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Do We Need 8000 New Street Lights
in Colorado Springs?

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Colorado Springs & surrounding area residents,

There is a major lighting proposal that will definitely affect many communities around Colorado Springs. This proposal includes an installation of 8,000 new street lights around the Colorado Springs area. Even though the proposal is local, many cities and towns 20-50 miles away will be affected by this measure if it comes to light.

AS OF DECEMBER 18TH, THE CITY COUNCIL HAS APPROVED APPROPRIATIONS FOR THIS PROJECT.


A Message from a Concerned Citizen:

"For me, this all boils down to trying to save a major aspect of what makes Colorado special. I've lived here over a quarter century. It isn't nearly as special as it used to be. It goes with the water, the snow, the air and clear blue sky, the critters, purple mountains majesty, all that. Let's save what we can."


Topics of Discussion:

  • Letters from Concerned Citizens & Responses Received
  • Press Coverage: The Good, Bad & Ugly
  • Why you should get involved -- what is at stake?
  • Questions that need to be answered
  • Tips on Writing your Government regarding this issue
  • Public officials email addresses
  • Links relating to light pollution



    Letters from Concerned Citizens:

    Letter to City Council Members - 11/13/2002, Matt Russell
    Letter to the Editor of the Gazette Newspaper - 12/23/02, Jon Kolb
    Letter to City Council Members & CSU CEO - 12/23/2002, Gary Frerking
    Letter to Council Member Sallie Clark Regarding Concerns over Safety - 12/23/02, Matt Russell



    Press Coverage: The Good, Bad & Ugly:

    Local:
    The Gazette - 12/18/2002 - "Utility fees raise questions: extra Cost light pollution among complaints received by council"
    The Gazette - 12/19/2002 - "Utility Customers Paying for Growth"
    The Gazette - 12/20/2002 - "The Streetlight Tax: City exploiting utility ratepayers..."
    The Gazette - 12/22/2002 - "Streetlight plan just shifts tax to to utility ratepayers"
    The Gazette - 12/22/2002 - "Adding streetlights, another bright idea"
      My Response to the author of this article
      My Response to Council Member Ted Eastburn relating to this article
    The Gazette - 12/25/2002 - "Facts are on Skorman's side in this fight"
    The Gazette - 1/15/2003 - "Council turns on special fee to keep streetlights glowing"
    The Gazette - 5/23/2003 - "If at first you don't plan, jack up the rates"
    The Gazette - 5/28/2003 - "Other Council Action: Light fee cap"

    Statewide:
    The Durango Herald - 10/1/2002 - "City Drafts Dark Sky Rules"



    Why should you get involved:

    Light pollution has DRASTIC effects on our community:

    1. INVASION OF PRIVACY
    Do you want unwanted lights or skyglow shining in your windows at night? If they are bright like they are here in Minneapolis, blinds or window coverings don't help. And, I live in a suburban area that is considered to be a private neighborhood. I have experienced many poor nights sleep because of the intruding sky glow. That definitely changes your way of living, performance at work and your overall mood.

    2. DRIVING HAZARDS
    Imagine driving down the highway and starring at a light at Motor City for 10 seconds and then put your eyes back on the road and see what happens. It is very dangerous. It's no different than staring directly at the bright lights of an on-coming car. Glare is a huge hazard to nighttime driving and has been proven to cause many driving fatalaties.

    3. KILLS MIGRATORY BIRDS & AFFECTS LIFESTYLES OF NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
    Birds such as ducks and geese typically travel at night. They get confused with city lights and it is very common for them to circle those objects and crash into buildings, etc. Not only can this kill them, it can change their migratory patterns and lead to decreased waterfoul populations.

    Many animals use the nighttime for protection and reproduction. If they lose the dark cover, chances are you'll see less wildlife.

    4. ADDED LIGHTS ARE NOT SAFER
    There are many studies that have been done that suggest that added exterior lighting does nothing to decrease theft. Proper lighting techniques, however, are proven to reduce crime.

    5. LIGHT TRESSPASS
    Light tresspass is unwanted light shining into a particular place. Do you want lights shining onto your property? I know if I wanted a light on mine, I would of installed a hi-pressure sodium light there myself. Even though these lights may be miles away, the sky glow or "light dome" will illuminate your yard.

    6. EXTREMELY HIGH COST
    Only $2.00 a month is misleading. Keep in mind that is the physical cost of the poles, lights and upkeep. Hi-pressure lights are extremely expensive to operate. In my suburb, each resident pays about $15-$20 a month in lighting fees. Now take that amount and multiply it out for 10 years. That comes to $2,400 per household. As far as I'm concerned, take that money and put it into the local school system.



    Questions That Need To Be Answered:

    Answers will be posted here once they become available.

    1. What kind of lights? Are they full-cutoff, semi-cutoff or not specified, and how far apart is the spacing?

    ANSWER: FULL CUTOFF, EXCEPT IN HISTORICAL DISTRICTS WHERE DIRECTIONAL PRISMS MAY BE USED.

    2. Are they white light or yellow sodium?

    ANSWER: YELLOW SODIUM

    3. Are hi-pressure or low-pressure lights?

    ANSWER: HI-PRESSURE

    4. Are they slated for residential neighborhoods, downtown or suburban, schools, or for businesses like new car lots where the secondary bounce would be drastic?

    ANSWER: ALL PUBLIC STREETS WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS

    5. Which districts in Colorado Springs would fall underneath the proposal?

    ANSWER: WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF COLORADO SPRINGS

    6. Is it a local ordinance, or a county-related bill?

    ANSWER: LOCAL ORDINANCE

    7. Who does the city usually contract with to perform the work?

    ANSWER: ???

    8. To what extent are bills, proposals and local ordinances by district online in the city or state web pages?

    ANSWER: ???

    9. Does the 8,000 street lights include the replacement of outdated existing fixtures?

    ANSWER: INSTALLATION OF NEW STREETLIGHTS. A 40% INCREASE.

    To view an information sheet I received from Phillip Tollefson, CEO of the Colorado Springs Utility, CLICK HERE.


    Tips on Writing Your Government Representatives

  • Don't burn bridges. Being nice gets you a lot further
  • Speak from the heart
  • Stress the REAL issues: invasion of privacy, light tresspass, safety


    Who You Can Write:

    City Employee Job Title Email Address
    Mary Lou Makepeace Mayor mmakepeace@ci.colospgs.co.us
    Lionel Rivera Vice Mayor liriver@att.net
    James A. Null Councilmember District 1 j-null@att.net
    Charles Wingate Councilmember District 2 cwingate@ci.colospgs.co.us
    Sallie Clark Councilmember District 3 council@sallieclark.com
    Margaret Radford Councilmember District 4 Radford4council@aol.com
    Ted Eastburn Councilmember At-Large EASTBURNMD@aol.com
    Judy Noyes Councilmember At-Large jmnoyes@ci.colospgs.co.us
    Richard Skorman Councilmember At-Large rskorman@ci.colospgs.co.us
    Duncan Bremer County Commissioner: District 1 duncanbremer@elpasoco.com
    Tom Huffman County Commissioner: District 2 (Chairman) tomhuffman@elpasoco.com
    Chuck Brown County Commissioner: District 3 (Vice Chairman) chuckbrown@elpasoco.com
    Jeri Howells County Commissioner: District 4 jerihowells@elpasoco.com
    Ed Jones County Commissioner: District 5 edjones@elpasoco.com
    Phillip Tollefson CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities ptollefson@csu.org

    Email all of the above and express your concerns!


    Links of Interest:

    What Bad Lighting Has Done to Minneapolis -- Matt Russell
    Putting the Lid on Light - The Christian Science Monitor
    Efficient Outdoor Lighting Benefits Us All - Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Agency
    No Light at Night: A study on blackouts and vandalism
    The Unnatural Ecology of Artificial Light
    International Dark Sky Association
    Saving Dark Skies -- Sky & Telescope
    Durango, Colorado -- a Leader in Saving the Night Sky

    PROGRESS! Draft of Light Pollution Regulations in Colorado Springs



  • Copyright 2002, Matthew T. Russell. All rights reserved.