Fifth and Walnut garage lighting discussed at meeting

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | 9:38 p.m. CDT; updated 1:58 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The Environment and Energy Commission met Tuesday to discuss lighting issues present at the Fifth and Walnut parking garage. Some commission members said the garage's lights are too bright and stay on for too long.

COLUMBIA — Concerns about lighting in the Fifth and Walnut parking garage were brought up by members of the Environment and Energy Commission at its meeting on Tuesday.

The most discussed issue was the brightness of the LED lights at night.

“What people are concerned about is not how bright it is on the street,” commission member Richard Parker said.  “They’re concerned about how bright it is three blocks away, five blocks away, 20 blocks away. That stands out tremendously when you look at the city.”

John Glascock, director of public works, said the city is looking at shielding the light to keep it inside the garage.

“LEDs are very directional,” Glascock said. “They’re tilted, so each dial you can put a shield on.”

Glascock said the lighting issue might be caused by the garage's design. He said the other city garages are flat, which has not caused lighting issues so severe. He said the garage at Fifth and Walnut is a double helix design.

“The double helix is on a slant, so you’re seeing the lighting down below,” Glascock said.

Parker also asked why the stairwell lights are on all day.

“There might be some shady days when that would be appropriate, but they really ought to be on some sort of sensor,” he said.

Jill Stedem, public information specialist for the Public Works department, said the lights would be staying on for safety issues, according to a previous Missourian report. Both the interior and exterior lights are on timers.

The stairwell lights are fluorescent. Glascock said he did not know why they were different.

“I can’t tell you why that was done that way,” Glascock said. “I thought we were doing LEDs throughout.”

Commission member Karl Skala said lights should also be adjusted based on natural light.

“The darker the night, and the less intrusion, the less light you actually need,” Skala said.

Other issues brought up included where lights were located in the garage and their energy usage.

Commission Chairman Dan Goldstein said the commission needs and will get more information about the costs of the fixtures and data regarding photocells in the lights.

“I’m hearing more questions than actual specifics,” Goldstein said.

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Mark Foecking May 12, 2011 | 11:47 a.m.

"He said the garage at Fifth and Walnut is a double helix design."

So is the 7th and Walnut garage. The new garage levels are steeper, because they wanted to put parking on the east-west walls also (unlike 7th and Walnut). That, combined with the fact the LEDs are not as recessed, means you can see them better outside the garage.


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