Letter to the Editor: Attend Wed 6.22.2016 Council Meeting Regarding Bad Street Lighting – Public Comments

South San Francisco, CA   June 21, 2016  Submitted by Peggy Deras 

Fellow SSF Residents

If you are as concerned as we are about the 2014 installation of LED streetlights in SSF, that are too white, too bright and cover too small an area, leaving dangerous dark areas on our streets and sidewalks…Please join us at the City Council Meeting tomorrow evening to (again) raise a ruckus over this unattended issue. The residents of the city of Davis, California did just that when they halted their city’s installation of 4000 watt LED streetlights and forced the city to change the lights to warmer LED lights in their residential neighborhoods.


It CAN be done.
Won’t you please join us?
Podium speakers especially welcome

Public Comments generally take place within the first part of the meeting. Thank you for your support.

Regular City Council Meeting

June 22, 7:00 PM @ Municipal Services Building
Council Chambers
33 Arroyo Drive
South San Francisco


EDITORS NOTE: The street lighting has been an issue for many neighbors since the installation. A pilot program was put into place by the City after tremendous outcry from residents with questionable results. A current group has worked to obtain information to remedy this problem and would like support at the City Council meeting tomorrow evening.  To read past articles regarding our City street lighting please CLICK HERE

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Peggy Deras
Peggy Deras
7 years ago

Here’s what I said to Council on Wed. 6/22/16:

Good evening Mayor Addiego, Vice-Mayor Gupta and Councilmembers.

My name is Peggy Deras. I live on Theresa Drive in the Highlands neighborhood. I am a retired kitchen and bath designer who also practiced lighting design until 2012. As such I had a modicum of knowledge about LED lighting as it applied to interior lighting design.

Some months ago, I joined a group of residents who were concerned about the City’s 2014 replacement of our High Pressure Sodium streetlights with Cree XSP Series LED streetlights. They voiced objections to the replacements; saying that the new LED lights are too white and the light does not extend far enough from the poles, leaving long dark spaces in between. They would prefer lights that are a warmer color and light their streets in their entirety. Since then, I have been spending a great deal of time researching this issue.

My street, Theresa Drive, is about 730’ long. Just one block. We have three 38 watt, Type II, LED streetlights spread out on the street, plus one on each end at the T intersections on the opposite sides of Romney and La Crosse. I live near the middle of the block with streetlights 100’ to my southeast and 140’ to my northwest. Each 38 watt streetlight throws light 83’ in my direction. That leaves a 74’ long unlighted space in front of my house. That’s 1/4 of a football field! This is a very unsafe situation on a moonless night.
I have learned that ALL of the Cree streetlights we purchased, no matter the wattage, have the same light spread distance. I had thought that the higher wattage lights would spread the light farther. Unfortunately this is not the case.

This is very disappointing.
It means that the only answer to our dilemma is to add more poles.
Changing them to higher wattage will only make them brighter.
They won’t cast light any farther.

Our Group was encouraged by you, Vice-Mayor Gupta, when you announced that you were forming a Council Committee with Mayor Addiego to look into this matter. This was on April 27. It is now almost two months later and we have heard nothing. It seems that you have joined Public Works in stalling our efforts to rectify this unsafe situation.


After Bill and I spoke, Vice-Mayor Gupta said that the Ad Hoc Committee he formed HAD met and they were proposing a new Pilot Program in Peck’s Lot (Sorry residents of Peck’s Lot, but your neighborhood is just as out of the way for most residents as West Winston Manor). He said the new PP would include wider spreading LED streetlights.

With all my research over the last months, I haven’t found such lights, except ones designed for walking paths. Those by Cree cast light only 20′ forward, across the street. No good for lighting a street and the sidewalk on the other side. We’ll see what they have found. perhaps something by another manufacturer.

Gupta said that their only omission was not communicating this to residents. This after intimating that one of our members would join the Committee. Me.

I would like to suggest that the City do single street “Pilot Programs” in each of the older neighborhoods that have wide spaces between the poles. Choose a straight and long enough street to display all of the lights. Preferably a street used by the entire neighborhood. Put the different lights side by side, one after another, so residents can actually COMPARE the differences. Put all the details about each light on its pole with a “name”.

Voting could be accomplished by offering a box of prepaid postcards and a box to hold completed votes at each end of the display. The postcards would have tick boxes next to each named light. Voters could then just drop them into a voting box at the other end of the display.
Also set up voting in one of those free online voting sites and those with smart phones could vote on the fly. Residents could stroll just one street and make a decision. Have a light voting party.

I plan to send these suggestions to Vice-Mayor Gupta tonight. We’ll see whether I get any response.

Anybody got anything more to suggest?

Bill Demeter
Bill Demeter
7 years ago

BE sure to watch the video through 21:05. Vice Mayor Gupta talks about a new “Pilot Study” in a new neighborhood (Pecks Lot) enabling a wider study area. Brian McMinn (public works) follows Gupta, saying the area is good because it is more restricted!(I’m so confused). He thinks the new neighborhood provides good “outreach” and “feedback” (his two favorite catch phrases). I proceed to point out (off camera) that this is simply one more dog and pony show, a stalling tactic and a waste of taxpayers dollars.

Peggy Deras
Peggy Deras
7 years ago

Bill Demeter and I made impassioned speeches before City Councile tonight.
Watch us:


Peggy Deras
Peggy Deras
7 years ago
7 years ago

Please read the article on CNN about “Doctors issue warning about LED streetlights”

your neighbor
your neighbor
7 years ago

the City must respond to safety concern and address the light situation. The city’s report essentially said light that need changing and hinting it was a huge cost. Now that half-cent sales tax from Measure W funds have begun to roll in, money should not be a factor in determining safety for long-term tax payers. The increased sales tax money is for So. City to be spent for residents. SSF please show and support these elderly, long time SSF residents in their quest to make their properties safer

thank you