New bulbs on Sixth Street allow city to adjust brightness of lights

AUSTIN (KXAN) — New LED bulbs synced through a web-based streetlight system will allow the city to better control light levels along Sixth Street. Just in time for South by Southwest, Austin Energy is installing the new lights to help increase safety in the bustling entertainment district.

Similar to bars turning up the lights at ‘last call,’ the city will be able to increase intensity of the bulbs along the street as crowds spill into the streets. The lights will then be lowered to normal levels once the masses leave.

“The benefit of this is that it can be used year-round depending how stakeholders down here want to use them,” said Austin Energy spokesperson Carlos Cordova. “So, if they always want to use them on weekends or special events, the same concept will hold true; they can raise the lights and increase safety that way.”

The city is retrofitting 48 streetlights with the LED bulbs between Interstate 35 and Brazos Street. Twelve new streetlights will also be installed as part of the pilot program. The money for the new lights was approved in December by city council members.

Austin has been working for the last couple years to update more than 56,000 street lights around the city with more energy-efficient LED bulbs.

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