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Boston plugs in city's first LED-powered street signs

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  November 26, 2012 03:53 PM

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City officials have plugged in Boston’s first-ever LED-powered street name signs.

The inaugural signs at the intersection of Washington and Winter streets downtown are part of a pilot program to test “how different manufacturers’ products perform, and making sure they can stand up to winter conditions in the City of Boston,” said a statement from city transportation department commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin.

At no cost to the city, several vendors will test out their electronic street name sign products.

After the pilot phase, the transportation department plans to launch a competitive bid process to install permanent LED-powered signs at about a dozen, yet-to-be-determined locations.

“This is a unique program, and we are one of the first cities to use LED street signs like this, oriented towards the pedestrian rather than the car,” Tinlin’s statement said.

The 4-foot-long by 1-foot-tall signs are 35 percent larger than the street name signs in the area. They are internally illuminated by high-efficiency LED (light-emitting diode)technology, making them visible at night from several hundred feet away.

“We have seen from New York City and others that these signs are an amazing pedestrian amenity, helping BIDs to feel welcoming and walkable,” said Rosemarie Sansone, president of the Downtown Business Improvement District Corporation.

The LED Street Sign program is part of public investments that Mayor Thomas M. Menino has committed to making in the Downtown BID.

“These signs look great, and I’m so glad they’re going up just in time for holiday shopping season,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement. “These signs will literally serve as a beacon, drawing shoppers into the BID to do their holiday shopping here, and helping shoppers, visitors, and everyone in between find their way around downtown Boston.”

Vendors interested in joining the pilot program can contact transportation department operations director Paul McColgan at or 617-635-3122.

To see more changes going on around downtown Boston, click here.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
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