BOSTON (WHDH) - Some Boston neighborhoods could soon be flipping the switch on their iconic street lights.

The city wants to swap out the gas lights in neighborhoods like Beacon Hill and Charlestown, with LED lights saying the new lights are more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Some who live along these historic streets say that is not going to happen.

“People don’t want to change the ambiance of Boston and Beacon Hill and what it’s known for,” said long-term resident James Sheridan. He feels the gas lamps and the story they tell is irreplaceable.

“There used to be the gas man who went around who turned the gas off and every morning turned it on and lit the thing,” he said.

Rob Whitney, chair of the Beacon Hill Civic Association, said questions about how much it will cost and how much will be saved need to be answered to justify the light switch because it may not be as easy as changing a light bulb.

Flipping the switch? Some Boston neighborhoods could soon be getting rid of historic gas lamps

“They are talking about doing it street by street which is closing down one street at a time all over Beacon Hill,” he explained. “Removing the entire lamp, taking out the gas lines, putting in new electrical lines, putting in a brand new electrical fixture, fixing the sidewalk, fixing the street. It’s a big process.”

Though most of the city’s street lights have already been swapped out about 2,800 gas lights still stand.

According to the city, the greenhouse gasses from the gas lamps are equal to 1,100 cars. Two gas lamps alone consume as much gas each year as the average house.

The city pays almost $1 million a year in gas bills to cover the lights.

Most said they are OK with the idea of going green but they want the history preserved.

Mayor Michelle Wu said this is a step toward becoming a green new city and she too wants to keep the historic nature of the lights intact. Adding in part:

“Together with our communities, we’re excited to explore how these electric street lamps can serve as an innovative tool in the fight against the current climate crisis.”

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