A July 17 edition of the Florida Bulldog website ( www.FloridaBulldog.org ) features a lead story entitled “FP&L switch to energy-saving LED bulbs for Miami-Dade streetlights halted amid resident safety concerns”
Written by staff writer Francisco Alvarado, this watchdog group’s story reviews many of the aspects of the controversy swirling about FPL’s efforts to “modernize” the Miami-Dade County’s street lighting system. The controversy began when on June 4 County Commissioner Dennis Moss mentioned constituent complaints, along with his own reservations, about the new lights— they don’t cast wide-enough light; residents say the LED beams are too concentrated and downward-facing, leaving dark areas (“dark spots”) between light poles. On June 18, Moss claimed that the “dark spots” had facilitated a wild shooting spree near his home. He further criticized FPL for ignoring a June 4 promise it had made to the County Commission to suspend all new LED installations pending further study.
The FloridaBulldog.org story features heretofore unpublished interviews with FPL and Miami-Dade County management, and Robert Holley, Board of Directors & Chairperson – Safety, Security and CRIME WATCH Committee, Colonial /Fairway Estates Civic Association.
“I was pleased,” Holley said, “ to do this interview with Mr. Alvarado of the Florida Bulldog group. I pointed out to him that I have a very unique perspective on the street lighting issue in our community. First, I have been actively involved with safety and anti-crime activities here since 1992. I was selected as “CRIME WATCHER of the Year” for all of Miami-Dade County in 1996. I have served on the MDPD, So. District Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) for 27 years. Second, as part of our Association’s civic activities, since 2000, I have often traveled the 55+ miles of streets (with 771 lights) in this community at night detecting out-of-service light poles. As volunteers, we have reported almost 200 of those to FPL in the past six years. Frequently traveling the streets has made me more familiar with good/poor street lighting than perhaps any other person in this area. And, I say unequivocally that I agree with Commissioner Dennis Moss that the new LED lighting presents a definite crime THREAT to our particular community. Simply stated, the new lights may be energy efficient, but they are not SAFETY efficient! Believe me, I know these streets. The new lighting is not of the same quality as what we had with the sodium based lamps.
Giving cover to criminal activity is but one lighting issue. In addition to coping with Miami-Dade’s grossly negligent ability to provide reflective street markings on many of our main streets, now we have limited, badly distorted views of the streets themselves. Are our fading night vision folks just supposed to stay home after dark?
It is really 1984 Orwellian to see a major utility and a large government try to claim that everyone will be “content” with this new lighting after it is all installed. Big problem is when it is “all installed,” then there is nothing else to compare it to. Memory fades quickly, and the purveyors of this implementation are all well aware of that fact..
To combat the before/after perception fallacy, we took the trouble to take before and after photos of lighting in certain areas, and these show a marked difference in the dispersion of street lighting. For those unhappy with the technical merits of the photography, we have publicly challenged FPL/Miami-Dade to install here some old sodium lamps for their own “before” shots, and to replace them with LED lamps for “after” shots to prove to the community that we are getting the same global intensity of street lighting as we had before. We have had no takers from either party, and I think that speaks volumes.”
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