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Lights on or off? Tucsonans voice opinion on street lighting acr - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Lights on or off? Tucsonans voice opinion on street lighting across the city

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The Midvale Park neighborhood is just one of several residential areas in Tucson that Joe Miller said lacks sufficient lighting.

"When you see areas that are lit up, you feel safer,” said Miller, former president of the Midvale Park Neighborhood Association.

"Lights are very important psychologically. You go to a dark area. You don't know what to expect. You know there's a lot of spooky things that happen in the dark."

Midvale Park has worked with the City of Tucson and law enforcement to bring awareness on the need for additional street lights.

Earlier this year, city crews installed street lights along Midvale Park Road. But Miller admits there still remains a big need for more lights to illuminate areas that are often pitch-black at night.

"I think we need a lot more lights. In fact, we've tried to put lights but it's hard with the way the financial situation's been."

He believes brightening up areas of Tucson that are typically 100 percent dark at night or the early morning hours is ideal not just for pedestrians but for motorists as well.

Tucson resident Jean Arney said she’s not afraid of the dark.

"You could always carry a flashlight."

Arney walks her dog with no problem. Advocating for additional street lighting isn’t on her list of priorities.

"I'm comfortable with myself and pay attention and observant."

According to John Barentine, program manager for the International Dark-Sky Association, Tucson is a model city as it relates to making efforts toward reducing light pollution.

The City of Tucson has been installing LED street lights throughout the Old Pueblo.

Barentine said, "Tucson is doing something that most cities aren't and that is as they convert their street lighting systems over from old technologies to the new LED technology, they're also reducing the overall emission of light. They're lowering by it almost 50 percent."

It's no surprise Tucson is a massive astronomy community. Barentine is also a fellow admirer of the starry night skies.

"The fact that you can be not terribly far from the city center and you can still see the Milky Way at night from parts of town is a real testament to the hard work that people have done here for over 40 years in trying to keep our skies dark at night." 

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