Regarding the Aug. 5 front-page story "In Outer Suburbs, Lighting Up the Night; Longtime Calvert Residents Seek Limits as Growth Puts a Dent in the Dark":
All public lighting should be full cut-off sodium vapor lighting. Full cut-off lighting means that the light is enclosed in housing and that the bottom of the lens is flush with the housing. Almost all the lights in the metropolitan area have lenses that drop below the housing. This results in light scatter.
Full cut-off fixtures force light down, where it is needed, and not into the trees and sky, where it is useless. These fixtures are more aesthetic, less intrusive and just as safe. They are cheaper to operate, too, using lower-wattage bulbs to illuminate the desired area. None of the light is wasted.
Unfortunately, Maryland, Virginia and the District do not demand the use of full cut-off light fixtures in new commercial and residential developments. They also do not appropriate money to retrofit older neighborhoods polluted by mercury vapor and dropped-lens lighting.
If public officials took an interest, all the lighting in the metropolitan area could be converted within 10 years. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the sky again? It is possible with education, commitment and funding. Lighting does not have to become a safety, development or growth issue.