Lighting up Downtown’s life

Posted: January 2nd, 2015 | Columnists, Downtown Partnership News, Featured, News | 2 Comments

By Kris Michell | Downtown Partnership News

Things are looking a lot brighter for Downtown San Diego.

That’s thanks to the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean & Safe program, which has instituted a comprehensive decorative tree-lighting program throughout Downtown.

Headshot Kris Michell Finalweb

Kris Michell

This program installs state-of-the-art LED decorative lights in trees along such key corridors as B Street, Market, C Street and others.

In all, close to 300 trees in Downtown have been wrapped with twinkle lights, helping make our streets and sidewalks safer and more inviting.

And things will only get brighter.

Starting in January, the Clean & Safe team — in partnership with the Gaslamp Quarter Association — will light up trees on Fourth, Fifth and Sixth avenues from Broadway to L Street, bringing even more ambience and illumination to Downtown.

But this tree-lighting program is more than meets the eye. It’s not just about ambience; it’s about economic development and improving safety.

A review of lighting studies in the United States and United Kingdom found that crime decreased by 21 percent in areas that experienced street lighting improvements.

Studies have also shown that lighting programs make people feel safer so they are more apt to walk down a well-lit street. More foot traffic means more businesses for our shops and restaurants in Downtown, helping improve our local economy.

photo 1web

New decorative LED lighting on C Street, one of many corridors Downtown to get the permanent enhancements
(Courtesy SDDP)

This tree-lighting program also shows property owners and businesses that we are committed to investing and improving our Downtown.

The recent tree-lighting program along C Street is a great example of how that investment is paying dividends Downtown.

We partnered with The Local to hold a fundraiser for the C Street tree lighting project, raising almost $3,500 from Downtown community members. The Downtown Partnership and our Business Improvement District contributed to the project, and the City of San Diego and business owners along C Street also stepped up to the plate. These businesses included Trilogy Management, the California Theater, Sycuan, HP Investors, Emmes Realty, Hines and LWP Group.

The result is that 83 trees — from Front Street to Eighth Avenue — now light C Street and the result is truly transformative.

For the first time in a long time, C Street seems alive and inviting at night. The new energy provides a platform to attract more private investment, luring new visitors and businesses to the area.

So when it comes to revitalizing C Street, I hope everyone sees light.

Love the tree-lighting program?

It wouldn’t have happened without Downtown’s Clean & Safe program. Help us renew the Clean & Safe program so we can keep Downtown bright and beautiful for many years to come.

If you are a Downtown property owner, we need you to sign a petition of support from renewing the Clean & Safe program. To find out how you can support the program renewal efforts, please contact Greg Parkington at

—Kris Michell is the president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, the organization that oversees the Clean & Safe program and also works toward creating a world-class Downtown. For questions or comments, email


  1. […] Read the rest of this article on San Diego Downtown News […]

  2. dean Brown says:

    I reported last Thursday eve with a voicemail message left and an acknowledgement received back that the recently installed tree lights on 2 of the trees on the north side of Island Ave. between Park and 11th are no longer working . Reminder to please look into this. Thank you so much.

Leave a Comment