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Get rid of street lamp light - LEGALLY!

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#1 snowdragonusa

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 10:51 PM

I have found this to be a rather touchy subject to say the least, but after reading another post I tried a suggested stated there to get rid of the pesky light coming from the street lamp right outside my house.

First I called the city and asked if they maintained the street lamps. They kindly directed me to our electric company. When I called them I explained my situation and the nasty light that shines not only into my house but also makes observing quite impossible. The rep was not sure what could be done and put me on hold. A couple minutes later she said she had put in a service ticket for me to block out the side of the street lamp that shown on the yard and house. She warned that it could take a couple of weeks to complete though.
That phone call was 2.5 weeks ago and tonight I came home to a beautifully darkened yard! WONDERFUL!

So, I would strongly recommend if you have a pesky street lamp that is shedding unwanted light all over the place... pick up the phone and call the electric company and simply ask them to cover the lamp to reduce the light. The worst they could do is say no. And the best thing is reduced light to observe the night sky!

Cheers!

#2 csa/montana

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 11:14 PM

Adam, thanks for a great post! Doing this legally, helps everyone, and hurts no one!

Thanks!

Carol

#3 imeridian

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 11:23 PM

Indeed, it never hurts to ask! It's also quite refreshing to read a report where 'the system works' to everyone's advantage. Yay for reducing light trespass!

#4 Protheus

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 11:30 PM

'the system works'



Well, I could always be wrong... :shocked:

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#5 o1d_dude

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 12:43 AM

What kind of a cover did they install on the street lamp to block out the light?

I'm ready to give my guys here a call and want to know what's available in the event they use the "I don't know how we can do that" tactic.

#6 jrcrilly

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 12:45 AM

What kind of a cover did they install on the street lamp to block out the light?


On mine they painted the relevant portion of the diffuser black. Works fine.

#7 DougP

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 08:39 AM

Adam,

Thanks for your post. It shows that there still people left who care, even in the big companies. A courteous phone call or friendly visit can work wonders at times. Now, drop them a note or make a phone call to thank them. I'll bet a nice thank you note will end up on the company bullitin board.

DougP.

#8 snowdragonusa

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 09:06 AM

Doug - I am one step ahead of you mate :) I have the note in the mail this morning.

Kit - They installed a metal shield round the face of the light that point toward my yard leaving the street-side available to illuminate the street.

#9 stefanj

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 09:10 AM

Bravo!!!! Dark Skies

#10 o1d_dude

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 12:21 PM

Thanks for the replies.

If I may interpret the results, the "standard" solution is to use some sort of a shield while the "if all else fails" method is to paint some portion of the reflector or globe(?) black.

In my neighborhood, the fixtures are upright tapered globes perhaps 18" tall topped with a fedora style reflector to direct some of the light downward. There are two of these streetlights on my court approximately four houses apart and on opposite sides of the street.

The one giving me grief sits on the property line between the neighbor and I. It shines light from the street through the 16' wide sideyard all the way into my back yard illuminating the sides of both houses, my concrete walkway and patio, the 6' tall privacy fence (ubiquitous in California), and the 30' Phototinia bush. Even on the darkest of nights, I can walk around in my backyard without ever needing to turn on the exterior lighting.

I'm calling this one in.

#11 desertstars

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 12:38 PM

Find out if it bugs your neighbor at all. If it does, get him/her to call about it as well.

#12 snowdragonusa

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 01:32 PM

Kit - My street lamp is the same style only a bit taller, maybe 25 ft tall. I would talk with your neighbor and see if they are cool with the change and call the power company. Since my light (and house) is on the corner I didn't have to work with neighbors. Who knows... if you talk to everyone on your street perhaps they would all be willing to get the lamps blocked so the light stays off the houses and only on the streets. Then invite them all over for some nice viewing :)

Clear (and dark) Skies!

#13 desertstars

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 01:48 PM

For those who pay attention to such matters, this thread has been rendered sticky to keep it from sinking out of sight any time soon.

Yep, it's that good! :cool:

#14 demiles

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 02:17 PM

I have also had a shield installed on the street light in front of my house. All state and county gov's are different so make some calls and you can make it happen. In my state I had to contact my county gov. They had me and my neighbor sign a petition for the shield. The local gov then sent the request to the local power company. It took 3 months but now I'm much happier viewing from home. FYI, Those little round photocells on top of the lights are a hard target at 35 yards . And if you do hit it you take the risk of shorting the powerline and taking out the power for whole neighborhood.

#15 snowdragonusa

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 03:04 PM

Wow... my post got all sticky! WOO HOO

:woohoo:

#16 Star Gazer

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 05:51 PM

I have found this to be a rather touchy subject to say the least, but after reading another post I tried a suggested stated there to get rid of the pesky light coming from the street lamp right outside my house.

First I called the city and asked if they maintained the street lamps. They kindly directed me to our electric company. When I called them I explained my situation and the nasty light that shines not only into my house but also makes observing quite impossible. The rep was not sure what could be done and put me on hold. A couple minutes later she said she had put in a service ticket for me to block out the side of the street lamp that shown on the yard and house. She warned that it could take a couple of weeks to complete though.
That phone call was 2.5 weeks ago and tonight I came home to a beautifully darkened yard! WONDERFUL!

So, I would strongly recommend if you have a pesky street lamp that is shedding unwanted light all over the place... pick up the phone and call the electric company and simply ask them to cover the lamp to reduce the light. The worst they could do is say no. And the best thing is reduced light to observe the night sky!

Cheers!


That must have been a pleasant surprise, congratulations!

#17 strgazr

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 10:21 PM

ya i had the same done to two lights even though they did thenm two months apart and there like 20' apart but what ever it got done and im amazed much better views

#18 57steve

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 06:14 PM

Thanks for posting this Adam. The street light in front of my house has been out for about 3 months. I was coming home from work the other night which is usually just after sunset this time of year, as I got near the house, there it was, the latest supernova illuminating my front yard. Yes the local power company had paid a visit to my neighborhood with what must be the brightest bulb on planet earth! Observing from my front yard has been wonderful since that first bulb went out. I will definitely see what can be done about a shield or a dimmer bulb. Wish me luck! :mad:

Steve

#19 snowdragonusa

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 02:11 PM

Best of luck to you! I bet a pleasant phone call and a simple explination will do the job.

#20 The Scope Guy

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:08 AM

It sounds like the municipal government is a lot easier to deal with where you live than the disfunctional lot we have running the city (into the ground) over here. I'm tempted to call them up regarding this problem just to see what their reaction would be- they would probably each refer me to someone else until I just gave up.

I have a bigger problem with well-to-do people relocating from the city into my dark sky viewing area. They arrive in their Mercedes, build a HUGE house out in the middle of dark sky country, then install one of those giant round bulbs that washes out the sky more than a full Moon from almost 1/4 mile away for security- this has happened twice in the last 10 years. As for approaching them politely and trying to reason with them it doesn't work, even if they see the impressive load of equipment in the truck and are invited to join in.

#21 desertstars

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:28 AM

The only thing I can suggest is to keep asking, keep inviting. Persistence often pays off in the long run.

That and check to see if there are any "light trespass" ordinances on the books.

#22 Maureen

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:52 PM

A friend of mine recently had a positive experience with our electric company. We have very few street lights in our area and he began to wonder why there was one on his road in front of his house - when no one nearby had one. A call to the electric company revealed that the prior owner had requested it and had been paying for it. We soon discovered that any street lights here outside of the village are requested and paid for by the individual. SO he informed the electric company he didn't want the light and wasn't going to pay for it anymore -END OF LIGHT! I realize this doesn't work if you have municipal lighting but unless you live in a heavily populated area check out who is paying for the light - it could be you.
Maureen

#23 The Scope Guy

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 01:36 PM

In my case I don't think there is much I can do. I have permission from the person who maintains the farmer's field I observe at, but I don't actually own the field and the owner lives in another province. He uses the field to grow hay and never visits it himself. Even if I could contact him I would not want to bother him regarding the manner. If only I could get the 2 main offenders to come out for a viewing session: it could solve the light intrusion, but I had to stop using another viewing site because every time I went there a larger crowd showed up to look through my scopes and cut my own viewing time down to about 10%. I'm a nice guy but my dark sky time is cherished, as the site is so far away I rarely get the chance for that kind of quality viewing. This area is a lot more remote, so I haven't had that problem yet.

#24 Astraforce Paul

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 01:55 PM

In our case, one call to the utility company and they sent someone out who put special foil blocking material inside the street lights that shone in our property's direction.

The person doing it even said to call again if I needed more foil material put in around the edges to block even more light!

The other solution is a Leyland Cypress tree which grows quickly and wide and looks great to boot.

#25 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 10:29 PM

Out in my dark sky area, there are no yard lights. None of the neighbors like them, and if one got put up, it would NOT be appreciated. It's a kind of "don't change the status quo" unwritten law.


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