Flat sidewalks and Re: [LMB] OT: Walking to school

Marna Nightingale marna at marna.ca
Sun Oct 15 20:59:30 BST 2006

Greg Hennessy wrote:

> It is important to note that reducing urban safety lighting isn't the
>  same as reducing urban lighting, much of what is called safety
> lighting doesn't provide safety.

Yes, I think we've established this. Are we going in a circles a bit?

> This sentence *should* have read "it is important to note that
> reducing urban safety lighting isn't the same as reducing urban
> safety"

Ah. Much clearer, thank you. No, it isn't the same. And fwiw, I rather 
suspect that most of the 'increased' lighting I think we need in Ottawa 
could be accomplished through redistribution of existing lighting plus 
use of better fixtures. There are lights we can get rid of, definitely.

Absolutely we need GOOD lighting. It needs to light where it should
light, it needs to not light where it shouldn't light, and it should be
energy efficient.

> Why can't I find the typos *before* I hit the send key? 

It's a sign of the Fall Of Man [sic].

> The office towers at least have penny pinching accountants who these
> days want to know what return on investement is being made by leaving
> the lights on.

One may hope. I have not yet recovered from the sight of the Toronto
downtown core lit up like a block fire during the first night of the
blackout, when almost nobody else had lights, hot water, or air
conditioning for several days. Blocks and blocks of buildings with
NOBODY IN THEM. With all the lights on.You'd think some of those penny 
pinching accountants could have gone down there and reset the overnight 

Have been reading the articles, and they're interesting and seem to have
some good points, BUT.

A lot of the articles are discussing the effect of 'deterrent'
lights on vandalism or other crimes against property.

Their conclusion, that darkness (or darkness and motion detector 
lighting) is actually more effective because it discourages trespass and 
loitering, is interesting and seems sound as far as it goes, for 
guarding properties.

But the fact that it works by _keeping people away_ means that as an
approach to public area safety it's absolutely the wrong way. It's based 
on the assumption that the public have no business being in the area, 
which is valid enough for some buildings, not for others (I'd be pretty 
impressively put out if the City went with that approach for all their 
downtown properties; yes, I DO think I have right-of-way through a 
school or rec centre property on my lawful occasions, thank you very 

This appears, in fact, to be the reasoning behind our parlous 
park-and-pathway lighting situation; keep everybody out at night and 
there will be less crime. I can think of no other explanation for bike 
paths which are for bike riders, major cross town arteries, being 

Which forces night bikers and walkers onto the roads, which does NOT 
improve safety. At a latitude where 'night' starts before close of 
business for several months of the year, that's unacceptable.

(We're also back to walking to school. It's frequently dark when school 
starts, here, and getting dark when it lets out, in December.)

Police and safety experts are just as happy to see a lowering of the
crime rate by keeping people inside at night, clotted up on main drags,
etc, as by any other means.

That's not a slam. That's their job, it's what they do. They tell people
how to avoid danger.

The article on highways, otoh, suggests that continuous lighting is
safer than intermittent for areas which are meant to be traversed, and 
safer (and pleasanter) lighting for _travel_ by night is my main concern.


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