Lehigh Valley

For Centre Square in Easton, change is in the air

New lights, crossing signals and a huge crane are coming

EASTON, Pa. - Centre Square in downtown Easton will soon be sprouting a new look, as the city experiments with new LED street lights and new pedestrian street crossing signals.

As part of a pilot program, five LED lights will be installed Tuesday in an area by the Family Dollar Store and the nearby Dunkin' Donuts.

The light from the LEDs will be "stark contrast" to the current street lights, said Dave Hopkins, the city's public works director, who outlined the program to City Council's finance committee Monday night.

LEDs produce much brighter light than standard city street lights.

Besides the aesthetics, Hopkins said the city will evaluate the cost benefits of converting the 300 other street lights downtown to LED lights.

LED lights are more costly initially but their supporters claim they produce savings in the long-run.

The city installed LED lights in 2007 in its traffic lights, Hopkins said. One disadvantage is the lights can get covered in snow, unlike the old lights which produced heat and melted snow before it accumulated.

LED lights generate little or no heat.

Within the next 60 days, Hopkins said crews will begin installing "count-down timers" on street corners downtown that will tell pedestrians how many seconds they have to cross the street before the  light changes.

The current signals display a person walking, meaning it is OK to cross, or a hand, meaning don't cross.

Either way, the person had no way of knowing how much time they had to get across the street before the traffic would start rolling through the intersection.

Just off Centre Square, a huge crane will loom on the horizon beginning May 15 on the construction site where the city is building a new parking deck and City Hall.

The meeting was, in part, a preview for Wednesday night's council meeting, where Mayor Sal Panto Jr. will present the preliminary 2015 budget and the contractors who bid on work to construct Easton's new City Hall.

Panto said the bids are in line with what the city originally expected.

The meeting will be held at College Hill Presbyterian Church, 501 Brodhead St., beginning at 6 p.m.


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