John F. Kennedy Jr.

Bright lights over Martha's Vineyard

The following letter to the editor was published in the Martha's Vineyard Times "Letters To The Editor" on Wednesday, July 28, 1999. A phone call to the Times confirmed that the lights described in this letter were indeed in operation on the night that John Kennedy Jr. crashed.

Too Much Light at New Airport

To the Editor:

The Vineyard has taken another step towards becoming
Orlando north.
Last weekend, we took a late ferry back to the Vineyard
after a few weeks away. When we arrived at our house south
of the EdgartownVineyard Haven Road, turned off the car
lights and stepped out of the car, I was astonished to see
the sky to the north of us lit up as brightly as the Boston
I drove north to discover that the new airport had
apparently been opened in our absence, and there were now
60 new roadway lights in operation! Unlike the old street
lights, which had their bulbs up inside a reflector where
they would illuminate the ground but be shielded from the
sky, these new lights are very bright and completely
unshielded. Not only do they direct much of their light
upwards, the glare from the bright, unshielded bulbs
prevents you from seeing the grounds clearly.
Considering The Martha's Vineyard Times series last year on
the issue of light pollution, numerous letters to the
editors of the Gazette and The Times about light pollution,
the new Aquinnah building regulations covering lighting,
and letters to the airport commissioners pleading with them
to consider the issue of light pollution in the design of
the new airport, who was the genius who specified these new
street lights? They may have "architectural presence," but
they destroy a large area of night sky.
Please call and write the commissioners, demanding that
they replace these lights with ones that shield their bulbs
from the sky, like the new lights on the Vineyard Haven-Oak
Bluffs causeway. We do not have to let "progress" turn the
Vineyard into just another metropolitan suburb.

Peter Jones
Belmont and Edgartown

These new lights directly contadict the image being put out in the media that Martha's Vineyard is a very dark place with no visual reference at night.

Even were it hazy, the glow of light through the haze would be visible.

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