Decatur Lays Out Plan To Install – and Asks For Patience Regarding – New LED Streetlights

From the Decatur Minute blog

The City of Decatur 2010 Strategic Plan calls for the City to be good stewards of environmental resources and one of the tasks in the plan is expanding the use of more sustainable lighting options on streets and within city parks and public areas.  In addition, the City of Decatur Police Department has received community feedback requesting better and brighter lighting to increase safety and deter criminal behavior in our neighborhoods and business districts.

To achieve those objectives, the City of Decatur LED lighting project is designed to provide quality lighting for city roadways and sidewalks and reduce electricity consumption. We have contracted with Georgia Power to upgrade approximately 1380 streetlights from high pressure sodium light fixtures to LED fixtures.

The benefits of the LED lights include:

  • Smart LED streetlights enable Georgia Power and the city to monitor the system for non-functioning streetlights to improve system operation.
  • Reducing street light energy consumption by 40% to 60%.
  • Improving lighting quality and visibility to enhance street safety.
  • Real-time communicating of non-operating streetlights for improved response.
  • Eliminating the use of hazardous materials contained in sodium vapor lamps.
  • Preserving the night sky.

Georgia Power has started replacing fixtures in the Winnona Park, College Heights, Lenox Place and Great Lakes neighborhoods.  We anticipate that it will take approximately one month to complete installation city-wide. The new LED lights are brighter than sodium vapor lights and emit a much clearer light. It will be different and they change the lighting along the street. Once city-wide installation is complete, we will be working with Georgia Power to make adjustments and add light shields, so please bear with us as the new lights are installed.

Photos courtesy of Georgia Power.

Eye on the Toy Park

Goats at the Decatur Toy Park

Decatur Becomes the 1st Bee City USA in Georgia and 24th in Nation


Decatur joins the likes of Seattle, Asheville, Durham and Beeville, Texas, as a “Bee City USA”.  Looks like we’re the 24th “Bee City” in the country.

The City of Decatur sent along this announcement late last week…

The City of Decatur’s Commission has voted unanimously to become a Bee City USA®, becoming the first Bee City in Georgia. Decatur resident and beekeeper Deborah Palmer, made the presentation to Commission members, expressing why pollinators are important and should be protected.

A designated Bee City USA is expected to annually celebrate being a Bee City USA community with a proclamation and public awareness activities; publicly acknowledge commitment to the program through signage and web links; and annually report activities to Bee City USA to renew the certification.

The Wylde Center will facilitate programs in efforts to engage the community in promoting pollinator-friendliness. India Woodson, Landscape Infrastructure Coordinator for the City of Decatur, has been designated as the liaison.

Bee City USA is a nonprofit national organization that fosters ongoing dialogue in urban areas to raise awareness of the role pollinators play in sustaining three-quarters of the world’s plant species and what each of us can do to provide them with healthy habitat.

For more information about the Bee City USA organization visit or email Director Phyllis Stiles at [email protected]. For more information about Decatur’s Bee City USA program, contact Stephanie Van Parys, Executive Director at the Wylde Center at 678-642-4977 or India Woodson at 678-553-6527.

Starting July 1st, Decatur Residents Need To Separate Glass For Recycling

glass recycle

The City of Decatur send around this notice early this week to inform residents that starting next Friday, July 1st, we will need to separate our glass recycling from all other trash and recycling to get it recycled.

The message on the back is similar to the one posted on the city’s recycling page

Separated glass collection services begin July 1, 2016.

New rules set by recycling facilities dictate that glass must be collected separately from other recyclables. Decatur residents will need two bins – one bin for glass only, and one for paper, plastics and metal. Residents will be responsible for providing the second bin, and there are no stipulations regarding type or color, though it should be 18 gallons or smaller. Your recycling will be picked up the same day as your garbage. See the City of Decatur single family residential waste collection schedule here.

The note on the reverse of the card also points out that the annual sanitation fee for the new fiscal year has increased from $250 to $275 to cover the cost for separated glass recycling.

The city has wrestled with what to do about glass recycling since early this year, as industry demand for recycled glass has declined and recyclers are now often refusing to accept it.   The city asked residents what they wanted to do and via an online city survey and 90% of respondents were willing to pay $25 to $35 more a year to recycle glass.

So that’s what’s happening.

Finally, will the glass actually be recycled?  According to the city’s glass recycling FAQ – YES.

Yes. The glass collected from the separated residential curbside program will be sent to a recovery facility called Strategic Materials. They are a processor for recycled glass used in a wide array of products such as containers, fiberglass insulation, and countertops

Thinking of Going Solar? Decatur Event Offers Cost-Savings and Assistance

Interested in solar power for your Decatur/DeKalb home but you’ve been holding off because it’s too complicated or expensive?  Greg and Beth send along this announcement. Greg notes that this program is already live in Athens and summarizes…

Solarize Decatur is a community-based solar PV bulk-purchasing program that allows homeowners, businesses and nonprofits in the Decatur Area to save on the cost of solar together—the more that participate, the greater the savings!


Decatur’s Air Quality Worst Along South Candler & Scott Boulevard; Ponce Thru Druid Hills Has Area’s Worst Air Quality

air quality decatur

airquality legend

Check out this cool new map.  You can look at air quality (aka “Particulate Matter levels”) around Atlanta down to the street level!  As the ARC notes on its website…

Understanding air quality at the neighborhood level is also important in addressing land use and site planning- particularly for schools where children are most vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. It can also help us identify communities that are affected, but may be underrepresented in local decision-making.

Not too surprisingly, the air quality is best in residential areas away from major traffic arteries.   So Decatur Heights, Oakhrust and Winnona Park all look pretty good.  School-wise, College Heights, Oakhurst and Winnona Park have the best air quality.

The worst areas aren’t necessarily those that host the most traffic, but the areas where congestion is the worst.  Around Decatur that means the intersections along Scott Boulevard and South Candler fare the worst.   But they are nothing compared to how poor the air quality is along Ponce de Leon Ave between Moreland and Clifton in neighboring Druid Hills(as you can see above), which sees regular congestion during the work week and even often times on weekends.  The other pop of red of the map is at the intersection of North Decatur and Clifton, which sees substantial backups in the afternoons when Emory students and staff get out of work.

And of course, nothing in the Atlanta area compares to the poor air quality around the Connector downtown, especially north of downtown.  Yikes.

Take a look at Decatur and the larger metro region yourself and let us know what you see!