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Citizen complaint of the day: Why are spotlights at a North End park shining into condos in Charlestown?

Bright lights at Puopolo Park

The harbor's so bright, they gotta wear shades.

At 9:07 tonight, a concerned citizen in Charlestown filed a 311 complaint about some bright lights in the big city, specifically, the spotlights across the harbor at Puopolo Park in the North End:

Please consider turning off these lights at 9:00 pm. They glare into all of the homes in the marina in Charlestown. We would greatly appreciate your consideration of our neighborhood. Thank you.



A nearby apartment building does this to my apartment building.

The light is bright enough to go through the plastic of my window blinds.

I don't want to pay money and drill holes for blackout curtains, when there's so many other problems living here.

This is number 6 on the list of things that other building does. Their management company is useless.

I have a light in my refrigerator. I'm not sure it ever goes off.


Keep the lights on till at least 10PM. Fitness is more important than a little reflected glare from a baseball field and basketball court across the harbor.


Now those hurt

Problem solved.


thats a tough one ...
because if someone gets attacked in the park the solution would probably be more lites.

But they don't need to be that high and bright. They're probably so bright because they're above the tree tops so they're making up for the blockage.

Have you ever been to the park?

It has among other things a baseball field that my kids play at under the lights. I think we can all agree its pretty hard to see a baseball in the dark.

If the big city lights bug everyone so much, move to Maine, cost of living is cheaper and it's not as bright.


But they don't need to be that high and bright. They're probably so bright because they're above the tree tops so they're making up for the blockage.

They're probably, no they are so bright because it's a baseball field right there. And they do need to be that high because there's a baseball field right there. And actually, I believe the field in the photo is Langone with the wall that is visible the divider between it and Puopolo. So maybe the complainant should understand the next door neighbor rather than complaining so readily. But that would take effort.

This is one of the joys of an active city: nearby parks and kids having a good time (or not, if they're losing).

They also make cool lights for outdoor spaces that focus the light down and low. It helps with light pollution issues that affect animals. I see them around LEED buildings a lot. Might be a good alternative here (but costly).


Can the city find some way to let the lights stay on only if people are actually using the field, and in any event turn them off at some reasonable curfew hour such as 11 pm?


They do go off at 11. At 9, there could still be games going on. I'd guess the lights were turned on b/c there was supposed to be a game...that either finished early or was cancelled.

I run a 16-team men's baseball league that includes night games in Boston and our night games start at 8pm (some held in Boston, some not) because that's about as early as one can reasonably start a game when every player and umpire has a full time job (and not all are 9-5 or close by the field). Lighting in Boston parks with athletic fields turn off automatically at 10:45pm (In my experience at multiple fields around town- though it's possible that varies), and are only turned on when someone has a permit for the field. Sometimes a permit goes unused, so the lights may be on for no game (I try to let the Parks Department know ahead of time so that they don't waste electricity, but I can't speak for other permit holders).


I would have to disagree to some extent, Ron. The park has to be available - ready to use, traverse, enjoy - for reasonable use within reasonable hours. Scheduling use of fields like after-work softball leagues do (to enable groups to plan their schedule and avoid conflict) is reasonable, but putting barriers in the way of unscheduled reasonable use is not.

(What isn't mentioned is the waste of energy and money)

The most likely way that what you ask would be done would be to add a level of overhead and bureaucracy - some Parks Dept employee or employees who would have to be found (or scheduled, or come over from someplace else) to turn on the lights. That would waste a lot of time and money.

Better ways to do it? Some could be done immediately and inexpensively, some would have to wait for budget.
- The field lights should be aimed down at the area in question. There is no need for them to be at such an angle as to be pointing at condos 800+ feet away.
- Separate lighting elements - keep general lighting for the park at a good level with field floodlighting that can be turned on and off)
- Install a second level of control. Besides the master timeclock that shuts the field light circuit off at 11, have a timer that only turns them on for 60 minutes at a time (and charge league users $250 deposit for the key that turns the timer on)


Lighting equals public safety


I work at a school that's in a neighborhood with high crime. A few years ago I started keeping the park lights on from dusk till dawn and we've seen improvement in sketchy behavior.


It's not an area with any significant crime problem.

Not necessarily.


"A 1997 National Institute of Justice study concluded, 'We can have very little confidence that improved lighting prevents crime.' "

Having the lights go off at 10pm would be reasonable. Is that same person going to complain at the end of June when the sky is still light at 9:00?


If you have an 8:30 softball game.

Is that same person going to complain at the end of June when the sky is still light at 9:00?


Move to the suburbs!


not sure what that amount of lights signifies but Robert Newman and Captain John Pulling might have some information.

Even then, lights in the North End were affecting those on the opposite shore.


This thread is uncharacteristically anti-progressive. Don't you all know that Dark Skies is an environmental cause? The state is even considering making it the law.



Be grateful they don't make airplane noises and chill...

Boston would be a wimp of a city if it didn't support various ways to annoy it's own residents. What kind of city would Boston be if there wasn't light pollution, noise pollution, motorcycle thunder exhausts, boom-boom cars, dog dung on sidewalks. Lord, without all those varieties of pollution, people might think Boston is actually world class, instead of just eating its own trash.