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Street Lighting Birmingham Civil Rights District

GranVille luminaires give
boost to Birmingham attractions

Aesthetics were primary when the city of Birmingham, Alabama, installed Holophane Granville¬ luminaires in its urban Civil Rights District. This is the site of the popular Civil Rights Institute, as well as various businesses.
The Holophane luminaires are mounted on black ornamental poles 12' 6" high.

"There are many trees in the area with very nice landscaping, which is why we wanted to enhance the park's appearance even more," described Jerry Northington, assistant traffic engineer for the city of Birmingham. "Our purpose in installing pedestrian-scale lighting was also to provide more light on the sidewalk to give pedestrians a greaer sense of confidence and security."

A total of 160 Granville luminaires were installed, using 175 watt metal halide lamps. The fixtures illuminate the park perimeter and extend along the sidewalk for several blocks. Spacing for the luminaires is 40 feet, with the fixtures located behind the curb, parallel to the street. The ratio of the mounting height to spacing is 2.5:1.

Before the Granville units were installed, a test was conducted near Birmingham's City Hall to compare the performance of the Holophane fixtures with that of an acrylic luminaire. First, two post top fixtures with plastic globes were installed. Later, these were replaced with the Granville luminaires.

"There was a big difference," Northington noted. "The Granville fixtures provided much more light, even though the lamps used were the same type and size. The Holophane glass is exceptional. Even in the daylight, it tends to sparkle."

Holophane's Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was used to determine fixture placement in the park district and to provide a point by point analysis of the illumination on the pavement. The software was also utilized to demonstrate the uniformity of the illumination to neighborhood leaders and city officials.

Mayor Richard Arrington's Chief of Staff, Mrs. Virginia Williams, chairs the Steering Committee which monitored this project. She is very happy with the results and feels the lighting makes the park district much more attractive to visitors and local citizens," Northington said.

Besides the park district, Holophane Utility Granville luminaires — again with 175 watt metal halide lamps—were installed in Birmingham's "Five Points South" area, a night spot located one mile from the city's downtown. Here, the fixtures are the only source of illumination in an older business district that now offers tourists and locals a variety of entertainment and upscale restaurants.

Originally, this area was lighted with post top fixtures mounted on black cast iron poles. When the units were retrofitted, the existing fixtures were removed and the Granville luminaires installed on the remaining poles. The poles are positioned along the sidewalk, two feet behind the curb. The sidewalk is 10 to 12 feet wide, with the street 50 feet wide. Parking is permitted on both sides of the street.

"City officials want to bring people to this area, so good lighting is essential," said Northington. "It's always a challenge to select fixtures that offer the desired uniformity, yet are visually attractive. With the Holophane units, we have a good light pattern and the fixtures complement the historical look that is common to this area."


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