Jaffrey Street Light Committee

Minutes of Meeting – 5/7/2008


Present:   Harry Young, Doug Clayton, Tuck Gilbert, Dick Ames, Dave Chamberlain, Rob Stephenson



Committee members began the meeting with a review of the results to date of members’ surveys of the Town’s street lights:


-       All survey data has been compiled by Rob Stephenson in a central data bank.

-       The data bank currently includes information and recommendations for 225 street lights.

-       The data reflects more than one visit by members to many of the street light locations to ensure accuracy and appropriate recommendations.

-       Some locations still need to be re-visited by members to collect missing data or to resolve apparent differences among members in recommendations for change.

-       For most locations, members reported that the lights are brighter than is necessary to meet the particular location’s lighting needs.

-       Members who have done the initial surveys are recommending that 47 street lights are not needed and should be removed.

-       There are some additional lights that have been identified by members doing the initial surveys for possible removal but that will require further review by initial survey members before being added to the 47 on the initial list of recommended removals.


The Committee reviewed the following text of Peterborough’s street lighting ordinance (Chapter 182) and agreed that it provides information and standards that are highly relevant to Jaffrey’s Street Light Committee’s work:


“Section 182-1.  In the past, street lights in Peterborough have been placed without guiding protocol, resulting in cases of random placement without relevance to function: For drivers, they convey information about the location of key intersections; For pedestrians, they light the sidewalks, as well as conveying information to drivers about the presence of pedestrians.  Research indicates that streetlights do not add to driver or pedestrian or homeowner safety.  Towns are departing from the practice of providing homeowners with street lights – a practice that dates from earlier days of cheap energy.  In the interest of fiscal responsibility and energy conservation, the Town has established a protocol for street light placement to bring consistency to street light placement.

“Section 182-2.  The installation of additional streetlights in the Town of Peterborough will be considered only on town maintained streets at intersections that bear non-neighborhood through traffic and sidewalk areas.

“Section 182-3.  Consideration for exceptions shall be given, by request of a resident, only in the Compact Part of the Town where there is significant pedestrian traffic and no sidewalk.”


In discussion, some Committee members agreed that the Peterborough ordinance assertion that “Research indicates that streetlights do not add to driver or pedestrian or homeowner safety” was accurate and that it would be helpful to be able to cite references to that research.


Rob Stephenson asked if there might be an additional Peterborough ordinance regulating private lighting that affects streets and sidewalks.  Dick Ames said that he would inquire.


Committee members identified the following criteria as relevant to the question of whether particular street lights are needed:


-       Indicators of a likely need for a street light include: the light’s location at an intersection of public roads where there is significant vehicular traffic; the light’s location in a densely populated area where there is significant pedestrian traffic; the light’s location at a point where significant pedestrian or vehicular activity occurs because of a public facility’s (e.g., a school’s) location adjacent to or entry on to a public road.

-       Indicators negating the need for a particular street light include: the presence of other nearby lighting that overlaps with or duplicates the illumination provided by the street light; locations in rural, low-density areas or at intersections where there is insignificant through traffic.


With regard to the question of appropriate street light brightness or illumination, the Committee identified the following guidelines for all replacement streetlights outside the Jaffrey Center Historic District:


-       Lights providing down-directed illumination (lumens) greater than that provided by the 100 watt metal halide lights used in Peterborough are unnecessarily bright.

-       Further surveying is needed to determine if the 50 watt high pressure sodium lights used in other towns (e.g., Marlborough) provide sufficient illumination.

-       Street lights throughout town generally should provide only that down-directed illumination that is necessary at the lowest available wattage.

-       Either the yellow-looking high pressure sodium or the white-looking metal halide lighting is acceptable: the type that provides the appropriate illumination at the lowest available wattage is the type that should be selected for replacement lights throughout the town so that all lights will be of the same color and brightness.

-       The Committee understands that at present the street lighting replacement options available to Jaffrey are those currently offered by PSNH, including the 50 watt high pressure sodium light but not including LEDs or CFLs.


A separate review of Jaffrey Center’s lights will be conducted to ensure that Historic District standards are met.  The Committee expects that Jaffrey Center’s lights will be different than in the rest of Jaffrey and that PSNH will agree to having a separate lighting and billing arrangement for Jaffrey Center.  The Committee will explore with PSNH and the Public Utilities Commission the option of replacing the Jaffrey Center incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).


Next steps to be taken include:


-       Members who have done the initial street light surveys will confer with one another and with Rob Stephenson to resolve all remaining discrepancies in the data base and will develop an agreed-upon initial list of lights to be removed.

-       All members of the Committee will meet on the evening of May 28 at 9 PM to survey all lights that have been initially recommended for removal and to develop an agreed-upon final list of recommended removals.

-       Some members (including Doug Clayton and Harry Young) will survey 50 watt high pressure sodium lights in Marlborough (and perhaps in other towns) to determine and report back to the Committee on the sufficiency of the illumination provided by these fixtures.




Respectfully submitted:




Richard Ames