New Streetlights are Blindingly Bright

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The city recently started replacing some of the lightbulbs in the streetlights in Georgetown. And, in GM’s opinion at least, the new bulbs are way, way too bright and cast an ugly sterile blue light. Either way, you’ve got to get used to them because they’re getting installed everywhere.

If you want a taste of the new lights, head over to Volta Place at night. It’s part of a long contracting saga in which the city is replacing the bulbs with LED bulbs. They’re definitely more energy efficient than the old bulbs, but the light the produce is incredibly glaring.

Many believe that brighter streetlights makes us safer. But there’s not a lot of evidence for that belief. And, in fact, there’s evidence that brighter lights increases crime. The idea is that brighter lights make it easier for criminals to see victims and property they’d like to target. Also, the brighter lights make darker shadows, which are still easy to find. And the pedestrians have even less night-vision to see the threats because their eyes have adjusted to the brighter lights.

Moreover, there is evidence that these new LED lights are actually bad for our health. The American Medical Association has issued a report warning that the LED bulbs may actually increase rates of cancer and heart disease.

One of GM’s neighbors contacted Jack Evans’ office to complain about the lights, but his staff said nobody else complained yet. So here’s your chance: do you hate these new lights as much as GM and not want them on your block?

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1 Comment

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One response to “New Streetlights are Blindingly Bright

  1. acon777

    Hi GM – I was walking the dog with my husband tonight, and going by the park at 37th & Whitehave reminded me of your post. There are a couple of the new bulbs in front of the park, and the old ones just down the block – and the difference is startling. The new light is awful, and feels like it gives the neighborhood a sinister, Batman villain kind of glow. The amber of the old lights is plenty bright, and just not so jarring.

    I will email Jack Evans office too, but I just wanted to say thanks for pointing this change out. Maybe there is something that can still be done before the neighborhood ends up looking like a Wal-Mart parking lot.

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