The project is likely to be particularly welcomed by cyclists, some of whom had approached the department to see if improvements could be made. They had identified particular badly lit stretches of the cycle track in St Aubin's Bay which made it difficult for them to commute home, in the dark, during the winter months. The lights are currently being trialed along a section of the promenade cycle track, west of Bel Royal.
Savings on maintenance and electricity costs will cover the cost of investment in the lighting in just over 3 years and as the lamps are likely to last up to 25 years, there should be many years of ongoing savings. "TTS is continually reviewing the services it provides to look for service improvements and cost savings," said the Connétable Mike Jackson, Minister for Transport and Technical Services. "The replacement of these lights manages to achieve both these objectives. After the initial payback period, we will be saving about £15,000 a year. "(1)
This is good news on three fronts.
First, the lighting is better for cyclists who are the main users of the lighting over the cycle track, so it is responding to users, rather than people who just look at the coloured lights. While coloured lights are pretty for the tourists, but for tourists along the promenade, I think that white lights will do just as well, and also make it safer for them too.
Second, it is a move to energy savings. A real improvement at last, and perhaps with low-energy spotlights now available, a trial on a monument should be the next item on the agenda. And lighting within States buildings, as well, perhaps? But at least one States department is looking to make significant savings. It's a positive start. Why didn't this kind of innovative thinking emerge from the misnamed "Imagine Jersey"?
Lastly, it is being trialed to ensure it works properly, and there are no snags. Instead of a utopian, all or nothing expense, which usually leads to projects having major and costly flaws, this is a trial over a segment. If it works well, it will be extended. But this kind of piecemeal thinking is a significant change for States departments, and is to be welcomed. Try, see and extend. The same thinking is behind the double-decker buses - bring one, and if it works, extend it. It is a basic scientific way of doing things, but it is very welcome to see Mike Jackson doing it with the States.