Evanston city staff will seek City Council approval Monday of a plan to install fiberglass substitutes for 14 of the city’s metal Tallmadge street light poles.

The test will be conducted on a three block stretch of Seward Street between Dodge and Wesley avenues.

The new polls and fixtures cost about 20 percent less than the current ones and replicate most of the design features of the existing street lights.

Public Works Director Dave Stoneback says the multi-part design of the current poles lets water seep in around the base, causing deterioration of the bolts that fasten the poles to the concrete foundation. He says the one-piece design of the new poles should prevent rainwater from getting into the base.

He estimates the new Whatley poles should last 100 years or more — while some of the existing poles have started to fail in 35 to 40 years.

He says the new aluminum Windsor light fixtures atop the poles use an LED panel that permits adjusting the illuminated area. They’re expected to reduce energy consumption and save on electricity costs.

Related stories

City’s love of Tallmadge lights may be dimming (8/18/15)

City hopes to shed new light on streets (7/24/15)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Tallmadge Lights are iconic and add class to our city
    I can’t imagine the fiberglass versions are as nice as the iron ones. Can we not cheap out on this and get the real ones and have some pride in our beautiful suburb? Also, the current new bulbs are very jarring and too bright and take something away from the design. Can we at least have a softer light or an insert inside the lights as to not have the old school fluorescent office light feel? Additionally. the lighting on Sheridan Road, especially near Northwestern, is overkillI and makes formerly beautiful Sheridan Road looks light Lake Shore Drive. There are the giant overhead arc lights with a horrible blazing light, the pedestrian lights AND the brighter-than-ever Tallmadge lights. There is a a general cheapening of everything in Evanston and taking away from the character and beauty. Anything to save a buck or the most efficient. Why isn’t Wilmette having this happen? Why are their lights sufficient? Why is their suburb as beautiful as ever and we are losing a lot all the time. Have a little pride in the town, city staff and city council. We don’t always have to go the cheap way out.

    1. Obviously rich

      The writer clearly has money to burn since "spare no expense" seems to be his/her philosophy. 
      In addition the writer likes the dark streets we have and thus must not get out at night ot face trying to bike, drive or walk and face the crime.
      Either that or the servants do all the shopping and has drivers to take him/her everywhere on the rare occasion of goiing out..

      1. Grew up here and you?

        In fact, I spent a good part of my childhood living 2 blocks from Howard, east of Ridge. Not the lap of luxury you describe and we still weren't clamoring for used car parking lot level lighting.I think the beautiful aspects of Evanston inspired me to up my game, actually. I have a feeling you will criticize that. I moved back here a few years ago and it looks so much worse. All the character is disappearing. Character is an important part of this city too. Believe me, I get all of our problems and am all in, but we don't have to make our city so generic along the way. You still need to attract people to move here that are interested in an attractive place to live. 

        1. Lighting

          I agree with you that much of the character is disappearing and I'm concerned with lighting discussions for the future.  I live in a residential section of what our city terms an artery street.  A comment was made by one of our city department employees at a recent council meeting that lighting decisions needed to be made for artery streets.  What is concerning is that I enjoy the current level of light that filters into my home at night and I'd definitely prefer to keep that level.  People who do not live in the residential section of artery streets may want to see brighter lighting than what is currently in place in those places, but that lighting was not here when current residents purchased our homes, nor was it a discussion point.  Any changes in lighting levels needs to be addressed at the neighborhood level with the residents who live on those streets.  In our business districts, increased lighting is definitely a bonus.  In residential artery street areas, keep what we have.  As for the light fixtures, I'm in favor of keeping the old look, but if there is something that is less expensive and closely resembles our current fixture, I'm not against the change.

          1. Tallmadge Lighting Replacement Trial Fixtures

            I happened to walk the dog rather late last night (10:15 PM) and had the opportunity to see one of these lights at the corner of Wesley and Seward.  The fixture itself is rather nice.  It fits in with our streetscape quite well.  It seems to be somewhat taller than the older Tallmadge fixture and the pole is dramatically thinner.  The glass in the fixture surrounding the LED lights is clear glass instead of the frosted glass in the current Tallmadge fixture.  Regarding the light output, it was VERY BRIGHT.  As a matter of fact, it was so bright that it burned my retinas for some minutes after looking at it. 

            There has been some research done that LED lighting is interrupting peoples’ circadian rhythm and causing sleep issues and Dave Stoneback seems to be doing a good job of researching the possibilities.  He explained at a recent Ward meeting that these lights are dimmable at certain hours.  I would suggest two things for this type of lighting.  First, many people (and certainly many of our children) are in bed trying to get a good night of sleep by 10PM.  These should definitely be dimmed more at that hour than the one I saw last night.  On this point, one might make the argument that residents could make a sizeable investment for blackout blinds in their home, but not all residents are finacially able to make these investments so we might consider all levels of income and investments required by the homeowner as we decide on lighting.  Second, we should consider frosted glass instead of the clear glass that is in the fixture so that the retina isn’t scorched.  Don’t take my word for it… please check out the lights for yourself.

            This particular light was not placed in an area near a tree.  I’m wondering how these lights placed in tree-heavey easement areas will be impacted.  I intend to go back and walk Seward from Wesley to Dodge so that I can assess this particular point.  I believe when people complain about the darkness of Evanston, it is not always the lights themselves that are the problem.  Many of them are placed in areas where trees block and filter the lighting.  I’m not in favor of cutting back our tree population or hacking it to satisfy a group of people who chose to move here even though they thought the streets were dark.  There are just as many people who moved here because of the country feel in this very city-type suburb.  Our streetscape is quite beautiful.  Further, if people drove the speed limit instead of raced through town, the low lighting wouldn’t be as large a problem as they like to make it for pedestrian safety.  I’ve heard many people over the years complain about how they almost hit a pedestrian on our dark streets and when I asked them how fast they were driving they were caught flat-footed and stammered nothing but a litany of excuses.  Drive the speed limit that is safe for the conditions people.   Regarding lighting for pedestrians, perhaps lower to the ground pedestrian lighting could be explored.

            For those of you who complain about Evanston being too dark, this lighting will meet with your approval.  The area under this light was lit up like broad daylight. 

            In summation, the fixture itself is rather nice, but the glass should be frosted.  The light output needs to be dimmed more for residents.  I also agree with the poster above.  Care needs to be taken with our atery streets.  Many of them are more residential than business and the desire to over-light them should be thought through and discussed with the residents who live on those streets as they will be the people impacted the most.  Light up the business districts as much as possible, but let’s avoid over-lighting in all residential areas unless a majority of local residents desire that level of lighting.

            Interesting article on blue light (LED/Fluorescent):  https://www.livescience.com/53874-blue-light-sleep.html

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