They have to wear sunglasses at night.
The Department of Transportation needs to tone down the new, high-intensity street lights that are shining into homes and ruining residents’ quality of life, Ridgites say.
The super-bright bulbs are causing residents some serious headaches.
“I was told to avoid bright, artificial light,” said Ridgite Rosemary Steinberg, a cancer survivor who developed ocular migraines due to chemotherapy, and now has to wear sunglasses indoors and out to prevent extreme pain. “And then we came home the first night [after the lights were installed] and the migraines started. First time in two years.”
The glare is so strong it’s like something from a science-fiction film, the 76th Street resident said.
Steinberg and her husband have already blazed through $300 on new window coverings to block out the invasive illumination since the city put in the new bulbs about two weeks ago, she said.
They’ve tried to shed light on the situation by calling 311, Community Board 10, and the Department of Transportation, and even writing a letter to Mayor DeBlasio, she said.
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The community board is forwarding all complaints to the city, said CB10 district manager Josephine Beckmann. The board got 15 calls about the amped-up lamps — mainly from 76th Street — in just two days, she said.
Neighbors seem to agree new lamps weren’t a bright idea.
“It’s been horrible since last Thursday,” said 76th Street retiree Marie Albi, who’s apartment is situated under a street lamp. “It’s like we’re living in a film set over here. I can’t sleep.”
Locals want the city to use lower-intensity lights, angle them away from homes, or install shields on the bulbs so they only shine straight down, affected residents said.
The city is considering the latter, according to Beckmann, however a Department of Transportation spokeswoman would only confirm that the city is aware of the issue.
But the problem only seems to be hitting home for those living directly across the street from the lights.
“It’s bright, but it’s not shining on the whole block,” said 76th Street resident Zecil Reid, whose apartment is a few doors down from the nearest lamp. “I don’t know what they’re complaining about.”
The Department of Transportation is in the process of replacing the city’s 250,000 street lights with high-efficiency light-emitting diodes — an upgrade from traditional 100-watt bulbs — citywide in a plan that’s supposed to save taxpayers $8 million a year in maintenance and $6 million annually in energy costs, according to information from the city.
In other cities where super-bright streetlights have become an issue, complaints from locals have led to lengthy legal battles. Steinberg said she hopes it doesn’t come to that here.
“There’s people suing their counties, suing their municipalities,” she said. “In Seattle it’s been going on for four years. I don’t want to go through that.”