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Street Lighting South Main Street, Centerville

Prismatic lighting complements
Centerville historic district

A growing upper middle class community—which has more than doubled in population since 1970—necessitated the widening of its South Main Street (State Route 48) roadway. The one-and-a-quarter-mile stretch of South Main Street in Centerville, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, was widened from two to four lanes, with a center turn lane added.

The area, which adjoins the City's Architectural Preservation District, previously had no street lighting beyond the cobra head lights installed at intersections. When the decision was made to create a landscaped/raised median and add street lighting and streetscape improvements, including sidewalks and landscaping to the roadway widening project, City Council members insisted that the light fixtures installed be more attractive in appearance than the original cobra head streetlights.

"City Council felt the standard 'cobra head' lights did not keep with the flavor of the adjoining historical district, which features one of the largest and best-preserved collections of limestone buildings in the United States," explained Alan Schwab, Centerville city planner. "Members felt so strongly that they were willing to scrap the street lighting altogether—except at the major roadway intersections—if we could not find lighting fixtures that would complement the area's historic structures."

With the City traffic engineer endorsing continuous roadway lighting as a major element of the project based on traffic volume, the City designed a lighting scheme that not only meets recommended state highway lighting standards, but is affordable and aesthetically acceptable to City Council. Fixtures installed in the landscaped median are acorn-shaped Holophane twin Granville® light fixtures using Philadelphia crossarms, mounted on 14-foot black Charleston poles. The prismatic glass Granville light fixtures utilize 100 watt high pressure sodium lamps.

According to Schwab, the fixtures have a Type III asymmetric light distribution and are oriented to each side of the street. Light levels in the commercial areas average 1.2 footcandles with an average to maximum ratio of 3:1. In the residential areas, light levels average .8 footcandles with a 3:1 ratio.

Schwab indicated that the city planning department used Holophane's pre-CALA (Computer Aided Lighting Analysis) personal computer software to facilitate light fixture selection and the conceptual lighting design, with the project engineer using CALA for the final lighting design. A total of 24 double-headed Granville units are installed, spaced about 95 feet apart in the commercial areas and about 140 feet apart in the residential areas.

At the roadway intersections, 24 Holophane teardrop-shaped Esplanade® fixtures with 400 watt high pressure sodium lamps are used, spaced about 300 feet apart. The light fixtures are mounted on black 28-foot high Columbia fluted steel poles with a cast iron decorative collar and West Liberty cast aluminum decorative crossarms.

"The Holophane fixtures not only provide more light on the roadway, but they're beautiful, to look at day or night," Schwab said. "Although the Holophane units cost more initially to purchase than standard cobra head lights, they are still very economical because 20 percent fewer lighting fixtures were used in the design. Energy consumption is also about 20 percent less."

To date, the entire $2.25 million roadway widening, lighting, and streetscaping project has been completed. According to Schwab, the lighting has been well received by area business people and the public.

The unique design utilizing Granville fixtures located in the medians interspersed with Esplanade fixtures used at the roadway intersections is both very functional and visually pleasing. This blend of light fixture styles complements the modern residential and commercial buildings adjacent to the roadway project and is an aesthetically pleasing link to the adjacent historic district.

Schwab indicated that the lighting fixtures will be maintained by a private contractor and will likely be group relamped.

He concluded: "The City does road projects every year. But we have never received as many positive comments on any roadway job as we have the South Main Street project. Removing the above-ground utility poles and lines in the area (light fixtures now have underground feeds) and adding landscaping and decorative street lighting have made a world of difference."


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