LOWER EAST SIDE — Let there be light.
That's what a local business improvement district is proposing as part of a plan to add new streetlights along Essex Street to better illuminate the block and promote business in the area.
The Lower East Side BID will present its plan to Community Board 3’s transportation Committee on Wednesday, after securing more than $300,000 in capital grant funds for the brighter lights from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office.
The plan would relocate the street's current, historic-looking fixtures to narrower side streets in favor of brighter lights on the block, between East Houston and Canal streets, according to the BID.
"There is an effort to make everything similar," said Tim Laughlin, the director of policy, planning and operations for the Lower East Side BID. "It will add a degree of aesthetics. It will also add additional light to a very busy traffic corridor."
The current fixtures along Essex Street are a mixture of historic-style Bishop’s Crook replicas that were installed a few years ago, and the more modern-looking "cobra head" lights, Laughlin explained. While both bring sufficient light to the street, the Bishop Crook fixture is better suited to smaller streets, he added.
“Part of the proposal is to relocate those lights to the side streets around Delancey and East Houston Streets,” Laughlin noted. The cobra head lights would be done away with entirely.
All the light fixtures along Essex Street would be replaced under the plan with new "WM" light poles, which Laughlin described as very classic and modern fixtures approved by the New York City Street Scape Manual that are able to provide light for a wider area.
He did not anticipate any resistance from preservationists over the change, because the Bishop's Crooks were being moved to "contextually appropriate locations."
While increasing safety is only a minor benefit, the BID is hoping the new lights will benefit local businesses on the commercial and residential strip.
Essex Street, which counts heavy car and foot traffic, would become more attractive to nighttime shoppers and diners, Laughlin explained.
“It will change the general atmosphere at night with a good amount of light,” he said.