By Bill Lawyer
For many years the street lights along Playland Parkway worked intermittently at best. And the lights along the parkway access roads didn’t work at all.
The main result of these dysfunctionalities was a dangerous situation for vehicles and pedestrians alike at the four intersections of the access road: Theodore Fremd Avenue; Theall Road; the entrance to WESTMED, where cars come off and on the parkway to the access road; and Old North Street.
The risk of accidents at these intersections was especially high in the winter months, when early sunsets made visibility difficult during evening traffic rush hours. In addition to vehicular accidents, the risk of harm walking to/from WESTMED to the bus stop on Theodore Fremd was increased by the lack of a functioning sidewalk.
Finally, in the fall of 2015, the County approved two significant and related work projects, totaling $2.8 million. The first was $1.1 million for construction of a sidewalk and improved roadway access for the access road. The second was $1.7 million for a completely new set of streetlights with LED bulbs.
The County’s engineering staff projected that the efficient lighting would lower the County’s electric bills annually by $7,350. Another benefit of the new lights along Playland Parkway is reducing the risk of auto-deer accidents, which historically have been a major problem due to poor visibility along the parkway.
Part of the impetus for getting the project underway was the County’s agreement with Standard Amusements to improve infrastructure related to Playland.
The project went out to bid June 3, 2016. Work started shortly after the contract was awarded. The project was completed late last fall.
There are 39 poles, and the lights, which come with a five-year warranty, are 162 watts each. Deputy County Parks Commissioner Peter Tartaglia says the type of light bulbs selected provide the most brightness coverage of any of the ones considered. He told the paper his department has received many positive comments about the new lighting.
New sidewalk on Playland Access Road
The new lighting above Playland Parkway