Friday, August 8, 2014

Sun Glare While Driving – July 2014

The following relate to the dangers of sun glare while driving, and traffic safety in general. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Signs warning of sun glare needed? >>>

Three students hit by car outside Estacada Junior High School | KPTV

Free stock photo of city, cars, road, vehicles

stock image via pexels

ESTACADA, OR (KPTV) - Three students were hit by a car outside Estacada Junior High School Wednesday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the scene on Main Street at 8:42 a.m…

Officers said the glare from the sun was a possible factor in the crash…

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Great tips from a state trooper about headlight use >>>

TROOPER TIPS - Shedding a little light | Sterling Journal-Advocate

White Mercedes Benz Cars

stock image via pexels

There seems to be confusion on when headlights should be used. The easy answer is to use them any time you start your vehicle, day or night. However, if you do not wish to use them all the time, there are specific times outlined in Colorado's Traffic Code for headlight use… 

This statute can be broken down into two sections.

First, we will address "between sunset and sunrise." These times are not matters of opinion for when you think it is sunset or sunrise. The official sunset and sunrise times are determined when the upper edge of the sun is on the horizon...

Although headlights are not required before the official sunset time or after the official sunrise, a good recommendation is to use them for at least half an hour before sunset, and half an hour after sunrise. Using your headlights in this manner can help other motorists see your vehicle when there may be glare from the sun rising or setting.

Second, we will address the "unfavorable atmospheric conditions" section of the statute. Whether it is rain, hail, snow, fog, or any of the other weather conditions that Colorado provides us, if you cannot see a vehicle or person at a distance of one thousand feet, which is more than three football fields, you must turn on your headlights, by law...

In addition to the laws regarding headlights, there is also another subject related to headlights that I would like to make drivers aware of...

If your vehicle has automatic headlights, please ensure that your taillights do come on when they are activated, or simply turn the knob to activate all of your vehicles lights…

Please remember, headlights are not only to help you see at night, they also help other motorists identify your vehicle. If other motorists do not see you, they do not know that they need to avoid your vehicle. Before you drive, please take a quick moment to check your headlights and ensure that they are working properly, and please use your headlights as required.

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MT @tpr2: There's a teddybear in every Dutch police car, in case something troubling happens to a child.

Blinding morning sun blamed for crash that closed I-40 East in Sevierville | Knox News

Driver blinded by sun at time of fatal accident | The Mayo News

CASTLEBAR, IRELAND - A driver was blinded by the glare of the low winter sun when she hit an elderly pedestrian, which resulted in the death of the 81-year-old Castlebar woman.

Mary Keane of 38, Castlehill Park, Castlebar, was knocked down by a car on the Pontoon Road, Castlebar on December 23, 2013, and died in Mayo General Hospital as a result of her injuries on December 30.

The driver of the car, Ann Barrett of 4, The Brambles, Pontoon Road, Castlebar, told the inquest into Ms Keane’s death that she did not see her when the collision occurred due to the glare of the sun.

“The low sun broke through the clouds and was shining directly through the windscreen. I continued to drive straight towards town when suddenly I heard the thump at the front left hand side of the car. As I heard the thump I saw a person hit the bonnet and then the windscreen. The sun was blinding when I hit the person at the time. I didn’t see anybody crossing the road when I was driving,” she told the inquest…

Tom Dennings explained that when he was passing he heard a woman shouting ‘call 999’ and he immediately called 999. He said there was no rain at the time but added there ‘was an awful glare of the sun at the time.’…

The jury recorded a verdict of accidental death and the coroner, John O’Dwyer expressed his sympathy to Ms Keane’s family and also to Ms Barrett.

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Sun glare is one of the contributing factors in 3,000 car accidents every year | Radna Law

Here are some tips to avoid sun glare car accidents:

1. Clean your windshields. A dirty windshield only worsens the problem.

2. Wear quality sunglasses with polarized lenses and UV protection. Unpolarized lenses don’t effectively help.

3. Use the car visor in your car. It can be very effective at blocking the sun.

4. Turn headlights on so oncoming motorists can see you as they’re driving toward the sun.

5. Use the same precautions and care as driving in other hazardous conditions, like fog or rain…

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Saw a SmartCar belching black smoke tonight lol.

The Dangers of Summer Driving | Tyre Giant Blog

Free stock photo of road, landscape, nature, forest

stock image via pexels

Although driving in the sunny summer months is an enjoyable and fun experience, the dangers of summer driving are never quite as publicised as the potential motoring threats experienced in winter.

Here we’ll outline some of the most common dangers of summer driving, how they can affect you and your car and what you can do to avoid them!

Increased Road Users - The sun brings out road users in their masses…

More Slower Vehicles - Caravans, motorhomes and tractors are a pet hate of many motorists…

Bursting Tyres - When tyres get hot the air inside them expands…

High Temperatures Inside Cars - It goes without saying that you should never ever leave children or animals inside the car with no ventilation on a sunny day…

Road Glare - Contributing to roughly 3,000 road accidents a year, glare can occur when the sunlight bounces off water. Although this usually happens when the sun is lower in the sky it can still be a factor during summer…

Physical Issues - Higher temperatures can cause drowsiness and dehydration…

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Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – July 2014

The following relate to urban development and urban design in general, and to specific projects with sun/shade issues in particular. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Accidental Skyline: Report on tall buildings' influence on open spaces in New York City | The Municipal Art Society of New York

NEW YORK CITY, NY - Change and development are essential to retaining New York City’s dynamism. Over the years many of the city’s most iconic buildings have been constructed as-of-right, some to great acclaim, others to significant criticism. But because of advances in building technology and changes in the real estate market, extraordinarily tall buildings are now being built around some of our most important open spaces, raising a great deal of public concern.

The size and scale of the as-of-right buildings going up on and around 57th St. deserve particular attention because of their proximity to Central Park. Individually, the towers may not have a significant effect; however their collective impact has not been considered.

MAS has undertaken a series of shadow studies to show the serious impact these new luxury towers will have along the southern end of Central Park, blocking views of the sky from a number of locations within in the park and shrouding the carousel, ball fields, zoo and other popular features in shadow throughout the day.

Central Park and New York City’s other open spaces are critical to the economic health of the city and to the well-being of its residents. The mixed skyline along the edges of Central Park is one of the park’s defining and most memorable features. The solution is not to landmark this skyline, but to find a way to ensure that the public has a voice when our skyline and open spaces are affected by new development and to require careful analysis to help inform the decision-making process…

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Municipal Art Society Launches Development Rights Map | Commercial Observer

NEW YORK CITY, NY - The Municipal Art Society, a longtime city planning and preservation advocacy group, launched an interactive map that allows New Yorkers to see what sites in any of the city’s neighborhoods can take on extra square footage over their existing footprints, the organization announced last week…

The map follows the organization’s December 2013 report (see ‘Accidental Skyline’ above) that decries the shadow impact of the towers rising adjacent to Central Park on 57th Street and calls for height restrictions near parks and greater public scrutiny of zoning lot mergers…

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Canada's top 10 residential construction markets for Q2 2014 | BuzzBuzz Home

At the end of Q2-2014, there were 213,683 homes being built across Canada’s 10 busiest new residential construction markets. 

Naturally, the activity was centred in a few major urban areas, with Toronto standing out as the most active market by far. There is nearly the same number of homes currently under construction in the Toronto metropolitan area as the metro areas of Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary combined…

Montreal was second on the list behind Toronto…

Widely seen as Canada’s hottest up-and-coming market, Calgary was third on the list…

The Vancouver housing market may be the most expensive in Canada, but the metropolitan area comes in fourth in the country…

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Tallest residential building going to NYC | KSDK News

NEW YORK, NY (WPIX ) - Standing higher than the Empire State Building and just a little shorter than the World Trade Center, the Nordstrom Tower will be the tallest residential building in the world.

The Nordstrom Tower will be located on 227 W. 57th St. in New York City and will rise to a whopping 1,775 feet making it just a foot shorter than 1 World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Some say it sticks out like a sore thumb next to landmark buildings.

The building will have a giant seven-floor Nordstrom department store on the lower levels and apartment buildings on its top floors for the super rich billionaires.

Some say are foreign investors not even New Yorkers.

Many are not happy about it coming to the neighborhood casting a shadow on Central Park and changing the face of their neighborhood.

It's one of four towers going up on West 57th Street.

The shadows of what some are calling the "Central Park Supertowers."

Some say will severely block out the city's green and have has stirred up a debate about height limits for buildings in our city.

Extell's Gary Barnett defends the towers.

"This is the wrong issue at the wrong time," Barneet said. "It will be a long, slender shadow. It will only be for a few minutes."

People are so angry about this, a local community board has even started a Sunshine task force…

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How Civic Engagement Platforms Can Bring Back the Expertise of Urban Planners | Planetizen

The increasing use of online civic engagement platforms offers a chance for planners to improve the planning process—that is, if they take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the new technology to showcase their expertise.

Cities are experiencing significant changes, from fluctuations in population to climate change impacts and affordability concerns. However, the role of city planners in navigating cities through these changes is in flux. Over the last 30 years, planners have seen their role as the brokers of facts for implementing new initiatives diminish. Their expertise takes a backseat to time spent organizing and facilitating evening meetings.

The growth of civic engagement platforms, where residents weigh in with ideas and opinions about urban development plans, could continue this trend unless planners utilize the benefits of this technology as a platform for their expertise.

Why aren’t planners able to implement new initiatives? A significant challenge is getting political and community buy-in. To be fair, online engagement platforms cannot solve all the complex political challenges in local communities, but they can bring more transparency and accountability to the political process. Public meetings are the de facto method for collecting resident feedback for urban development projects. Because they are often held at inconvenient times, most residents are unable to participate. Bringing the information online helps more people access the information, weigh-in, and offer support for projects…

Here are four practical ways online engagement helps planners drive more informed discussions about projects.

1) Share facts and visualize project impacts…

2) Reach a more representative audience…

3) Educate through responses to comments and concerns…

4) Online engagement doesn’t replace public meetings—it helps them be more productive…

To build better communities, we need to use better tools to make it easy for all residents to add their voice to the process. Civic engagement platforms can help planners reach a wider audience and leverage their expertise to implement change…

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Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – July 2014

The following are miscellaneous sun, shade, solar and solar energy facts and comments. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

How do sunset times in Toronto and Miami compare?

Toronto -

Miami -

It doesn't seem that long ago that we were preparing shadow studies using scale rulers and protractors.

My twitter profile header pic is the Air India Flight 182 Memorial Sundial which I designed for Humber Bay Park East in Toronto. @SunPosition

Solar farm construction begins near the Rockies | Construction Canada

KIMBERLEY, BC - Construction has begun on Kimberley, British Columbia’s SunMine—Western Canada’s inaugural commercial solar field. The $5.3 million project is being constructed on the former Sullivan Mine site on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, and will be the first solar assembly connected to the B.C. Hydro grid.

To generate electricity from the sun, a total of 4000 photovoltaic cells will be on 96 solar-tracking stands. The generated energy will give power back to the former industrial site’s power lines that are still in place.

SunMine will be the first large project in the province to use solar-tracking technology, which involves components seeking the best places to capture light and, in turn, generate electricity. During the winter, solar bounce from the snow will also contribute to the energy production…

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Orioles learn the hard way about blinding light at Angel Stadium of Anaheim | The Baltimore Sun

ANAHEIM, CA - When the Orioles go on the road, detailed scouting reports tell them intricate details about not only opposing players but also visiting ballparks.

Everyone knows about the immense area of foul ground in Oakland. Teams have to learn how to play balls off the Green Monster at Fenway Park.

Sometimes shadows at certain ballparks play a factor depending on game time. The way a batted ball carries can be different whether it is day or night.

And in Monday’s 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels, the Orioles learned about a certain nuance of Angel Stadium of Anaheim the hard way.

Two batters into the first inning, with a runner on first base, Mike Trout hit a grounder to shortstop J.J. Hardy that could have been a double play. But Hardy's throw went past second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

Two batters later, the Angels scored on Josh Hamilton’s RBI single -- a run that was unearned.

Hardy was charged with a throwing error, but a glare from the sun setting behind the third-base line crept between the seating levels and shined right on second base, causing Schoop to lose Hardy’s throw…

“It’s not something that’s there during batting practice, and it’s not there certain times of the year, and it’s not there when it’s cloudy,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said…

“You talk about quality control in the major leagues, you can keep it from happening,” Showalter said. “There’s teams that put up tarp for that, there’s three or four stadiums. I know we have a place in our ballpark where we put something up…”

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A guy called today wanting us to cut down our trees so we could install solar panels on our house. Seriously?
Cheers, Ralph