New Columbus Park Trellis Lights Enter Testing Phase – “Brightness” Poll

The Infrastructure Committee of Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, led by Chair Ford Cavallari, has been busy working on a major project to replace the old trellis lights that were failing. New LED lights are being installed to serve both for holiday and year-round use.

The white lights which have been on for several months are to provide pedestrian illumination, replacing the broken 1975-era fixtures. The white-only lights won’t replace the traditional “blue and white” holiday illumination – that will still happen starting November 23rd (come out at 5:30 pm for the free lighting celebration) – but they will be on the rest of the year.

Adjacent businesses and safety-advocates have applauded the higher illumination level of the new lights, but others have criticized the illumination level as “market-like” and too bright.

Help FOCCP by weighing in on what you think about the brightness of the white lights. Is the white pedestrian lighting level “too bright” or “about right”? Vote for your preference in the poll below.


As a reward for voting, here are some exclusive, preview photos from a testing session last week. These are NOT the way the final trellis lights will look. At the testing session, only a few sections of the trellis were turned on and the committee was just having fun with some color combinations. Starting November 23rd at the trellis lighting, the LED lights will feature the seasonal “blue and white” colors.

Photos by Matt Conti.

13 Replies to “New Columbus Park Trellis Lights Enter Testing Phase – “Brightness” Poll

  1. Although everyone’s hard work is appreciated, these new lights are so hideous! The charm of the park has been spoiled by the commercial track lighting. I hear people commenting on this all the time. We have gone from lovely and romantic to glaringly gaudy.
    Please change it!

  2. The initial “shock ” of the brightness of the LED lights will subside. We are also seeing them now with all the wisteria cut down and few to no leaves on the trees. I walk through this park, at minimum, 5 days a week in the pre dawn hours. It was dark! I have seen campers in tents, multiple people sleeping on benches and lawns and the ultimate was a pants dropping defecation to begin my day. The park and walkway needed better lighting.

  3. The lighting in the park is fine & was needed and as David wrote there are much more serious issues that plague the park. On any given day there is a large group of junkies who congregate near the water fountain & police presence is almost invisible.

  4. I agree with David. Where are the police? This has been going on over fifteen years i know this for sure as my mother lived down that end and was in nursing home for 7 years. I for one wouldn’t sit down there alone unless i had company,but that’s me.
    So Bring on the lights! The brighter the better! God Bless all the hard working people who beautify our North End parks! Christopher Columbus Park is by far the prettiest for sure
    (Car 54 where are you?) Not!

  5. It is so easy to sit from afar as conscientious volunteers – and they are neighborhood angels – tend to “my” park. But you asked. The light design makes me feel like I am in the parking lot of a Seven Eleven. Repeat: it is so easy to criticize…

  6. I applaud the committee for their hard work and continued effort to ensure that our City can enjoy Columbus Park .
    However, the lights remind me of an overdone movie marque. They detract from the beauty, charm and serenity that our garden was supposed to provide for residents and visitors.
    Security is a concern but this is not the answer. The small white and blue, seasonal lights were soft and blended with the sea (harbor) and land.
    The view now is harsh, overdone and reminiscent of a carnival.
    Sorry folks…not a pretty or conducive to a garden/park.

  7. *sigh*
    Change is difficult, I understand that. Progress is sometimes not understood.
    Many of you may not fully understand the reasons for this change and/or appreciate the progress that’s been made/how progressive your Park is.
    Let me try to explain.
    CHANGE: The pretty lights that were previously wound around the trellis ‘skeleton’ were plain, ordinary Xmas tree lights with a life-span of 3 years or maybe 5, at the outside. These lights were often not working fully or properly and needed constant surveillance and attention. There were 3, yes 3, sets of lights jerry-rigged together, before they were replaced with the LED’s there now. These new lights have a life-span of up to 10 years. Add to the 3-set, jerry-rigged, off-again on-again electrical problems, was a serious and ominous fire hazard
    PROGRESS: The chair of the Infrastructure Committee of The Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP), Ford Cavalari, began researching replacements 3 years ago and has been at it non-stop ever since. You will see him in the Park almost daily now tweaking the installation so it will be perfect on the day the trellis is finally lit for the Winter. Kudo’s to you Ford!
    The white lights now up are ALL dimmable, if that’s a word. Ford is hooking up the circuit boxes, one by one, and there are many, so the brightness can be controlled. Please check the 3 trellis’ some evening soon. The small one closest to Joe’s, is a lot dimmer than the other 2.
    Thank you, Matt, for publishing the fabulous color changes that can now be accomplished with the LED’s on the diamond design of the trellis. Now THAT’s a positive, if ever there was one. Think about the possibilities, my friends. Be caught up in the excitement of the progress we are accomplishing. Is there any other park in Boston that had such dedication and is so forward-thinking?
    Do you know the story behind the lights?
    14 years ago, when FOCCP was re-established, the small non-profit group wanted to do something special for the neighborhood to ‘spiff-up’ the Park. They thought it would be nice to wrap the trellis in blue lights (think ocean water) for the Holiday season. They did and it was so well-received that when it was time to remove them, the neighborhood balked and a tradition was born. FOCCP has supported, at great expense, the year-round maintenance of these lights ever since. Please understand, The City of Boston has absolutely no room in its budget for this. The Parks Department is so incredibly co-operative with all we do but are limited. They hold this Park up as a shining example of what can be accomplished with a dedicated, involved community effort.
    You are an important part of this, as you well know. Be proud of the work that’s being done, the dollar out-put being willingly given, the many volunteer hours spent, not to mention the businesses (you know who ou are) who have given incredibly generous donations
    Thank you all for being supportive of the effort. Please be patient and embrace this positive change for a safer and more beautiful jewel of a Park in our neighborhood.

  8. Thanks, Meredith, for your comments. The white lights are dimmable and will be dimmed to an appropriate level or other options will be sought. The Friends group was seeking to find an energy-efficient, longer lasting alternative to what we’ve been doing for years.

    Security lighting is the city’s responsibility. Their lights were 30+ years old. Most were burned out; the rest cast awful light. While our prime lighting objective is beautiful ambiance, a hoped-for secondary effect was safety lighting.

    I’m sorry our attempt at new lighting has, during installation, been negative for so many people. Shortly the installation will be complete and we’re hopeful the finished look will once again create the winter wonderland that we’ve created for years. If our efforts fall short, we’ll make it right.

    Looking forward to a wonderful trellis lighting ceremony on Monday, Nov 23. It begins at 5:00 and Mayor Walsh will throw the switch.
    President, Friends is Christopher Columbus Park

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