Cross School Road Residents Aim to Stop Installation of Large Street Lights

by Karen Goff September 7, 2016 at 4:30 pm 22 Comments

Light poles on Cross School Road

A group of Reston homeowners will meet with Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins Wednesday to voice their concerns about new street lights lining Cross School Road.

Four of 10 planned light poles were installed two weeks ago as part of the renovation project at Sunrise Valley Elementary School. A Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services spokesman says the lighting is standard for all county redevelopment, including schools.

“There is increased need for lighting for pedestrian safety at elementary schools,” said DPWES spokesman Matthew Kaiser.

But the powerful lights — similar to what are installed along the Dulles Toll Road — are directly across from single-family homes on Cross School Road, and that is a bit too much lighting, residents say.

“The lights they’ve installed on this very short stretch of road between Sunrise Valley and Midsummer are in addition to several lights the county has already installed at the school — which is now very well lit,” said Cross School resident Roberta Gosling in a letter to neighbors. “As a result of multiple phone calls from the neighbors to both the county and to Cathy Hudgins’ office, when Dominion showed up to install the remaining six [of 10] lights, they got a call to put the project on hold.”

Gosling said the residents are working to have the four lights removed and the project halted. 

“We really do not understand why these lights are being installed in the first place — especially since they are industrial lights in a residential neighborhood. We believe the county has not followed its own processes on this issue,” she wrote.

The lights are powerful, between 14,000 – 18,000 lumens, said Gosling. She added that neighbors had no notice that the lights were going into place.

“For many of us, these lights, once hooked up, will shine directly into our master bedrooms,” she said. “The limited number of neighbors I’ve spoken with along the directly impacted area believe NO lights should be installed.”

“From a safety standpoint the school is very well lit and houses along that stretch generate ambient light. We also believe that a waiver can be issued to stop the installation of these lights if there is a reason the county believes they need to be installed.”

  • Susan

    I feel for these residents. Ask the homeowners who live across from Terraset and Hughes schools on Ridge Heights Road how they feel about the floodlights at South Lakes High School. It’s like daylight over there, and those lights often are left on overnight. I don’t know how those folks can sleep. Plus, it’s a waste of energy.

    • Greg

      As usual, wasting energy never seems to count when the schools and county whine there is absolutely nothing, NOTHING to cut in the bloated budgets.

  • AlliD

    The new no parking areas are pretty annoying on that street now too.

  • Stop the waste

    Wow, what a tremendous waste of county resources for the back of a school on a dead end street for 10-15 houses – a waste that will continue by burning coal to power them. The portion of the school remodel that clear cut the forest and then leveled the ground seemed like an incredible ~$100k of waste, this must increase that waste several fold.

    • Greg

      Less than 20 percent of Dominion’s power is generated from coal. Most is nuclear.

  • I think an award is due

    the driver in the green Nissan is properly making use of his/her daylight running lights.

    • vdiv

      That’s a Lexus and thanks to these “properly used” daylights and always backlit instrument clusters older Toyota model drivers often forget to turn on their regular headlights at night posing a real safety hazard.

      • I think an award is due

        You are confusing me, is it a Toyota or a lexis? Or is it that after a few years a lexis turns into a toyota?

        Anyways, thanks. I guess we need those street lights then, probably also during daytime.

        • vdiv

          Lexus is Toyota’s luxury brand, many of their models share parts and platforms.

      • TBird73

        I have had 3 Toyotas in the past 15 years. One was a 96 Camry with the backlit display. They all had automatic headlights. And the dash was significantly dimmed when the lights were on. It was never a problem.

        • vdiv

          Tell that to those driving with no headlights/tailights at night, thinking their DRLs are it. Not all had automatic lights in the 1990s and 2000s, even my friends 2012 Prius doesn’t, should be standard now.

          • TBird73

            And not all had the backlit display. My 2006 Corolla had DRL and no backlit display. By the way, the DRL -IS- the low beam headlights. Also, as I said, the display would dim so much during the day as to not be readable if your lights were on, and you would not be able to see anything but the display at night if they were off. Not the cars fault if people can’t tell when their lights are on or not. You can’t fix stupid or negligence in maintenance.

  • TBird73

    Those lights are not even remotely “industrial”. They are standard streetlights. If you don’t like the lights and noise associated with living near a large school, then maybe you shouldn’t live there.

    • Greg

      Sort of look like expressway or enclosed flat-lens lights to me. Why can’t they install one of the many attractive available colonial or acorn models (like those that are installed on the Wiehle bridge over the toll road)?


      • TBird73

        They are nothing more than standard LED streetlights, which are the enclosed flat lens types. Well I assume LED anyway. And those models you suggest cause even more light pollution, and would not just be worse for the environment, but for the neighbors as well.

        • RobertaG

          Actually they are high pressure sodium vapor — 150 watt — which throw off roughly 18 thousand lumens. All night long. They are not standard street lights at all. Drive around Reston, you won’t see them in any residential neighborhoods. BTW, not sure how you inferred that our neighbors don’t like the noise or the school — we love SVES! They’re not keen on these new lights either.

          • Greg

            90 lumens per watt for HPS, so it’s no more than 14,000 lumens. Also, the same lights are installed on Sunrise Valley Drive west of the parkway, very densely clustered at and approaching the elevated parkway bridge over Elden Street and along Stevenage Drive all of which have adjacent residential neighborhoods.

            Interestingly, the county has a so-called “dark-sky” ordinance that, among other things, requires full-cutoff lighting fixtures with one remarkable exception:

            Lighting fixtures and standards required by federal, state or county agencies, including street lights within the public right-of-way.

            Do as I say, not as I do.



          • TBird73

            Greg, I agree. Very surprised that they do not use full cutoff lights and LED lights for a county facility. As usual, following county policy and saving money are of no concern to the school system.

          • TBird73

            First, your numbers are exaggerated as Greg pointed out. Second, how is it not a standard streetlight?? Because its a sodium light? You do realize that almost every streetlight in the country was a sodium light until about 10-15 years ago, right? Many in residential neighborhoods. And just because Reston was built with substandard lighting and an indifference to pedestrian safety doesn’t mean that the trend should be continued.
            By the way, the lighting is part of the school, and here you are complaining about it. So I guess you don’t “love” so much after all. Or, you know, pedestrians.

  • Rational Reston

    Because, if we’re not complaining, we’re not Reston.

  • vdiv

    These are not street lights, these are multilane highway lights. If the county is so concerned with road lights then perhaps they can fix the existing ones on the Reston Parkway, add these to the Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills intersection where there are only stubs on the traffic lights poles, and put back the ones they took off from the Center Harbor Road and Wiehle Ave intersection.

    • Greg

      I thought I was the only one who noticed those stubs at Sunset Hills — a rather busy, congested and very dark intersection. I once asked Hudgins about them and never received so much as a courtesy response as to why the lights were never attached to the stubs.


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