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Jan 07

Muriel Wright Lights

The Muriel Wright Residential Center, located in Santa Teresa County Park, operated continuously from the 1960s until 2012. It housed and provided rehabilitation services for youth offenders who didn’t need to be held in the traditional “Juvenile Hall”.

The closure of the Center in 2012 was not widely publicized. In fact, the County website still says it’s open.

In February 2013 the Center will be converted into office space for the Santa Clara County Parks administration, including the Volunteer Program.

The Wright Center has always loudly announced its presence to the neighbors through its bright and disruptive lights. While the rest of the Santa Teresa Hills are parkland and ranchland, dark after sunset, the Wright Center was always brightly lit. Normally the degree of light pollution generated by the Center would have been a source of controversy, but as the facility was after all a “jail” of sorts it made sense to have bright exterior lights to prevent escapes.

However, now that the Wright Center is a run of the mill office building, those lights can no longer be justified, and need to be switched off.

Consider this view of the Center as seen from the surrounding neighborhood.

The lights of the Muriel Wright Center made sense when it was a juvenile jail.  As an office building they no longer do.

The lights of the Muriel Wright Center made sense when it was a juvenile jail. As an office building they no longer do.

The photo above was taken from a mile away from the Center.

Because the Wright Center is hundreds of feet above the residential neighborhood, its light pollution impacts an enormous number of people. Thousands of people are directly impacted by the light pollution from the Wright Center. Here’s a map courtesy of www.heywhatsthat.com which shows the areas that can see the lights; areas in red are polluted by the Wright Center’s lights.

Areas in red can see the light pollution from the Muriel Wright Center.

Areas in red can see the light pollution from the Muriel Wright Center.

Now that the Wright Center is just an office building, the exterior lights need to be brought down to a sensible level. There’s no way to justify this ongoing impact to the community.

…Sam