Neighborhood Light Improvement Program

The City of Sioux Falls has on occasion been approached by individuals or groups requesting improved street lighting in their neighborhoods. These requests have traditionally come from residents within the core area, where historically the spacing of street lights was one fixture every 350 feet, or one per intersection.

After 1977, it became City policy to require one light every 180 to 230 feet in new developments. The cost of installation was borne by the developer at the time the lighting was installed. In newer neighborhoods, reduced nighttime visibility has not generally been an issue. Typically, the City does not install additional street lights in neighborhoods unless the street is being rebuilt. When a street is being rebuilt, the City will generally attempt to add new street lights in accordance with the 1977 spacing requirements. This usually means the addition of a new light located midblock.

The cost to install a new wood pole, light fixture, and overhead wire to a back yard power line is approximately $700. In newly developing areas, the developer typically pays to install the pole, light fixture, and underground wiring. When the City installs a new pole in an existing neighborhood and must use underground wiring, the installation cost generally ranges from $600 to $1,000.

The purpose of this program is to provide a rational basis for reviewing lighting improvement requests and answer with an appropriate alternative. With the cooperation of the Police Department, Planning Office, and Light Division of Public Works, a procedure has been developed. 

A citizen or group will file a request with the City to review a specific problem area. The City will review the request, make an on-site visit, and examine potential alternatives. Staff from the Police Department, Planning Office, Light Division, and Public Works Administration Office will bring expertise in each of the following areas: crime prevention, neighborhood design, public safety, and light installation/construction.

The Light Division of Public Works began budgeting for this program in 1998. Several alternatives are available to deal with requests. These include tree-trimming, repositioning of existing fixtures, installation of new fixtures (with higher wattage bulbs), and the installation of new light poles and fixtures. Typically, the funding permits the installation of approximately 20 new light poles and fixtures per year.

Installation of new street lights is usually scheduled with other daily tasks so as not to interrupt other planned projects or require overtime.