Boston plans to replace the city’s gas lamps with new LED lights as a way of cutting the city’s carbon emissions. Crews are already installing new lights in the Bay Village neighborhood.
Like the original streetlamps, the new LED lights mimic flames.
It’s a sensitive debate as the city looks to replace all 2800 lamps from Beacon Hill to the Back Bay to Charlestown because they cost nearly a million dollars a year to fuel and spew the greenhouse gasses of more than a thousand cars.
“Our plan is to replace all the gas lights in Boston with LEDs,” said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Boston’s Chief of Streets.
The city points to the climate crisis and the need to cut down on fossil fuels, but the LEDs also cost roughly 90% less to run, with less maintenance.
However, the Civic Association in Beacon Hill, home to roughly half the gas lights, wonders why the city hasn’t requested its input and points to a delicate balance.
“The cost is not as important as how it affects the entire neighborhood,” said Ron Whitney of the Beacon Hill Civic Association. “Brick sidewalks and the gas lights. We sort of maintain that feeling of an historic neighborhood. We’re happy to make changes where it makes sense to do so.”
The only LED replica gas lamp installed so far is still running off an extension cord in the Bay Village neighborhood on Shawmut Street.
“Our hope is that they will see what we see which is a wonderful way to preserve our history while also protecting our future,” Franklin-Hodge said.