Ask The Mayor: Why do Some Streets Have a Lot of Street Lights While Others Have None?

February 16, 2015, 11:53 AM HST · Updated February 23, 10:59 AM
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Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Pāʻia, Maui. Photo by Victoria Hoag.

Pāʻia, Maui. Photo by Victoria Hoag.

Dear Mayor:
Q: Why do some streets have a lot of street lights while others have none?

A: Older subdivisions, say from the 1960s and earlier, had very few—if any—requirements for street lights. Oftentimes, lights would be added to existing power poles based on request. As our subdivision code was modernized, we started to require street lights—a lot of them—and it wasn’t uncommon for them to be installed every 300 feet or so, depending on how much traffic was expected.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the streetlight rules were amended to require streetlights only at the intersections of new developments, and that all existing streetlights were to be shielded against uplighting. Concerns about losing the night sky, along with the negative effects on turtle hatchlings and juvenile seabirds that get disoriented by artificial lights have played a prominent role in shaping more recent streetlight rules.

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Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email to [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or mail to 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawai‘i 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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