Good quality and placement of lighting can enhance an environment as well
as increase comfort and safety. Pedestrians often assume that motorists
can see them at night; they are deceived by their own ability to see
the oncoming headlights. Without sufficient overhead lighting, motorists
may not be able to see pedestrians in time to stop.
In commercial areas with nighttime pedestrian activity, streetlights
and building lights can enhance the ambiance of the area and the visibility
of pedestrians by motorists. It is best to place streetlights along
both sides of arterial streets and to provide a consistent level of lighting
along a road way. Nighttime pedestrian crossing areas may be supplemented
with brighter or additional lighting. This includes lighting pedestrian
crosswalks and approaches to the crosswalks.
In commercial areas or in downtown areas, specialty pedestrian-level
lighting may be placed over the sidewalks to improve pedestrian comfort,
security, and safety. Mercury vapor, incandescent, or less expensive
high-pressure sodium lighting is often preferred as pedestrian-level
lighting. Low-pressure sodium lights are low energy, but have a high
level of color distortion.