LightRail art project on SF’s Market Street clears hurdle 

click to enlarge The proposed LightRail project by Illuminate the Arts to string LED lights above 2.1 miles of Market Street received support from the Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday. - COURTESY VIMEO
  • Courtesy Vimeo
  • The proposed LightRail project by Illuminate the Arts to string LED lights above 2.1 miles of Market Street received support from the Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday.

A plan to string LED lights above 2.1 miles of Market Street passed a key hurdle after project engineers figured out how to eliminate the need to mount 83 utility boxes on historic lamp posts.

The Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a certificate of appropriateness for the LightRail project being led by Ben Davis, founder of the group Illuminate the Arts, which also strung diode lights on the western span of the Bay Bridge.

To address the commission's concerns about putting 83 utility boxes on the historic Path of Gold light standards, engineering firm Parsons Brinkerhoff figured out a way to install the equipment on existing utility cabinets along Market Street. A small hole would need to be drilled in the top portion of the poles for electrical wiring.

The string of lights, which would be timed with the underground subway cars, would "reflect above our head what's happening beneath our feet in the transit system, both celebrating the urban environment but really more beautifully using light and energy and movement to seamlessly connect community up and down the length of Market that sometimes experiences some great divide," Davis said of the privately funded proposal.

Said Brady Nadell, project manager for engineering firm Parsons Brinkerhoff: "In many ways, this project has proven to be more challenging than the Bay Lights project."

It requires real data information from the transit system and a power source, which was what the utility boxes would provide.

The project remains under review by other city agencies.

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