Letter: Ford Field light pollution is bothersome
The light pollution that emanates from Ford Field’s LED roof lighting is incessant and unnecessary. This intrusive purple glow can be seen from inside the residences surrounding Lafayette Park to as far as West Village and southwest Detroit. Such light trespass is excessive, unwanted and unneeded. Ford Field should turn off its spillover light.
This light reaches far higher and wider than the physical building. Ford Field may be saving money by switching to energy-efficient lighting but the unintended consequence of its design is light pollution. Light pollution can have an adverse impact on the environment, affecting everything from wildlife behavior to human health. Whereas nighttime urban lighting can benefit safety and security, this stadium’s unshielded purple glow serves no purpose.
Ford Field should be more responsible. In fact, it’s the law. According to the General Illumination Standard in the Detroit Zoning Ordinance (Sec. 61-14-278), “All reasonable measures shall be taken to ensure that the off-site spillover of light and nightglow are minimized to the greatest extent possible.”
Ford Field is far from compliant. This ordinance should be enforced.
Today, public lighting is a part of Detroit’s national narrative. Detroit has sent a message of a bright future as the last of Detroit’s 65,000 new streetlights have been switched on. With positive lighting, perhaps trust can grow. However, illumination invites accountability.
Ford Field is not the first stadium in Detroit and it won’t be the last. The new Red Wings arena is due to open in the fall. Unfortunately, Ford Field’s lights set the wrong precedent. Detroiters don’t deserve pollution — light pollution included.
Margo Dalal, Detroit