2018-07-26 / Letters to the Editor

LED lights are not a very bright idea

To the editor:

The July 19 letters to the editor have helped me realize what it is about the hopefully not-yet-settled plan to change Jamestown’s street lights to LEDs that bothers me and should bother every resident who lives near a street light and/or pays taxes in this town.

I found the scolding tone of the letter from PRISM’s director to be tone-deaf and off-putting.

Banal terms like “important savings opportunity” may sound great to corporate leadership or a focus group, but when Mr. Broadhead only characterizes these savings by referencing annual lighting expenses, without mentioning the capital costs of replacing the current lights, he’s being less than completely honest with us.

I saw no mention in the July 12 article about the cost of the initial investment, nor could I find such information on the town’s website, but some informal research seems to indicate a reasonable estimate for the cost to upgrade equipment could be $4,000 per light. For the town’s 367 lights, that’s about $1.5 million. With an estimated annual operating cost savings of about $57,000 that means it would take 26 years to break even. Does anyone really think that’s a worthy investment of our limited resources?

Setting aside the financial question, there are the concerns Mr. Brennan touched upon in his letter. Google “LED street light issues” and you’ll find articles referring to the light produced as being “ghoulish,” how LEDs wash out the night sky, how they can affect sleep patterns of not just humans but also animals, etc.

Has anyone driven down Broadway in Newport at night since they switched to LED street lights? It’s certainly bright, but oddly enough, it’s actually harder to see than it used to be. The harsh bluish glare put off by these LEDs almost makes you have to squint, and that’s not what I want to see on Narragansett Avenue, much less outside my bedroom window.

John Andrew
Grinnell Street

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