UPDATE, January 20, 2011
In an email from KW Hydro to the KW RASC Light Abatement Committee and the Region of Waterloo, it was indicated that the problematic street lights along Ira Needles were now all leveled. But upon investigating this claim, it was noticed that many, if not mostly all, of these street lights appeared unchanged.
After further discussions on this and regarding the incorrect angle of FCO (full cut off) street lights along Ira Needles Blvd, in Kitchener, it was decided by Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and The Region of Waterloo that the remaining lights which were tilted up would not be corrected. Two reasons stood out in this decision; the design would not allow further adjustment and the level of light output from these lights was not considered significant enough to cause any problems due to an upward tilt of the fixture.
A few street lights afflicted with this problem may not, but if more are installed this way, if not all, then that now amounts to a much larger problem in terms of light pollution.
The problem causing these light fixtures to not be flat with the ground, as FCO should be, turned out to be more than an installation error. The design itself of these FCO street lights selected for use on our roadways in Kitchener, was flawed. It does not allow for the fixture to be angled flat to the ground. And by looking at a number of them as they are, it seems this problem extends beyound the +/- 5deg leeway allowed, as some fixtures are angled up far more than this, while others are less and a few are actually flat to the ground. Regardless of the design not allowing for flat to the ground installation, the magnitude of variation in these street light angles, from one to another, is severe. Showing that far more care needs to be placed on work crews installing these FCO lights on our roads. It also begs the question, if one can be made near flat to the ground, why can’t the one beside it?
The fixtures have a level on the top of them that the installer can use to level the light flat to the ground. The design of the fixture is such that the light does not need to be angled up to reach the center of the roadway. It’s internal design (of the FCO) allows for the light to be aimed at the center of the roadway while still remaining flat to the ground.
However, the level seems to be an inaccurate means to gage the correct angle of the FCO light since other variables can, and are, at work such as poles not perpendicular to the ground and design flaws with the fixture itself.
It was indicated that the Ira Needles street lights may be of a different design than what is being used currently. This other design of FCO did not allow them to be angled correctly to the ground. However, looking around the city of Kitchener at different FCO installations, they all appear to be the same as far as one can tell from the ground. Requests to KW Hydro for the make/model of the Ira Needles FCO design and the current design being used (which was indirectly suggested to be better) went unanswered.
It was indicated that installation crews would be advised of the importance to ensure that proper angling (flat) to the ground of FCO street lights in Kitchener would be observed for future installations. Whether this will truly be the case has yet to be seen.
Requests to the Region of Waterloo as to their position on FCO street light angles and chosen decision in this case have gone unanswered. In a 2006 Transportational and Environmental Services Report to the Region of Waterloo, it was indicated that FCO luminaires (lights) would be used on regional roads due to concerns by members of the public regarding obtrusive light (sky glow, spill light (light trespass) and glare. Do FCO street lights tilted up and not flat to the ground not fall under obtrusive light?
One would think in keeping with this 2006 report that the Region of Waterloo would require tougher guidelines to be adhered to for the angle in relation to the ground of FCO street lights by cities and townships within it’s jurisdiction.
If you know of new street light installations in your area or have street lights that appear to be angled up, please let us know. An email can be sent to the Light Abatement Committee of the KW RASC at lpa(at)kw.rasc.ca
Team Lead, KW RASC Light Abatement Committee.