Last week, a reader posted an editorial about how he liked the new street lights. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; we do, after all, still live in a democracy (I think).
Last week, a reader posted an editorial about how he liked the new street lights. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; we do, after all, still live in a democracy (I think). What matters though, in a free society, is not the select opinions of a few, but that of the majority.
Professionally, I’m in the business of data. It would appear that a very large majority of Chestnut Hill residents dislike the new lights, for a host of reasons. The survey the Local conducted seems to very accurately reflect the sentiment that I have heard from neighbors, friends, associates and family who live here in Chestnut Hill.
A rare few are not bothered as much. They tend to live in much larger “estates" set back a good distance from the street.
Upon further investigation, I have found numerous, well qualified articles that point to the negative impacts of lighting in the 3500K - 4000K and above color spectrum. These studies are from the American Medical Association, the United States government and numerous universities around the world.
Perhaps one of the more startling findings is the relationship between cancer - specifically breast cancer - and lights in this color spectrum. Blue/white light has been proven to increase cortisol levels, impacting us in a variety of negative ways, including increasing the risk of weight gain, aggression, anxiety and depression - and yes, cancer.
Arguments about how this light is similar to moonlight have already been proven wrong. A simple Google search will give you the scientific breakdown.
Dig a little deeper and you will see why it is so dangerous to wildlife. Or, if you are so inclined, walk down almost any street in Chestnut Hill after 9:30 pm and compare what you see to moonlight.
In terms of color rendering, there is a measurable value, known as CRI (Color Rendering Index), 100% being true color representation. Modern LED bulbs that produce a warmer light maintain perfect color rendering.
This is something that even a lot of lighting professionals get wrong, as the former high pressure sodium (HPS) lights did not do this well.
Everyone agrees that moving to LED is the right decision. It’s simply a matter of choosing more appropriate bulbs that produce a warmer light.
Lastly, in the spirit of opinion, I’ll share mine. I’m a bit of a nerd. My security camera is equipped with artificial intelligence and I have been counting and logging the number of people and cars for a few years now.
Since these new lights were installed on my block, the number of neighbors walking at night has decreased significantly while the number of cars has remained the same. I don’t think that fewer eyes on the street helps us prevent crime and protect public safety.
Of course, that’s just my opinion.