Night 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.
- 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.”