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Burnt Store lighting ill-planned, ill-conceived

May 22, 2020
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

"More light in not better light.

Better controlled light is better light."

We are 100% supportive of responsible roadway lighting for safety and security. The objective of a "responsible" roadway lighting design is to focus light on the roadway for safety and security without excessive light pollution or invasive light trespass. Some of the basic criteria are: color temperature, fixture type, illumination pattern, light output, and environmental considerations relating to light pollution, sky glow, and light trespass. It's not rocket science.

Unfortunately, along Burnt Store Road the responsible criteria was not met. What was installed is high lumen/high color temperature LED commercial parking lot lights indiscriminately throwing light in all directions instead of focused on the roadway where it belongs, creating massive amounts of light pollution and light trespass causing people's homes and yards to be lit up like a parking lot or prison yard.

The American Medical Association and the International Dark Sky Association (among others) warn that the 5K and (4K color temperature that LCDOT used) have been proven to be harmful to wildlife, the environment and ecosystem, and the health and wellbeing of humans by disrupting our Circadian Rhythm. Information on International Dark Sky approved fixtures and the dangers of improper roadway lighting was provided to LCDOT but they apparently choose to ignore it. The facts are available at www.bslighting.org and www.darksky.org

Why would they make what many say is such an irresponsible decision? LCDOT states "we wanted to light up the multi-use path." But at what cost? Certainly the path took precedent over the residents along BSR health and wellbeing, and no consideration seems to have been given to light pollution, light trespass and the dangers they represent to wildlife, the environment and ecosystem.

What they should have done was use an eco-friendly fixture with a color temperature recommended by the American Medical Association and the International Dark Sky Association with an illumination pattern that directs the light towards the road and produces less glare and eye strain.

What they did was install commercial parking lot fixtures that indiscriminately throw light in a 360 degree pattern causing massive amounts of light pollution and light trespass. The fixture manufacture and The Roadway Lighting Design Guide state "these fixtures are not suitable for residential installations." It was not a responsible decision.

Here are just a few comments from our petition:

- "I have spent 30 years in the commercial and roadway lighting industry and I have not seen a more atrocious project in my life. This is an absolute case of using the completely incorrect fixtures for this application." RM

- "We live directly on the corner of Burnt Store. We have to use hurricane shutters to keep the light out of our bedrooms at night. Our Snook light is no longer visible and our backyard is lit up like a parking lot. It's obnoxious and we are very unhappy with the light invasion of our privacy." JF

- "My master bedroom is overlooking the canal and the lake, the intense lumen of light invades and penetrates the blinds giving rise to a false sense of daylight. Over periods of time I am afraid will do tremendous harm to my health and wellness. To mitigate these concerns, I strongly recommend that LCDOT replace the fixtures with the correct ones or install shields to reduce light trespassing. Keep light falling on the road where it will do the greater good of protection, and not invasion." MS

- "Since the street lights were installed I have been having trouble sleeping. It has severely impacted my enjoyment of our property and affected my quality of life. I had to go back on my heart medications (which I haven't needed in over three years) to deal with heart palpitations brought on by the stress." GC

To date over 400 people have signed the petition, called, and emailed Lee Country DOT, Brian Hammam and all the Lee County commissioners, as well as Mayor Joe Coviello and other members of the Cape Coral City Counsel, but so far they don't seem to be listening or responding to their constituents.

So what's the solution? Ideally the fixtures should be replaced with Dark Sky compliant 3000 degree Kelvin with the more responsible Roadway Type II or Type III illumination pattern. This is what the manufacture states "is the most popular fixture we sell" and what was recommended to LCDOT when they were in their design phase.

Failing that, at a minimum the light trespass shields need to be installed to limit the invasive light trespass caused by the existing fixtures. (The light trespass shields could have been ordered with the fixtures but were not.) They are available separately for approximately $100 each and snap onto the fixtures in seconds without tools. The total cost of the light trespass shields would only run approximately $13,200 (probably less than it cost to take down every pole one by one and power wash them "because they were dirty" but that's another story)

The point is: If you can get better results without causing light pollution, light trespass, harm to wildlife, the environment and ecosystem, and the residents along BSR, why would anyone pick the irresponsible option? (Oh, yeah, the path.)

We are all interconnected. During our time of self-isolation the planet has been quietly healing itself. As we come out of quarantine and move forward, we must learn to be more responsible with how we treat Mother Earth If you understand how the Butterfly Effect effects nature, if want to protect wildlife, the environment and the ecosystem, please sign our petition at www.change.org/p/bslighting or call or email LCDOT and Lee County Commissioners to let them know "The time of being environmentally irresponsible has passed."

"What We Allow Is What Will Continue".

Thomas Howard,

Cape Coral

on behalf of Burnt Store Lighting LLC

 
 
 

 

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