Frequently Asked Questions

Main FAQs

Why should I participate in the LA Lights the Way: Streetlight Design Competition?


This competition is the City of L.A.’s first open streetlight design competition, allowing the public to participate and design a new streetlight that will be a part of the future of Los Angeles for years to come. Besides winning prize money, this is your opportunity to help shape how streetlights function and look like in time for the 2028 Olympics, meet sustainability goals as part of the Mayor’s Green New Deal 2019 Sustainability pLAn, and make streetlights a public art piece in the City that millions of Angelenos call home.




How much does it cost to register for the competition?


A: For the professional competition, the entry fee is $250. For the student professional competition (for college and graduate students) and the student competition, there is no entry fee.




What is the registration deadline to participate in the competition?


A: For the professional competition, the registration deadline is 1/10/2020. For the student professional competition (for college and graduate students), the registration deadline is 1/6/2020 and submittals are due 1/24/2020. There is no registration required for the student competition (High School students) but the submittals are due June 1, 2020 at 4:00 PM.




How should I decide which competition to enter (the professional, the student professional, or the student competition)?


A: The professional competition targeted audience is for working professionals in a relevant field related to architecture, design, and engineering. There is no minimum requirement of age, professional field, or amount of work experience, but do know that you may be competing against individuals or teams with years of experience in their respective field. The professional student competition is focused on graduate-level and college students at a college or university located within L.A. County (such as the LACCD, UC, CSU, USC, etc…) interested in architecture, urban design, engineering or a related field. There is no age or major requirement as long as you are an enrolled student at an accredited college or university within L.A. County. The student competition is focused on high school students that attend a high school (irregardless if the school type such as LAUSD, charter, public or private high schools) in the City of Los Angeles. There is no age requirement as long as you are an enrolled student at an accredited high school in the City of Los Angeles.




What are the requirements to compete in the competition?


A: In order to compete in the competition you must meet the guidelines in the website at www.lalightstheway.org and fulfill the registration, if required. For the professional competition you should be ready to complete both stages of the competition that will require presentations, and structural analysis of your entry.




Who can I reach out to if I have more questions?


A: For any additional questions, you may reach out to us at lalightstheway@lacity.org.




Where can I go to learn more about the past designs and history of LA’s streetlights.


A: The Bureau of Street Lighting offers a tour monthly of the City’s streetlight museum located at 1149 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Go to our website at bsl.lacity.org for times and how to sign up. Also, check out the list of further reading material located at Automatic Beauty. These documents provide additional history and background on street lights in the City of LA.




When and where is the "Question and Answer Event" for applicants being held?


A: The Bureau of Street Lighting will be hosting an event on January 6, 2020 at 10:00 at 1149 S. Broadway Ste 200, Los Angeles, CA 90015. The event will have a tour of the Streetlight Museum, a short presentation about the contest and opportunity for questions and answers. Please RSVP to LAlightstheway@lacity.org by the end of Friday January 3, 2020 if you are planning to attend.





Submittals & Registration

Should the Shade Sail be designed as an actual sail?


The shade sail is a decorative element and its purpose is to provide shade for our pedestrians; it is anticipated that it will be installed at a height of 16’. This may be included separately or as part of the pedestrian fixture.




Is EV Charging an element that should be included?


Yes, BSL is looking at expanding EV charging stations throughout the City. Circuitry allows for one car EV charging per pole.




Are multiple submissions allowed?


Every pole submission must include a registration form and entry fee. The elements of the pole may have multiple designs. (For example you many have more than one shade sail design.)




Can the sail shade be implemented between two poles? Do they need to be fixed?


The current spacing of roadway poles is approximately 150’ apart. Having a shade sail between two poles may be submitted. The applicant should consider the feasibility of constructing the design.




Are all parts of the streetlight part of the contest?


No, the design competition is limited to the base, pole and the arm of the streetlight. The fixture is not included but the applicant can submit a proposed design of the fixture if they wish.





Technical Questions

What are the average dimensions of a standard streetlight? Of an integrated streetlight?


The average diameter of the City’s basic streetlights is 8”.

Integrated poles that have antenna’s and radios inside and can have a diameter from 12” to 18”




Should the design include the use of existing antennas or should it be incorporated to the pole internally?


The contest is requiring a minimum of 5 renderings. The rendering of a pole with communication equipment attached is not a requirement but can be added if the applicant wishes.




Renderings may or may not include hand hold covers? Is the 16’ height for hand holes and shade sails set or a suggestion?


The 16’ location is a suggestion. BSL may be phasing out hand hold covers due to copper wire theft and accessing electricity illegally. We are looking for ‘innovative’ ideas on how we can curtail these issues including new design concepts.




Circuitry for the pole and its base elements? What is the footprint of the pole?


BSL has rights 4’ behind curb face. The proposed design should work within that space. It is not recommended to design a pole that will require a foundation deeper than 5’.




Should the standard include a shearing element?


Not for BSL. That is more of a requirement for traffic poles, which are not included.




It is possible to get specs on current lamp attachments. i.e. antennas, etc. ?


On the BSL website at http://www.bsl.lacity.org/downloads/led/municipalities-utilities/Approved_LED_Catalog_121219.pdf there is a list of approved fixtures that the applicant can access the specifications. The City will list other attachments specification on their website in the next couple of weeks.




Is the design of the cobra head available? Specifications ?


On the BSL website at http://www.bsl.lacity.org/downloads/led/municipalities-utilities/Approved_LED_Catalog_121219.pdf there is a list of approved fixtures that the applicant can access the specifications.




Is it possible to get specifications or scale of attachments to provide for design requirements?


The City will work to include specifications of attachments to the website in the next couple of weeks.




Does the design have to use the existing bolt pattern or foundation of the existing light?


No, the proposed design may have a new bolt pattern and foundation.




Does the energy from Solar Panels go back into the grid, or how does it work?


Solar panels are not a required element of this contest but may be included if the applicant wishes. The solar panels the City is using on these poles go back to the grid.





Miscellaneous Questions

What is the current cost of the current basic streetlight? Does this cost include labor and installation?


The existing cost for LA’s basic streetlight is approximately $2000 to $4000. This does not include labor or installation cost.




Will there be a fixture contest?


This is not being discussed at this time.




Are there any specific companies that BSL uses to get SMART products from?


The City’s Smart City products are still in testing so there are not specific products that the companies need to use.




Is the placard a design element aimed at pedestrians?


The placard doesn’t have to be a placard or plaque per se, though it certainly could be, but yes, it should be visible and legible at pedestrian scale. The idea is to incorporate some space for text -- which could take the form of poetry, references to nearby landmarks, community history, etc. -- into the design of the new pole.




Issues of Intellectual Property. Will the City own the winning design, concept, etc. as a result of this contest?


The competitor or team that submits the winning design will receive a one-time award of $70,000. The City of Los Angeles, its departments, boards, commissions, successors and assigns retains the right to use the winning streetlight design in the City of Los Angeles. The winning design may be used for manufacturing by the City at its discretion. The City may make adjustments to the final design to account for manufacturing or other issues but in every case will aim to do so while keeping the overall integrity of the winning design in mind.

All submissions must be accompanied by Attachment B: Ownership of Materials, which makes clear that all drawings, material submitted shall become the property of the City of Los Angeles, its departments, boards, commissions, successors and assigns without restriction or limitation of their use. The competitor waives all rights for future compensation for or use of the artwork submitted.

Please note, however, that it is not the intent of the City to own the designs of submissions that do not move on to Stage 2. Communication with entrants whose designs do not advance to Stage 2 will reflect the fact that for them the Ownership Form will become null and void. A new “Ownership of Material” form will be prepared and forwarded to you to reflect this intent.




Is there any expectation the winner can participate in discussions about how the selected design will manufactured and installed?


It is possible. We have the right to request that the participant work with us through the manufacturing process.




Are current products being used by the City preferred?


The renderings can be product-neutral or teams can recommend or show a product if they wish.




How many newly designed poles will be implemented annually?


Based on how often the City typically installs or replaces standard poles, an estimated 800 to 2,000 poles will use the winning design per year. The BSL maintains approximately 150,000 standard poles citywide. The replacement to the new pole will only occur when necessary, or if new poles are being put in place by the City or contractors.




Will there be a separate fixture contest?


This is not being discussed at this point. Teams may include a proposal for a newly designed fixture as part of their proposal for this competition if they wish.




Will the teams get feedback from the City throughout the process?


Yes, the teams will get feedback from the City if and when they are named finalists and advance to Stage 2. The City reserves the right to make suggestions about design changes, structural concerns, the makeup of teams or other issues for those entries that proceed to Stage 2.




May the teams work with a manufacturing company on the design of the pole?


The applicants may work with a pole manufacturing company as they prepare their entries. This may provide good feedback on the feasibility of the design to the applicant team. The City cannot guarantee that the manufacturing company will get the final contract from the City. The City will take the final chosen design and proceed via the City’s purchasing process to finalize the contract for the manufacturing of the new basic streetlight pole. The manufacturing company may seek to be awarded the final contract with the City at that time.




Can you elaborate on what is desired with the LED strip, its visibility, and how often it may be used?


The LED strip will be used in particular locations for specific uses or events. This may include holidays or other City events where a color is appropriate. The intent is to ensure that passerby’s can see the LED strip.





General Questions

Are the lights manufactured in state?


Most of the City’s basic streetlights (pole, arm and base) are manufactured in state.




What is BSL’s volume of new streetlights per year?


1,000 – 2,000 new streetlights are installed annually.




Is the winner able to announce he/she won?


Yes. The City will also publicize the winner. We will announce and publish the winner including the prize of $70,000.




If I don’t know all my team members can I still register?


Yes, if you do not have all team members identified you can still register and add team members as you go.





FAQ

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Bureau of Street Lighting Los Angeles

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