Letter: Worried about impact of LED streetlights | March 20, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Viewpoint - March 20, 2013

Letter: Worried about impact of LED streetlights

A few nights ago I went out at midnight and saw that new LED streetlights had been installed on our block on Pope Street. I was shocked to see how bright they were — with a sickly, electronic light — and immediately wondered about the health impact on sleep cycles of people, animals, and even plants.

A quick look online showed at least one study that shows that these lights are potentially very disruptive of human sleep cycles. I am going to do a thorough investigation, and plan on bringing this up first with the city's engineers and then later the City Council.

My feeling is that the health, environmental, and light pollution impacts of these new LED streetlights were probably inadequately studied, and that we should start thinking about mitigations (dimming them, shielding them so they don't light up front lawns and houses). I understand that LEDs save electricity and money, but at what ultimate cost?

Jordan S. Gruber, Pope Street, Menlo Park


Posted by Political Observer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm


[Portion removed. Please discuss the topic and avoid personal attacks.]

Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I am a big fan of LED lighting. Their beam shaping possibilities and high speed modulation make for interesting possibilities. Their relatively broad band emmission (compared with sodium or mercury lamps with strong spectral lines) renders them less light polluting.
Modulation of these lamps could provide critical messaging to vehicles with appropriate receptors.

Posted by Tricia Barr, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 22, 2013 at 9:41 am

I like the lights. Thank you, Menlo Park! I heard the brightness can be adjusted; please don't dim the lights unless all neighbors near it agree.

Posted by Edward Syrett, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm

As usual, cost is an issue. If it weren't, there'd be a simple solution: put motion detectors on these streetlights. Many Menlo Park households, including mine, have motion-sensor-activated floodlights on their property to discourage prowlers and make it unnecessary to carry a flashlight into the back yard after dark. There's an initial cost to purchase and install these things, but it amortizes over many years.

The city should consider making this investment. That way, the lights would deliver the safety benefit of greater visibility without contributing to the overall light pollution from our urban area.

Posted by Menlo Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm


[Portion deleted.] You didn't want us to have plastic bags. You got what you wanted. Now you are complaining about LED lights? Could it be that electricity demand for PG&E will drop. No worries. PG&E will make it up with electric cars.