Reston may soon be getting some more street lights, according to Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill).
On May 28, Hudgins addressed the issue during a meeting held at the Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods by Fairfax County Police who were addressing a recent rash of vehicle break-ins in Reston’s Hunters Woods neighborhood.
At the meeting, among other measures, police addressed Reston’s lack of nighttime lighting as a potential issue for crime prevention.
“Reston is very dark,” said assistant commander Lance Schaible of the Reston District police station. “Our helicopter pilot calls Reston ‘the big black hole in the northwest part of the county.’An exaggeration? Our favorite correspondent, The Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, looked to the skies for answers:
Anyhow, as I was intrigued by this comment, I used The Google to see if I could find a nighttime view from space of Reston to confirm this startling discovery, and, shazzam, lookee what I found! This view from the International Space Station of Northern Virginia taken on Inauguration day 2013 confirms we are indeed the black hole for the entire region:
Except for the comforting archipelago of midscale chain retail in the center of the circle, the Peasant is right--Reston is dark. Dark as... a golf-course hating insurance company's soul. Dark as... mauve in the moonlight. So is much of Fairfax County south of I-66, but there's no Metro there, so QED, no need to worry about crime. That's why folks in Centreville sleep with the doors and windows open and the keys in their ignitions.
Of course, Hunters Woods is not exactly a leisurely walk from the Metro station either. So maybe the fault lies not in the Silver Line, but in us, dear
Either way, we're stone cold getting more lighting. Maybe.
During the May 28 meeting in Reston, Hudgins said it was time to re-examine Reston’s lighting.
“The Reston District police station is already strained, and the area is growing due to Metro,” she said. “With Metro here now, we have more people walking and riding bikes in Reston, and they want to do it at night. We need to figure out how to make it safer for them. It is a discussion we need to have. It is very dark here in Reston. I live one mile from the Metro station, and I don’t go out and walk at night myself.”Why not just bathe all of Reston in high-wattage spotlights? Blame the
But there is a reason Reston traditionally has resisted additional outdoor lighting, and it partially has to do with an organization called the International Dark-Sky Association. They have been influencing outdoor lighting policy in Reston and Fairfax County for years.
Founded in Tucson in 1988, the nonprofit association has about 5,000 members nationwide. Its mission is to protect night skies and natural starlight by educating individuals, private industry and government bodies about the effects of light pollution and “unfocused light emissions.”
“We have some active people in this community that are part of Dark Sky,” Hudgins said.
Jim Dougherty, president of the International Dark-Sky Association is based in Washington, D.C., and works on behalf of the organization. He says that there is a common misperception that more light at night deters crime.
“There have been legitimate studies showing increased outdoor lighting actually increases crime,” he said. “Criminals need light to see.”Sure they do, hippie. Everyone knows all you need to be a criminal is superhuman night vision and a Metro farecard!
Of course, there's nothing that reassures concerned residents quite like a police meeting that begins with actual police activity:
The meeting was attended by 60 or so residents. Just before it began, police said they recognized a “person of interest” in an ongoing criminal investigation in the lobby of the community center. A police officer excused himself from the panel to go question the person. “We are doing police work all the time,” joked Laura Redman, a crime prevention officer for the Reston District police station.Did they ask if his SmartTrip balance was in the red?