Residents in some South Florida neighborhoods have noticed that their local street lights are turning purple.
The Florida Department of Transportation is replacing more than 200 of the lights in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, and FPL is also replacing the bad bulbs.
As it turns out, while some people can’t wait for the fix to be made, others have grown quite fond of the purple lights.
For photographer Selina Roman, the purple streetlights that are, according to FPL, the result of a manufacturer defect, have also inspired a new body of work and even a solo exhibition at Tampa’s Tempus Projects called A Bad Batch: Beauty in the Breakdown.
“These lights really transform their environments and a lot of times they are places that we would otherwise not think twice about looking at or lingering a little longer,” Roman said. “Someone had stacked a bunch of mattresses up for the trash, and there was a purple light nearby, and all of a sudden these discarded mattresses just really looked magical.
“I used to be a newspaper reporter so when this happened I started asking all these questions, so that background serves me well.”
As it turns out, the issue impacting more than just South Florida. It’s a nationwide problem.
“There are some neighborhoods that have dozens of them, other neighborhoods might be one or two,” Roman said.
Roman, who also teaches photography and imaging at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, has started the hashtag #otherpeoplespurple to start collecting and sharing images people across the country have been snapping as lights go purple in their neighborhoods.
Here in Florida, Tampa Electric told Local 10 News crews are working to replace their purple streetlights, as is Duke Energy in their coverage areas of Florida, eastern North Carolina and the Midwest.
“Some people don’t like them, they cite that it is hard to see bicyclists at night,” said Roman.
While not a desired color for some who prefer a traditional white light, FDOT says the purple lights provide the same intended safety benefits.
Both FPL and FDOT are working to replace the purple lights.
In fact, FDOT said it plans to replace more than 200 of the defective lights across Miami-Dade and Broward.
FPL adds that since they are under warranty, the manufacturer. Acuity, will pay for the replacement costs.
STATEMENT FROM ACUITY
“The referenced ‘blue light’ effect occurred in a small percentage of AEL fixtures with components that have not been sold for several years. It is due to a spectral shift caused by phosphor displacement seen years after initial installation. The light output is in no way harmful or unsafe.
“As always, we stand behind the quality of our products, and we have been proactively working with customers who have experienced the issue to address any concerns. Our customer service team is available for any questions customers may have.”
MORE FROM FDOT
“One hundred thirty seven light fixtures out of 627 will be replaced in Broward County. One hundred and one light fixtures out of 345 will be replaced in Miami-Dade County. The Florida Department of Transportation is working with the manufacturers on warranty and replacement of the lights that are experiencing the color change. This issue is being experienced at a national level. While FDOT is actively working to replace these light fixtures and even though it is not the desired color, it still provides the intended safety benefits and are not dimmer than the white lights. So, while it is not a safety concern, replacing them will best meet driver expectations.”