The role played by the standard streetlight, now and in the future
Today the City of Los Angeles has more than 223,000 streetlights in operation, in more than 400 different styles. These systems, installed beginning in the early 20th century, reflect a range of communities and a diverse number of chapters in the City’s history.
It is the goal of the City to maintain the historical streetlight systems whenever possible. The City’s basic streetlights, meanwhile, were introduced in the 1950s and are used on major and some residential streets. The basic streetlight currently is a tapered round galvanized steel pole that has a four-foot arm with a standard street light fixture at the end that provides for the illumination of the roadway. There is no base or other decorative element of this pole. This basic system has been in place since mid-century with a few iterations, including fluted poles.
A City’s streetlight system is part of the urban landscape; it can either be used to define or blend into the fabric of this landscape. In Los Angeles the standard streetlight has typically done the latter. The basic light pole has also proved to be the “hat rack” of the city, convenient for the attachment of a great variety of elements including cameras, street signs and banners.
Now, as the age of technology accelerates, the streetlights in the City of LA have the potential to hold a range of so-called Smart City elements. The standard pole is ready to take on a new form.