Many island residents have asked for additional lighting to illuminate dark streets for years, but now that crews are installing those lights, some residents worry they’re too bright.

“Those lights are horrible,” East End resident Tim Dudley said. “It’s a problem because it’s lighting up the inside of my house.”

With the bright light in front of his house, it’s difficult to walk down his stairs or use his porch, he said.

Dudley is one of several residents concerned about the brightness of the new lights, stirring a discussion that will influence the city’s master plan for lighting that’s been underway for months.

It’s technically not the brightness he’s referring to, but the color of the lights, Senior Project Manager Pete Milburn said.

“The technical term is Kelvins versus lumens,” Milburn said. “With lumens being the brightness and Kelvins being what we would identify as the color.”

The new lights are LED, which are higher efficiency and save money, as opposed to the older high-pressure sodium lights. LED lights reduce the city’s electric bill by about 40 percent, Assistant City Manager Brandon Cook said.

About 85 percent of the city lights have been converted to LEDs, city officials said.

While the old high-pressure sodium lights had a warmer color and run closer to 2,000K, LED lights installed at the city are 4,000 K, Milburn said.

When the city’s utility provider, CenterPoint Energy, began converting to LED lights in 2015, the 4,000K lights were the commercial standard, CenterPoint spokeswoman Alejandra Diaz said.

It’s important to light the darker areas of the city, but the 3,000K LED lights are a better choice for residents and for the environment, District 6 Councilwoman Jackie Cole said.

“Blue light changes the circadian rhythm,” Cole said.

Exposure to bluer, or higher Kelvin lights, isn’t healthy and lights that are too bright can be a distraction for birds, Cole said.

The nonprofit International Dark-Sky Association recommends LED lights be 3,000K or less, stating this reduces sight-impairing glare, reduces disruptions to sleep and has fewer negative effects on wildlife, according to the association’s website.

The 3,000K lights weren’t an efficient choice at the time the company began converting lights to LED, Diaz said.

“If the city of Galveston was to request 3000K, a discussion on materials and costs would be needed as the streetlights have recently been converted,” Diaz said.

The city does plan to meet with CenterPoint to discuss options, city officials said.

Changes probably won’t come next week, District 3 Councilman David Collins said.

He lives right next to a newly installed street light, he said.

“Some people don’t care for them because they’re pretty bright,” Collins said. “I get about as many people saying they love them.”

Collins wants to explore putting caps on top of decorative street lights that could prevent light from shining up and disrupting birds, but hasn’t explored the associated costs, he said.

The discussion has held up completion of the city’s master lighting plan, Milburn said.

For months, the city has been working on a document to standardize placement of lights and types of light fixtures, Milburn said.

The document aligns lights based on traffic corridors, with more lighting around busier and commercial streets and less lighting in residential neighborhoods or on the West End, city officials said.

Discussions about the appropriate Kelvin levels have, to some extent, held up the document’s completion, he said.

The city will look to incorporate public comment to see what residents prefer, Cook said.

“It all depends on the person you ask what’s ideal,” Cook said.

The brightness of new lights has been an issue for some people, but others are just happy to have some extra lighting, said Jeff Patterson, president of the East End Historical District Association.

“Probably, over time, people will get more used to the brighter LED lights and it will not be so much of an issue,” Patterson said.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.


(16) comments

Terry Moore

"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
John Lydgate

horace norris

Window blinds

Linda Gonzalez

I'd prefer bright street lights to help reduce crime in my area than a poorly lit street. A small investment in "Blackout Curtains" can easily remedy their issue, or window blinds.

Lisa Blair

Don’t even get me started...

David Schuler

I love the fabulous new street lights on Sealy!

Carlos Ponce

I didn't know there were Gremlins in Galveston. [wink]

Priscilla Files

There’s no direct correlation to increased streetlighting and a decrease in crime. I like lights that are on a human scale, say 10’ tallish and lower than 3000K. The lights in the article are too bright. I would oppose them in my neighborhood.

Rick Jacobi

My wife recently remodeled our house, including changing out all our light fixtures. She went with 3000 K LED bulbs. It is true that the 5000 K bulbs have a harsh blue tone and the 2700 K bulbs are darker with a yellow tone. The 3000 K were a good compromise and would probably work well for street lighting.

David Schuler

Apparently these lights annoy or please both Democrats and Republicans, so - hooray! - we now we have something besides National Politics to further divide our community, Fact is, you can't be called a true Galvestonian unless you are complaining about something!

George Croix

"Do it for the environment."

Well played....

PS Robbins

Feel free to send some of that lighting over to Dickinson; we'd be glad to take it on and put to good use

Karen Sawyer

The lighting is great those streets were so dark

Raymond Lewis

Center Point (at our request) replaced a few lights and added a few along newly re-done 69th street where two bicyclist were killed in less than a month. The well lighted areas are now wonderful and has encouraged more foot traffic to and from the sea wall and the shopping areas after dark.

Jarvis Buckley

You will get use to it . Curtians and or
blinds. The city should be commended for its efforts to save our money & reduce crime.

Jeff Patterson

I’m happy 😁

The new streetlights have allowed me to take my evening walks on the sidewalk instead of the street! MUCH SAFER!!! Down Sealy and up Church. No flashlight needed. Before the unlit path was too dangerous in the dark and in the street we have to assume the driver can’t see us so we have to dart between parked cars when they pass by. They are brighter than Postoffice for sure but they’re not nearly as bright as the 4000 Kelvin Cobra lights (2) at eye level with my bedroom window. Drapes fixed that.
Connie Patterson

Charlotte O'rourke

“We are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed.” Thomas Fuller

While I agree with the first two statements, I disagree that most die disappointed with their life.

The complainers are complaining and wanting to make a change. Let them complain, see if it is valid, make adjustments if needed and move on.

Only if you constantly complain without trying to make a difference will you truly be disappointed .... even in failure, you at least tried to make a difference. Try to make differences in the lives of others .... you will not leave this world a disappointment to yourself or others.

BTW - I live in the east end and really like the lights!

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