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Street Lighting Huntington Woods; Detroit, MI

Prismatic lighting promotes safety,
creates nautical feel for Detroit suburb

Huntington Woods is an upper middle class residential community and a suburb of Detroit. The streets are lined with large private residences reflecting the architecture of the 1920s and ‘30s. Many are brick or Tudor style, surrounded by towering trees and expansive lawns.

According to Tony Lehmann, Huntington Woods city manager, the area has undergone a major revitalization as new families have moved in and started to renovate and often expand the already large homes. Part of the revitalization included redesigning the city’s recreation center, referred to as “The Center”, located in the Central Plaza. This six-acre campus, which represents the heart of the suburb, includes an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a park, library and school.

“This is a high traffic area as far as pedestrians are concerned because every major function is held here,” described Lehmann. “Families, children and seniors are always coming and going from the buildings. The recreation center is open until nine or ten o’clock each night.”

The revitalization project included selecting and installing a lighting system. Only a portion of the area around Burton Community Park had been lighted in the past. The fixtures used were inexpensive residential scale units mounted on 12-foot aluminum poles. The fixtures utilized high pressure sodium lamps.

“When we initiated the project, we knew we wanted high quality luminaires that would provide service over a long period of time. Funding was raised in part by community groups and we realized that we were only going to do the project once—so it had to be right the first time,” Lehmann explained.

Huntington Woods officials approached Detroit Edison, which has its own in-house street lighting consultant. The consultant worked with Holophane to provide the city with lighting fixture options and to develop the system layout. The city was responsible for installing some of the fixtures and continues to provide energy for the units.

Fixtures specified are Holophane Prague® Series luminaires with 175-watt metal halide lamps. The contemporary, European-styled luminaires consist of a precisely engineered borosilicate glass refractor with a specific molded pattern of prisms that control the light distribution. The units are often used along piers and in other locales close to water.

“We wanted fixtures with a nautical appearance because they complement the appearance of the recreation center building, which incorporates a number of portholes. The luminaires also contribute to the nautical feel around the swimming pool,” Lehmann said.

He indicated that the greatest challenge associated with the project was finding a luminaire with a cutoff angle that would not allow the light to disturb the neighboring homes.

“This is a residential area,” Lehmann emphasized. “While we wanted to promote safety, we had to assure the illumination did not spill over into nearby houses.”

The Prague fixtures are mounted on dark green, Hallbrook® aluminum poles with a decorative base. The units are spaced an average of 90 to 95 feet—although the spacing varies because of the location of buildings, trees and other obstacles. The Hallbrook poles are 12 and 15 feet high, with the higher poles utilized at the entranceway to the city and within the parking lot. Colorful banners are hung from the shepherd’s crook arm on the higher poles to promote different community events.

Fixtures near the swimming pool are mounted on the shepherd’s crook arm attached to the bath house wall. The units are spaced 30 feet apart.

A total of 44 fixtures were used for the project, installed in two phases. The illumination level is one footcandle average with some areas slightly higher—depending upon the location and the pole spacing.

Lehmann indicated that city officials have been so pleased with the lighting that the Prague luminaire has become the city standard for roadway illumination. Plans are underway to install the fixtures along a major thoroughfare that extends from The Center to the residences.

“The Prague luminaires are elegant. They set the Central Plaza area apart and support the theme we have created. Without the fixtures, we would have lost the nautical feel of the area,” Lehmann said.

The luminaires are controlled by hard wiring circuits provided by Detroit Edison. The city is developing a schedule to clean and group relamp the luminaires once each year to avoid burned out lamps.


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