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Shielded streetlights, like this one at the intersection of Bay Isles Road and Gulf of Mexico Drive, deter sea turtles from heading in the wrong direction after laying a nest.
Longboat Key Wednesday, May. 8, 2013 4 years ago

Gulf of Mexico streetlights modified for turtle season

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The Public Works Department performed a comprehensive study of Gulf of Mexico Drive streetlights to reduce the impact of lighting during sea-turtle nesting season.

The study, performed in March, included night inspections of the beach to determine which lights might cause turtles to head for the road instead of the Gulf after laying a nest.

An April 29 memo from Public Works Director Juan Florensa reports the town is asking Florida Power & Light Co. to convert 10 lights along Gulf of Mexico Drive to a “cut-off style fixture with a 360-degree shield installed.”

FPL has agreed to make the changes this month, and the lights are currently turned off while the modifications are made through mid-May.

The 10 locations (see sidebar) are at major intersections and are located directly across from public beach accesses.

The Public Works Department also shielded an additional two standard streetlights on Broadway by blackening out the diffuser lenses. Four decorative town street lamps at Broadway, Gulfside Road, General Harris Street and Dream Island Road were also shielded.

Town Manager Dave Bullock told commissioners in a May 2 email that he will present them with a pedestrian safety study for Gulf of Mexico Drive at their Monday, June 3, regular meeting. Florida Department of Transportation is completing that study. Commissioners asked for that study to be performed after expressing concerns that lighting, especially during sea-turtle nesting season, is not safe in certain places for residents.

Gulf of Mexico Drive street lights are being modified at the following locations:
• 1030 GMD
• 2151 GMD
• 2525 GMD
• Intersection of Bay Isles Road and GMD
• 5490 GMD
• 4800 GMD
• 5700 GMD
• 5820 GMD
• Intersection of Broadway and GMD
• Broadway

View GMD lights modified for turtle season in a larger map

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