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 streetlights

San Francisco, CA - Today, Supervisor Scott Wiener will introduce legislation setting policies and standards for the city's struggling streetlight system. Currently, a portion of San Francisco's streetlights are owned by the City's Public Utilities Commission and a portion by PG&E, a private utility. Supervisor Wiener's legislation will set clear standards for streetlights, including transitioning to pedestrian-grade lighting, requiring that streetlights be repaired within 48 hours of being reported as broken, transitioning to light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, and developing a single, city-managed streetlight program by making it official city policy to acquire PG&E's streetlights.

"Well-lit streets and sidewalks create a safe and vibrant nighttime environment," said Supervisor Wiener. "However, our current streetlight management system lacks a clear policy vision and sufficient coordination. The result is an outdated streetlight system with massive deferred maintenance. By setting clear policies and standards, we can move our streetlight system into the 21st century, make the system more reliable, and have better overall coordination for the system."

This legislation stems from two significant hearings held by Supervisor Wiener to shed light on the state of San Francisco's streetlights, including reliability, time to repair broken streetlights, overall condition of the streetlight system, and progress towards making streetlights more pedestrian-focused. The hearings 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), 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. Currently, of San Francisco's approximately 45,000 streetlights, the Public Utilities Commission is responsible for about 26,000 and PG&E is responsible for about 19,000. This split ownership causes significant confusion and inefficiency.

This legislation also builds on an 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.

More specifically, the legislation establishes the following city policies:

  • Establish a uniform, shared standard for levels of service for street repairs, such that simple outages should be corrected within 48 hours of being reported
  • Design lighting for pedestrians on sidewalks and paths, not just for vehicular traffic
  • Evaluate and include pedestrian scale lighting whenever at least 50% of street lighting on a street is upgraded or street lighting on a new street is added
  • Further integrate PG&E's streetlights into the City's 311 system and develop more detailed reporting of completed repairs
  • Require an annual report by public and private entities documenting efforts to manage street lighting in a manner consistent with the Street Light Policy
  • Transition to LED technology, with the exception of where LED lighting isn't appropriate
  • Adhere to this Streetlight Policy when repairing or replacing streetlights


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Paid for by Re-Elect Scott Wiener for State Senate 2020. FPPC # 1392654.

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