PHOTO #1: AEP street light technician John Velasquez turns on a new LED street light at Pine Street Park on Nov. 17. Photo contributed by AEP.
Victoria’s southside is being lit up thanks to a partnership between the City and AEP, and the north is next.
At a recent City Council meeting, Assistant City Manager Mike Etienne reported that Phase I of the citywide LED lighting project was 98% complete. This means about 2,000 old-fashioned HPS lights—almost all of them south of Airline Road—have been replaced with LED models.
“If you drive through the southside now, you can see some bright, beautiful lights,” Etienne said. “I’ve gotten positive feedback from the residents.”
At the same meeting, the City Council voted to approve Phase II of the project. AEP will start replacing the lights north of Airline Road early next year. By the end of next summer, every light in Victoria that AEP services—4,052 in total—will have been upgraded to LED.
What’s so great about LED lighting?
PHOTO #2: From top left, AEP service technician Albert Rodriguez and street light technician John Velasquez switch out HPS lights at Pine Street Park with new LED lights on Nov. 17. From bottom left, service technician Garret Easley and service crew leader Stephen Valderrama assist them. Photo contributed by AEP.
Before the lighting project, both sides of Victoria were primarily lit by high-pressure sodium or HPS lights: orange- or amber-colored bulbs that shed dim light.
Improving the City’s lighting serves the goals of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan by improving safety and enhancing livability for all residents. In 2021, the City used federal CDBG funds to install solar-powered LED lights at Queen City Park and Pine Street Park.
The same year, the City updated its capital improvement plan to include a five-phase, citywide LED lighting project. This ambitious project would upgrade every AEP light in the City to LED, then add more lights as needed.
The benefits of LED lighting include:
- Improved safety on roadways
- Energy conservation and cost savings
- Decreased light pollution compared to our current HPS lighting (because the lights shine downward instead of all around)
- Easier maintenance
- Greater security and crime prevention
The Victoria Police Department provided input on the development of the lighting project, which will fulfill a key goal for the department and Chief Roberto Arredondo: reducing crime and the fear of crime.
“A brighter city will help officers and citizens recognize things that do not look right and will give officers the opportunity to investigate further,” Arredondo said. “The lighting will also help keep our citizens from being struck by oncoming traffic while walking or biking.”
How much will this cost?
PHOTO #3: This map shows all the lights that will be upgraded during the first phase of a citywide lighting project. This phase is almost finished.
The total cost to replace all 4,052 lights is about $560,000. Phase II is funded by the Victoria Sales Tax Development Corporation, which allocates sales tax revenue for community development projects.
Phase I was funded by the VSTDC and federal Community Development Block Grant funds.
Remember that one of the benefits of LED lighting is cost savings, so the project should lead to lower light bills for the City over time.
Some of the lights on my street have burned out completely. Will the City come fix them?
AEP is responsible for street light maintenance, not the City. If you see that a street light has burned out, you can report it at www.aeptexas.com.
Will the City and AEP add new street lights in my neighborhood?
PHOTO #4: This map shows all the lights to be upgraded during the second phase of a citywide lighting project. This phase will start in February.
Not during Phase II, but during the next three phases of the project, the City and AEP will identify areas that need further improvements and serve these areas by trimming trees, increasing pole heights and adding lights as needed.
I have a different idea for a project that will help Victoria. What should I do?
You can share your idea by filling out our capital improvement project request form at www.victoriatx.gov/ciprequest.
Sam Hankins is the communications specialist for the City of Victoria.