Local Politics

122 petitions

Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Mark Farrell, Jane kim, Hillary Ronen, Jeff Sheehy, Katy Tang, Ahsha Safai, Aaron Peskin, Sandra Fewer, Malia Cohen

Halt the installation of LED streetlights in SF neighborhoods until residents weigh in

In just a few months, that moody SF glow will be gone. Your neighborhood will be transformed suddenly and without warning, just as many of ours were. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has been busily replacing our warm tangerine street lights with ultra-bright LEDs. The fixtures  -- high intensity, blue-emitting, and unshielded -- are an assault on San Francisco citizens, and a public health concern. The new lights are nothing short of "mass civic vandalism," wrote one novelist. According to SF residents, they make their neighborhoods look like "a used car lot," "a construction zone," or "a prison yard." In short, San Franciscans HATE these lights. What's the problem? The new ultra-bright LEDs are far brighter and whiter than the orange sodium lights they replace. They emit blue light, which is known to suppress melatonin, disrupt circadian rhythms, and interfere with sleep patterns. The PUC ignored the American Medical Association's warnings about high intensity street lights, including their recommendation to properly shield then to reduce glare -- which can be blinding to motorists and pedestrians. The PUC also failed to follow the AMA's guideline to install smart LED lights that dim at off-peak hours.  The streetlights diffuse light over a much wider radius than the lights they replace, casting a cold white glow into homes. Homeowners with property exposed to streetlights should be concerned about their impact on property values. The same intense lights that may be appropriate for busy transportation corridors are not appropriate for quiet residential neighborhoods. The new lights spoil the atmosphere we've grown to love. We have in SF one of the most beautiful nighttime cities in the world. For some of us it is a true joy to be able to stroll at night past hills, parks, beautiful Victorians, and down Market Street, lit by warm, glowing orange light.  The new lights are ugly! They're invasive. They're cold. They're depressing. They ruin the night and they diminish our city. We accept that LEDs are part of our future as cities look to reduce costs and energy consumption. Not all LEDs are bad. But the particular fixtures installed by the PUC are not the result of smart design. They are the result of a bean-counting bureaucracy that failed to consider quality of life for the city's residents when making their plans. Thankfully, as other cities have shown, there ARE alternatives and we CAN fight back: In Berlin, residents protested a similar streetlight conversion. As a result, local engineers designed warm orange LEDs that mimic the color and tone of the city's traditional gas lamps. In Davis, California, a citywide streetlight replacement was halted after outcry from residents. Davis then gave residents the opportunity to choose the type of LED lamps that should be installed. Residents chose a warmer light, with less brightness, than the city had originally planned, actually saving the city money. These cities prove you do not have to sacrifice the energy-saving benefits of LEDs to achieve great outcomes. We want the same opportunity. So what do we demand? An IMMEDIATE STOP to LED street light installations until the public and our representatives can weigh in. For lawmakers to create a comprehensive set of guidelines for street lighting that puts humans, not bureaucracies, at their center.  For residents to have a voice in the type of lighting that is installed on our own neighborhoods and public streets.  These steps will likely lead to better lighting with the right temperature and brightness for the vast majority of people in our city. But we have to act FAST. Once the lights are installed across San Francisco it will be difficult to reverse course. Send a message to our representatives that we want them to pay attention and DO something to protect our city. Let's stop these terrible lights from taking over. Let's save the night!       Additional links The best essay on the subject: SF complaints: Health effects:  Citizens push back:  

Micah Springut
299 supporters