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Friday, August 2, 2013

Darker Darkness on the Streets of Riverview, NB

This photo was taken about 30 feet away from a street light.  The stop sign shows, as does light reflected
off the white house across from it, but notice how dimly lit the street is.

Darker Darkness on the Streets of Riverview, NB

It’s about light, isn’t it; about being able to see well after dark on the town’s streets?  Isn’t that the purpose of street lights?

The bulbs in the street lights were changed recently, changed to another type of bulb.  Now the streets in Riverview glow an eerie grey-blue, like a scene in a Stephen King movie.  The streets are darker, feel somehow less safe. There are stretches of impenetrable darkness between street lights.  The new lights shine a pool of grey-blue light below themselves but the light doesn’t spread much further.

I searched the Town of Riverview’s website for information or a notification about this change.  Nothing.  I did find one statement under the heading “Roads and Traffic.”  Did you know it costs $36,000.  a month to power the 2,100 lights used in streetlights, crosswalk lights and traffic control lights?  That’s it.  No other explanations, about anything to do with lighting.

$36,000.  is expensive; my tax dollars contribute to these costs.  I understand the need to be wise financially.  Perhaps the changes are about saving money.  That’s a good thing.  Perhaps the new light bulbs are about saving electricity, putting less demand on the grid.  That’s a great consideration.  Perhaps the dim bulbs are about creating less light pollution so we can more easily star gaze at night.  I doubt that’s it.  There’s still all that light pollution from Moncton across the river.

This photo was taken directly under a street light.  Note the grey-blue fogginess of the light
and how little illumination there is.
I wonder.  Could there have been another alternative to diminishing illumination on the streets at night, creating expanses of deeper darkness for people walking?  Where does public safety figure into this decision?  Last?  Or, not at all?

I wonder why there is nothing on the town’s website mentioning the changes.  Having streets lit in a dim grey fog seems a big change to me.  Isn’t it worth noting? 

I’ll keep on searching for information.  I’d like to understand why the lights have gone dim and grey-blue.   And why, Riverview is in the dark.

ADDITIONAL NOTE (posted at August 30, 2013):  At the end of this month, there were newspaper and TV news articles explaining the changes.  In summary:

"NB Power is in the process of replacing 72,000 street lights around New Brunswick, a project expected to cost $30 million.  The move to LED (light-emitting diode) street lights is designed to save money and reduce the utility's carbon footprint.  NB Power estimates the new lights will allow the province to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 324,000 tonnes during the next 20 years.  Despite the claimed advantages of switching to the new street lights, NB Power acknowledges some negative feedback from communities where they have already been installed." 

The utility says it is working to educate residents about the change, claiming the light is brighter, more efficient and more direct.  Well, not in Riverview, it isn't.  Does educate mean brainwash?  Do they think if they tell us it's brighter, we'll be convinced?  Have they tried walking early mornings and late evenings in Riverview?


Gwen Buchanan said...

I have an idea Carol, maybe they could change some lights with the village of St. Martins. The lights they put all around the arena are blinding... and it sits empty most of the time. Who is using the light? no one. We asked if they could do something about toning them down a bit but of course they said NO.

Carol Steel said...

Yes, Gwen, maybe that would work. I suppose it's just as annoying to have excessive lighting. I do think that dim lighting presents dangers especially to the walking public.