Wednesday, August 26, 2009


There is a new trend in a high percentage of communities across America. Turning out the lights. it's revolutionary, I know!

Not just your household lights, but the street lights that you see along our city blocks. Towns & cities from coast to coast are now cutting their carbon footprint and electrical expense, by shutting down their street lights half the night.

The cost-cutting moves coincide with changing attitudes about streetlights. Once viewed as helpful safety measures, the lights are increasingly seen as an environmental issue, creating light pollution and burning excess energy.

When I read this on a twitter post, I looked for some examples: Santa Rosa, California, started a two-year effort to remove 6,000 of the city's 15,000 streetlights. An additional 3,000 will be placed on a timer that shuts lights off from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Savings: $400,000 a year.

Sure, people want light everywhere, citing the need for safety at every corner, but without 24 hour surveillance, its as good as dark anyway. The City of Kingston has thousands of street lights. Some in the weirdest places. It might be time to re-negotiate the contract with Central Hudson about the unnecessary expense to the taxpayers.

Streetlights are more expensive than people realize, and if it were up to me, Id start turning a few off as if they were in my own home. Hell, were all paying for them through taxes. Many cities are leaving streetlights at intersections but removing them from residential neighborhoods, especially from the middle of blocks.

According to some studies, there's little evidence to support the belief that streetlights reduce crime. However, lighting does reduce traffic accidents, especially at intersections. I would ask anyone within the City of Kingston to tally up a list of street lights we don't need and submit the list to the Common Council for the budget talks. I bet we could cut the increase by half a point right there.

With all this talk of green industry and carbon footprint, why don't we invest in solar street lights as an alternative to the standard High Pressure Sodium lamps we use today? Wouldn't that be a wise investment with all this federal stimulus money?


Anonymous said...

You're kidding right?Granted,turning off some lights would save the city and taxpayer some cash,but it comes with a price.#1 is safety to public and private property,#2 is that if we cut down usage ch will pass the losses on to us,the consumer,by way of rate increases.For example,i have replaced all bulbs in my home with those energy savers some time ago,usage went down,rate went up.Thank you for looking at ways to save us some money but turning off the lights isn't the answer.

Anonymous said...

How about the gas and time wasted while people wait at the many no turn on reds signs Kingston has?

Anonymous said...


I'm all for solar lights if and when such becomes an affordable option - but cutting down on street lights (other than any that might have been placed in duplicate and/or in totally ridiculous locals) - no way.

Safety first.


Mike Madsen said...

NS; Thanks for the safety concern. Yes safety first, but there are some distant lonely street lights that dont make sense in the outer stretches of the city. Driving through those areas at night...well, Ive got headlights.

Besides, I just thought to alert the people that other towns are looking at this option and some are taking drastic measures. Overall, the pennies we'd save wouldn't detract from the monster budget woes we have this year.

See ya at the meet & greet.

Anonymous said...

Mike: some good ideas- again-safety first- how about some programs that allow the actual lights to power down and reduce the light itself. We used them at the Chemical Bankk branches. A small device took the light system from high intensity to a lower one. Saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in my region alone.
Just my two peso's worth
take care,
Shelly Z

Anonymous said...


I didn't mean to sound too blunt. Its just that there are walkers, including young people - and bike riders - to consider - on top of the fact that there is so much construction (very confusing at times) going on...

I'm grateful to you for keeping us informed as to what is going on in other locals. I truly (It is a major service...) am.

Shelly - that sounds interesting, as well - and, all told - this sounds like an area (potentially saving on lots of money in a safe manner) that maybe an organization like the LWV would like (I do not know, but it would be worth inquiring) to do a comparitive study on.

Mike - I'm glad you are coming on the 12th. Thank You.


Anonymous said...

all the dirtbag junkies on broadway & in Broadway East would be delighted to have ya'll do that for them.

their nefarious actions would be harder to detect & they can sell their death & mug their victims easier w/o security cameras getting any good videos of their crimes.


ask my wife, who is from Santa Rosa if the illegal mexicans there enjoy the darkness,, she says they love it !!!

Anonymous said...

How about turning some lights off in City Hall? Nobody shows up for work and nobody keeps attendance anyway.