February 12, 2012
The canopy is up at the Super QT under construction in the southwest quadrant of the I-285 Buford Hwy interchange. The streetscape (pedestrian) lighting installed as part of the Buford Hwy streetscape project a few years ago has been removed at the QT site. I trust the streetscape lights removed in connection with the QT construction will be re-installed.
Three aerially wired timber poles with mismatched overhanging Buford Hwy street lights remain at the QT site. I hope these lights have been left standing to meet illumination guidelines during construction, and that they are later replace with new underground wired lighting as part of construction. Doraville should have adopted Buford Highway street lighting standards years ago concurrent with the installation of the streetscape lighting. It will be disappointing if the complete redevelopment of a prominent Buford Hwy property overlooks addressing such dumpy lighting.
I recommend Doraville adopt standards for arterial road lighting if standards don’t already exist. The standards would be implemented concurrent with Buford Highway redevelopment (such as QT, or Motors Industrial Parkway in connection with the GM site), or other construction lending itself to installation of lighting in accordance with the standards. I recommend the following standards:
1 – A standard spacing between lights. This standard would largely be determined by lighting guidelines. My observation of street lighting in metro Atlanta is that guidelines require street lighting approximately every third streetscape light. (The standard would not be so rigid that it could not accommodate driveways.)
2 – Street lights at a specified uniform height.
3 – Light masts (poles) be placed approximately in line or back from the plane of any streetscape lighting, with lights affixed directly to the vertical mast, i.e. no horizontal structure to overhang or extend the light over the street. Ideally in the case of Buford Hwy the light poles would be set back about two feet from the plane of the existing streetscape lighting so as to situate the street lights in the same plane as streetscape lights. Street lighting not overhanging the street can amply illuminate the center of a wide highway. Check out Chamblee’s Buford Highway use of street lights without an overhang at night when the timber poles and aerial wiring are less prominent.
There are few Atlanta arterial roads as broad, and on as long a tangent (straightaway), as Buford Highway, especially inside the Perimeter. I think it best to foster development of Buford Highway as a grand avenue and highlight the physical characteristics that set it apart from narrow crooked urban streets that are a dime a dozen in the most urbanized areas of metro Atlanta. Buford Hwy streetscape and street lighting in the same plane near the outer edge of the sidewalk is appealing because it highlights the broadness, tangency, and rolling alignment of Buford Highway.
5 – Type/color of lighting. I favor streetscape and street lights be the same.
6 – Mast color and finish. I favor black enamel, but I would support a bare metal (ostensibly gray/silver color) finish if such a finish was decidedly less expensive to install and maintain.
7 – Mast style. I would support something closely matching or complimenting the existing Buford Hwy streetscape lighting, or alternately something very simple and plain. Cost and future availability are important, so long as either type, classic or contemporary, are sufficiently robust, not spindly. (Check out the Northlake area lighting for an example of spindly lighting that is out of scale to the character of the street.)
8 – Provide for installing a light unit on the private property side of the masts opposite the street-facing light unit, at private property owners option and capital and operating expense. That would encourage discontinuation of dumpy private property lighting at some locations along Buford Hwy, where in some cases Buford Hwy and private property lighting currently share the same aerially wired timber poles.