting project as part of a larger public-safety initiative, the effort became a consortium when University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, the Science Center, Drexel University and the University City District came on board, with the collaboration of PECO and the Philadelphia Streets Department.
"This project," Lewis Wendell, the UCD executive director, said, "reflects a new level of collaboration between the major institutions in University City, the City of Philadelphia Department of Streets and PECO. It is a good beginning for what will be a major effort to enhance public safety through improved pedestrian lighting throughout the University City District."
The partnership's goal is to improve the street and pedestrian lighting in the section of University City bounded by Schuylkill Avenue to the east, 45th Street to the west, Woodland Avenue to the south and JFK Boulevard to the north. This phase of the project includes the installation of more than 300 new light poles, each equipped with a 27,500-lumen output, which is more than 25 percent brighter than the previous lamps and which produces better light distribution, projecting the light to where it is needed.
The total cost of the project neared $2 million, with in-kind services provided by PECO and the Streets Department.
At the Oct. 3 event, local and state governmental officials as well as the partners, friends and neighbors in University City will join with the consortium members as they unveil one of the new lights installed along Chestnut Street. A short program will precede the ceremony, and refreshments will be served. A video program will feature a map highlighted with the locations of the new street lamps and photos that will illustrate the installation.
The event will mark the conclusion of this first phase of what the consortium members hope will be a multi-year project to provide residents with a safer and brighter walking and living environment. The group has applied for a $575,000 federal grant to fund additional new pedestrian lighting during the next few months in more sections of University City.