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Study recommends $780K+ investment to improve Cal Anderson Park lighting

Cal Anderson Park

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 12.10.11 PMNight time lighting at Cal Anderson Park has been a bit of a Goldilocks dilemma for Capitol Hill. Too little creates the potential for more crime and the perception the park is unsafe, while too much may actually have a similar effect and has been a nuisance for neighbors in the past.

To help guide the way, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce commissioned a grant-funded study earlier this year to analyze the current lighting situation and recommend improvements. The report from dark | light design released Monday recommends $780,000 to $960,000 worth of lighting improvements to make the park safer by making it more inviting.

CHCC executive director Sierra Hansen said getting more people to cross through the park at night is a top priority. “We want to use lighting to create more movement,” Hansen said.

Among the recommendations is an idea to mount LED lights on the park’s gatehouse to “softly illuminate the architecture of the gatehouse without creating an overwhelming visual element.” The study notes that the high contrast light around the shelter house plaza should be reduced by fully illuminating the plaza’s columns. The study also warns against over-lighting, especially with omnidirectional globes that shield views of the night sky.

Other recommendations include:Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 11.23.35 AM

  • Increase lighting along 11th Ave
  • Increase lighting on paths while decreasing visual glare
  • Light plants and trees throughout the park
  • Enhance park entrance lighting

Now the CHCC and groups like the Cal Anderson Park Alliance have to come up with the money to fund the plan. Hansen said the CHCC will lead an effort to seek a combination of private and public funding. Beyond lighting, the CHCC is also exploring improvements to the park’s landscaping to create a safer environment.

“There are some real challenging areas,” Hansen said. “Lighting can help, but it’s not going to be the silver bullet.”

Cal Anderson Park Lighting Study

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12 thoughts on “Study recommends $780K+ investment to improve Cal Anderson Park lighting

  1. How about installing a gate with a CLOSED sign and locking it after hours? The park closes at 11, and it’s after this time that the crimes are being reported.

    • Good, that’ll keep the honest people out, at least. People who want to get in there for illegal activity will simply jump any fence a city could reasonably erect around a park without it looking like a prison yard. A lot of the victims in these late-night crimes are in much the same stations in life as their attackers, and this solution would likely make these attacks more brazen and common.

  2. A fence and gates are not the answer. Im not sure 780k in lighting is either.

    Seems the more practical thing to do is to enforce our existing laws.

    Rather than lights maybe we invest in more officers, outreach programs etc.

    • I agree, how about we combat people shooting up, drinking, and camping in public places. That would solve half the problems and more SPD presence would mostly fix the rest. We have a problem with shitty people not shitty lighting.

    • I agree too. No amount of money spent on different lighting will make a difference unless the law is enforced by moving people out of there when the park is closed. Legitimate, non-criminal users of the park can do so while it is open….there is no need for them to be there in the middle of the night.

  3. This would be awesome.

    Living next to the park, I often feel like I’m trapped in prison after dark – not really comfortable walking around there at night.

    And walking to the Link station along Denny is going to have to actually feel comfortable in 3 months, if we want people to use it.

  4. Public: Too much crime in Cal Anderson!! Solve it!

    Study: Here’s a clever way to reduce crime in Cal Anderson

    Public: No!! That SOUNDS DUMB! I said I wanted you to reduce crime in Cal Anderson do something about it!!!! MORE POLICE!!!! LAWS!!!!

    Study: …

  5. How much did this study cost? I wish I could get paid for the genius idea to install more lights. Here’s another radical idea – police from the nearby station could take walks at random times through the park so bad folks don’t feel safe doing bad things. Where can I submit my consulting invoice to the city????