The Town of Vail is in the process of creating a lighting master plan for both the North and South Frontage Roads. While the need for improved safety and way finding are the primary drivers for creating this lighting master plan; the Town is also addressing aesthetics and environmental stewardship issues in this plan. The proposed lighting master plan is intended to be implemented in stages as opportunities arises over time.
The existing roadway lighting is limited to the roundabouts, and the existing pedestrian lighting is limited to the commercial core areas and street intersections. With this limited lighting, there are both safety concerns and way finding challenges for all modes of transportation.
The overflow vehicle parking that occurs along the frontage roads at peak times is a significant safety concern. Overflow parking occurs on the frontage roads 30 to 50 times per year. This parking occurs at the busiest times during the year, in the busiest locations along the frontage roads, during the shortest daylight hours of the year, during times of inclement weather when road conditions are poor, and the parking occurs on the opposite side of a visitor’s primary destination thus requiring pedestrians to cross the frontage roads. The combination of these factors presents a precarious situation for vehicles entering and exiting parking spaces along the frontage roads, for pedestrians entering and exiting their parked vehicles, and for pedestrian trying to cross the frontage roads at various locations to access the commercial core areas. Other safety concerns include the general inability of vehicle drivers to adequately see pedestrians, bicycles, stopped buses, and other obstacles at night.
Nighttime way finding challenges currently exist at the roundabouts and at various local road intersections along the frontage roads. The existing frontage road conditions limit the ability of drivers to determine their necessary direction of travel without becoming lost. Primary vehicle routes need to be illuminated at major intersections to lead drivers who are unfamiliar with the area down the right path. Secondary road intersections also need to be illuminated to allow the unfamiliar driver an opportunity to anticipate upcoming intersections and to give the driver the ability to read relevant signage. Notable destination points such as the Village parking structure, Lionshead parking structure, and Ford Park also need to be property illuminated.
The Town anticipates that the proposed lighting master plan will be implemented over time as roadway and private development construction projects occur. Staff believes it is critical that each individual development project adjacent to the frontage roads be coordinated with a comprehensive street lighting master plan. Unfortunately, there are multiple private developments and roadway improvement projects already under construction adjacent to the frontage roads. The roadway and pedestrian lighting improvements associated with this construction is currently being implemented on a project-by-project basis, rather than in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. The proposed lighting master plan is intended to remedy this situation and provide direction into the future.
Light Technology - HPS vs. LED
1. LED basics published by DOE:
2. LEDs as they apply to outdoor area lighting published by DOE:
3. Lighting Research Center white paper comparison of yellow and white light source for mesoptic vision (our night-time vision which is a combination of cones and rods at work)
4. Beta LED roadway test sites - pictures
5. Money magazine report on economics of street lighting controls