Legislation will make it city policy to develop pedestrian lighting standards, establish more efficient and responsive repair practices, transition to LED lighting, and develop a single, city-owned streetlight program, with the City acquiring PG&E's streetlight
San Francisco - Today, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Supervisor Wiener's legislation to reform San Francisco's streetlight program. San Francisco's streetlights, which are divided between the Public Utilities Commission and Pacific Gas & Electric, suffer from extended burnouts, significant deferred maintenance, and slow repair response time. This legislation will create a clear citywide policy reforming streetlight ownership and management, including setting as a policy objective that the PUC acquire all PG&E owned streetlights.
"Today we established a clear set of priorities to ensure well-lit streets and a safe nighttime environment," said Supervisor Wiener. "For too long our haphazard streetlight system has frustrated residents and left our streets and sidewalks with inconsistent lighting. By developing a single, city-owned streetlight program we can focus on implementing a streetlight system that is better coordinated and more efficiently managed. This will lead to safer sidewalks and more vibrant public spaces in our neighborhoods."
Currently, of San Francisco's approximately 45,000 streetlights, the Public Utilities Commission is responsible for about 26,000 and PG&E - a private utility - is responsible for about 19,000. Supervisor Wiener's legislation calls for developing a single, city-owned streetlight system by making it official city policy to acquire PG&E's streetlights. The legislation also sets clear standards for streetlights, including transitioning to pedestrian-grade lighting, requiring that streetlights be repaired within 48 hours of being reported as not functioning, and transitioning to light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.
Supervisor Wiener has held two previous oversight hearings on San Francisco's streetlight, at which it was revealed that the streetlight system has significant deferred maintenance, that it takes too long to fix broken lights (despite positive progress by both PUC and PG&E), and that streetlights are more focused on lighting streets than lighting sidewalks. The hearings further revealed a growing consensus that the streetlight system should be owned and managed by the PUC, instead of being split between the PUC and PG&E. The legislation passed today was written in response to these needs.
The legislation also builds on a $9 million streetlight investment Supervisor Wiener worked with the Mayor's Office and the Public Utilities Commission to secure earlier this year. This investment will be for capital renovations to San Francisco's streetlights over the next two fiscal years. Also due to Supervisor Wiener's advocacy, streetlights will soon be included in the City's ten-year capital plan, with a path forward toward clearing the system's deferred maintenance.