Are Ford Field’s Blue Lights Polluting The Night Sky? Petition Seeks To Shut Down Roof Lighting

DETROIT (WWJ) – Not everyone is basking in the bright blue glow of lights at Ford Field.

Neighbors and residents who live miles away have been complaining that the lights on the stadium are so bright, they pollute the sky and need to be turned off at night. The LED lights were added as part of a $2 million upgrade in August.

A Change.org petition that launched on Tuesday has so far gathered more than 1,000 signatures from people who want the lights shut off.

Margo Delal, who created the petition, says she can see the blue glow from home three-and-a-half miles away. The 23-year-old called it a case of light pollution.

The petition — which is expected to be delivered to the city’s planning department, building inspector and mayor — reads:

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.

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 not adhering to this Standard and its excess use of rooftop lighting should be enforced.

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.

Julia Loman, who signed the petition, said: “I always get hopeful that I’m seeing the northern lights on my way to work and then am disappointed and angry when I realize it’s the Ford Field lights.”

Justin Fisette doesn’t live in Detroit, but he would like to see the lights turned down.

“The lights are intrusive and distracting. They can be seen from miles away, coming north on 75, creating a dangerous situation for drivers in addition to being a public nuisance,” he said.

Daniel Grano of Grosse Pointe agrees.

“I love Ford Field and the Fords. But this is too much! You can see this from Conner and Jefferson. Scared the bejesus out of me the other morning driving in. Didn’t know why the sky turned purple,” he said. “Way to much light pollution from this roof. There has to be a way to dampen it.”

Nathan Loree, of Detroit, thinks  Ford Field should stop trying to dominate the city skyline.

“We have a view of the skyline the skyline and over 50% of light pollution we see is from one building. It’s insane,” he said. “As an architect there is no way this lighting design falls within any acceptable standards or is legally compliant.”

But not everyone minds the blue glow.

“Turn it up, that’s what I think,” said Calvin. “Just turn it up and make them the brightest lights out here.”

James McBroom even offered up an alternative suggestion to leaving the lights on all the time.

“It’s wasteful and blue light is particularly harmful,” he said. “They don’t need to be on every night. Keep them on when there’s an event and turn them off at a reasonable hour (2AM?).”

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