LED Bulbs in Streetlights



4000 Kelvin LEDs were chosen to replace the streetlight bulbs throughout Saint Paul. Lex-Ham is one of the first residential areas where they were implemented, starting on Portland Avenue in April 2016. The Lex-Ham Council office heard from several dozen neighbors with opinions or questions about the change. 

Neighbors drafted a petition, which can be found at the bottom of the page, asking the City to engage with residents and reconsider its choice due to a range of health, safety, environmental, and aesthetic concerns.  With over 120 signatures, the petition was submitted at the town hall meeting on December 1, 2016

Below you can also view the letter submitted by the Lex-Ham Community Council to Public Works on December 8, 2016 and Deputy Mayor Beckmann's response on January 5, 2017. As a result, the City has determined a process for testing additional bulb options while incorporating a community engagement process.

Public Works will install 8 types of LED bulbs or treatments for testing in the Lex-Ham neighborhood from March to May. During this time, feedback will be gathered from residents using multiple platforms. Signage will be installed identifying the areas for testing and how to provide feedback.
One type of bulb will be tested per block on the following streets between Lexington and Griggs:
Portland
Ashland
Laurel
Hague
The Lex-Ham neighborhood will be used to test bulbs in the older lamp post style lights. Two other neighborhoods will be sites for testing bulbs in the newer lamp post style lights. 

This process reflects the requests made to the City by the Lex-Ham Community Council regarding the transition of residential street lighting to LEDs and we are eager to partner with Public Works on this issue. Please plan to engage with this process in the coming months to offer your feedback and assistance.


Here is a summary of information on 4000K blue-rich light gathered by Lex-Ham residents:

Light-Emitting Diode (“LED”) 
  • brighter that traditional lights 
  • available in a variety of color temperatures 
  • have a longer lifespan 
  • more energy efficient that earlier generation bulbs 
There have been no complaints about switching to LED, just the brightness and color temperature aspects. The concerns regarding the 4000K blue-rich LED bulbs are listed below.

1. HEALTH

    a. Exposure to blue-rich light at night can lead to decreased melatonin secretion in humans
  • Melatonin, secreted by the pineal gland, helps balance: reproductive, thyroid, and adrenal hormones and regulates the body’s circadian rhythm of sleeping and waking 
  • Lower melatonin levels have been linked to increased risk of cancer
    b. The AMA adopted a position on LED street lights at their annual meeting June 14, 2016, recommending that the lighting should have a color temperature of no greater than 3000 Kelvin (K). The ones installed in Lex-Ham are 4000K. Incandescent has a CT of 2400K (Color Temperature (CT) measures spectral content – a higher rating means greater blue content and whiter light appearance). Here is a summary of the AMA recommendations: 
  • Supports reduced energy consumption of LEDs 
  • Encourages minimizing and controlling blue-rich lighting by using the lowest emission of blue light possible 
  • Encourages the use of 3000K or lower lighting for outdoor installations such as roadways and proper shielding be installed to minimize glare and lighting be dimmed for off-peak time periods. 
    c. Discomfort & Glare – causes pupil constriction and can damage the retina 

    d. Circadian Rhythm is disrupted by blue light in humans and other lifeforms


2. SAFETY 

    a. Neighbors are spending less time in front yards when the streetlights come on due to the glaring brightness and discomfort. 

    b. Neighbors are closing their windows and blinds when the streetlights come on so there are fewer eyes on the street and less awareness of surroundings. 

    c. Can cause problems seeing clearly for safe driving and walking at night (especially an issue for older neighbors and those with vision problems).


3. ENVIRONMENT 

    a. Plants, trees, and other organisms also experience circadian disruption.

    b. Street lighting is an important component of light pollution. 

    c. Astronauts in space have recorded that the installation of blue-rich LEDs in cities around the world are making light pollution much worse.

    d. There is a higher disruption of ecosystems of nocturnal animals. 


4. AESTHETICS 

    a. The color of the lighting changes the character of our historic neighborhood.

    b. The blue-rich lights seem harsh and uncomfortable.

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Amy Gundermann,
Jan 6, 2017, 3:03 PM
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Amy Gundermann,
Jan 6, 2017, 3:01 PM
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Amy Gundermann,
Jul 14, 2016, 9:06 AM
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