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Posted on Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 3 p.m.

On the agenda: LED street lights, parking plan and more to come before Ann Arbor City Council

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor officials have reached a deal with DTE Energy to convert 58 conventional streetlights in the city to energy efficient LEDs — or light-emitting diodes.

The Ann Arbor City Council is being asked on Monday to approve a $41,267 contract with DTE for an LED pilot project estimated to save the city $5,594 annually in energy costs and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 13 metric tons.

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Costs for converting the streetlights are being shared equally between the city and DTE's Energy Optimization Program. Funding for the city's $22,388 share is available in the current year field operations budget, city officials say.

In addition to the initial contribution to construction costs, the city will pay a reduced annual charge of $6,293 — down from $11,887 — for the converted streetlights for the initial three-year term of the agreement, bringing the total contract amount to $41,267.

Andrew Brix, the city's energy programs manager, noted in a memo to the City Council that in 2008, a group of University of Michigan students raised safety concerns about the street lighting in the Hill Street-Packard Street-East University Avenue neighborhood.

"This pilot project will provide DTE Energy an opportunity to compare perceptions of safety for conventional and LED streetlighting, while also reducing the city's street lighting expenses," Brix wrote. "This is also an important step toward increased cooperation between the city and DTE on LED streetlights."

The annual savings of $5,594 results in a four-year payback on the city's initial $22,288 investment into the LED lights.

Other items on Monday's City Council agenda:

• Presentation by City Administrator Roger Fraser on the 2010-11 budget, which the council will give final approval to next month.

• Presentation of awards the city recently received from the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association. The city won project of the year in the category of transportation projects between $1 million and $2 million for improvements to the intersection of Huron Parkway and Nixon Road. The city also won project of the year in the category of environmental projects under $1 million for stormwater enhancements to Harvard Drain and Nichols Arboretum.

• Presentation on the Ann Arbor DDA’s Public Parking & Transportation Demand Management Strategies Plan, which includes extending meter enforcement hours to 9 p.m.

• Resolution to award a $878,600 construction contract to Douglas N. Higgins Inc. for the Georgetown Boulevard Improvements Project. The project, between Plymouth Road and Bluett Drive, addresses both a badly deteriorated water main and poor pavement conditions in the northbound lanes. It includes replacement of 2,800 feet of eight-inch ductile iron water main and reconstruction of the two northbound lanes with major base repairs.

• Resolution to restructure and adjust the city's parking fine schedule based on recommendations by the city treasurer.

• Resolution to award a $49,308 contract for Barton Dam concrete testing to Gerace Construction Co. This project involves installing an access system on the downstream face of Barton Dam to perform testing of the deteriorated concrete. The contractor will take concrete cores from those areas that have exhibited deterioration and send them to a testing lab to determine the extent of deterioration.

• Resolution to convert two-way traffic to one-way eastbound on Sylvan Avenue. During public informational meetings concerning the pending resurfacing of the street and last winter's snow events, concerns were raised over the narrow width of Sylvan Avenue. Specifically discussed were prohibiting on-street parking or converting the street to one way. Based on feedback from residents, city officials are recommending a plan to retain parking on the south side of the street, continue to prohibit parking on the north side, and convert traffic to one-way.

• Resolution to award a $343,875 construction contract to ABC Paving Co. for the Sylvan Avenue Permeable Pavement Project, which consists of the reconstruction of Sylvan Avenue, a 20-foot-wide, 800-foot-long residential street running between Packard and White streets.

• Resolution to authorize a $42,905 contract with Professional Service Industries Inc. for construction materials testing services for 2010 street resurfacing.

• Resolution approving a new outdoor service area for Jolly Pumpkin on city sidewalk at 309-311 S. Main St.

• Resolution to submit funding applications to the Michigan Department of Transportation to replace the East Stadium Boulevard bridges. This is the city's third attempt to secure funds for the replacement of the two bridge spans over the Ann Arbor Railroad and South State Street through MDOT's Local Bridge Program.

• Resolution to approve a contract to accept grant funds from the Clean Energy Coalition's Michigan Green Fleet Project. The resolution authorizes a grant agreement with the Clean Energy Coalition to reimburse the city up to $540,500 for the incremental cost to purchase alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technology vehicles.

• Resolution to approve a two-year law enforcement services agreement between the city and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. The two-year contract will cost the AATA $135,000 for the services of one officer at the Blake Transit Center.

• Resolution authorizing acceptance of a $72,519 firefighter assistance grant from the Department of Homeland Security for equipment replacement. The fire department submitted a proposal to replace all fire attack hose nozzles with a uniform make and model. Additionally, the project entails a larger firefighting foam stockpile and more modern foam application equipment to be placed on all frontline fire apparatus. Matching funding of $18,129 is required.

• Resolution to amend and increase the established Ann Arbor Police Department In-Car Audio/Video project budget in the amount of $181,500. The project is intended to keep officers in constant contact with command and dispatch staff while providing the ability to effectively capture, store and manage audio and video evidence. The digital in-car audio-video system uses high-performance cameras with wide-angle lenses and wireless microphones to accurately record events as they occur, dramatically improving the way that evidence is collected, documented and presented, according to city IT officials.

• Resolution authorizing limitations on solicitor/peddler permits and sidewalk occupancy permits during the University of Michigan commencement on May 1. President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at Michigan Stadium that day. The resolution will make invalid any current peddler/solicitor and sidewalk occupancy permits for the Michigan Stadium area on May 1 and direct staff to not issue any new permits for this area.

• Communication from MDOT and SEMCOG regarding the Ann Arbor-to-Detroit rail project. SEMCOG and MDOT officials write in a letter to the city that they're asking for patience as they work out the details to allow future passenger raise service in the corridor. Despite funding setbacks that have delayed implementation of the service, they say work continues on parts of the project. Locomotives are being acquired, rail cars are being refurbished, and station improvements are being planned.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

@ SalineFan, so true. I have watched LED traffic lights disappear in a moderate Winter storms. It is a disaster.

Steve Hendel

Sat, Apr 17, 2010 : 4:11 p.m.

If the funding for the Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter rail is at present non-existent, then what is the point of continuing to purchase locomotives, etc.? Bit of a cart before the horse, eh wot? BTW, if there is no funding for the project, what are they using to pay for the rolling stock? Zimbabwean dollars?


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 10:13 p.m.

LSD lights would be more apropos for A2


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 5:39 p.m.

The agreed upon reduction in price is only for three years, so we have no idea what will happen in that fourth year that is supposed to finally pay for the cost of the conversion.


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 5:01 p.m.

"However, when winter came around... " yes yes we hear this tale everytime we talk abouot LED street lights. These are not traffic lights and have nothing to do with what you're talking about.


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 4:39 p.m.

Gee the city is in debt. And this is what the city worries about. what mixed up priorties. The city should be proud.


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 4:35 p.m.

All that time and energy to save $6,000? Who cares? The cost savings is nothing.


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

Sounds great about the LED street lights. I do have a little story about LED lights. A city in Minnesota had replaced traffic lights with LED traffic lights. They were happy to see the cost savings. However, when winter came around... they were surprised that some traffic lights became covered with snow! (With the old style lights - the snow would just melt from the excess heat.) Now, during big storms they have to make sure the lights are clear. Road crews have to come by and blow the snow away with air. Who knew. :)