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New York City Street Lights

Generally, street lights are used to illuminate roadways, sidewalks, parking lots, and other common areas. These lighting elements are also often combined with other traffic safety equipment, such as pedestrian crossing signals, to improve visibility and enhance driver and pedestrian safety.

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) maintains over 315,000 street lights in the city. Almost all of these lights are energy-efficient LEDs. The NYC DOT has been a national leader in sustainable street lighting.

The city is in the process of updating its catalog of approved street lights. If you would like to request a new light, you will need to obtain approval from a public agency and submit a petition to the local neighborhood. You must also secure access easements for standard street light installation.


There are three general types of lights: halogen, LED, and metal halide. Most conventional street lights use halogen bulbs, which have a vacuum tube and filament inside. They are similar to household incandescent bulbs. They use less energy, but they produce more light.

If you are interested in installing a cul-de-sac light, it is important to remember that you will need to fund the project. This is usually done through an outside funding source. The DPW will help you with this process. If the cul-de-sac is already equipped with lights, it will be easier to get the necessary permits.

Currently, the SFPUC is working on a formal process for approving new street lights. In the meantime, you can find information about the process in its Request Street Lighting page.