Monday, August 3, 2015

Sun Glare While Driving – July 2015

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

Read our weekly news summary “Sun Glare and Driving” at:

RT "@CBCNews: The worst excuses from drivers breaking the law that Abbotsford police have heard “

One of the driving excuses highlighted in the campaign — mistaking a police car for a taxicab while drunk — happens fairly regularly, said Const. Ian MacDonald of Abbotsford Police.

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RT Dave Harford ‏@dharford79 Tyres are critical to keep you on the road. These wear indicators are a quick indication of how worn tyres are.

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Courtroom Climate: Visibility impairments due to weather can cause crashes | Kevin Williams

Those who travel the highways of western and central New York during the winter time are all too familiar with the hazards associated with driving on roads that are snow covered, icy or wet. According to the United States Department of Transportation, there is an average of 5.5 million crashes every year in the nation. In 2010, automobile crashes resulted in 33,000 deaths and 2 million injuries.

But when many think of weather-related hazards while driving, the consideration should extend beyond the state of the pavement. According to a recent paper published in the July edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), visibility impairments due to weather conditions play a nontrivial role in automobile accidents. And this is consistent with my professional experiences.

According to the BAMS paper, visibility-obstructed fatal crashes in New York state resulting from fog, blowing dust and blowing sand between 1994 and 2011 totaled 29, resulting in 31 deaths. Nationally, there were 1331 fatal, visibility obstructed crashes resulting in 1582 deaths…

Over the years we have been asked to undertake forensic evaluations in order to determine whether fog was present at an accident scene and if so, to what extent. We do this by examining surface weather observations, National Weather Service statements and satellite imagery.

Sometimes, climatological conditions factor in – is this area conducive to fog formation? For example, the deeper river valleys across the Southern Tier are more likely to start a summer day foggy than are the metropolitan areas of Rochester and Buffalo, because cool air with condensed moisture often settles into low lying, rural locations.

And the consideration of fog can extend beyond the cause of a traffic accident. It can be a factor in criminal proceedings.

Some years ago we were asked to provide research and opinion as to the likelihood of fog existing on the Lake Ontario State Parkway during a particular evening. The purpose of this was to determine whether a suspect in an armed robbery in Rochester could have reasonably and safely traveled to Hamlin by a certain time. It was there that the suspect claimed to have an alibi.

Unfortunately, the BAMS paper did not take into consideration two significant, weather-related hindrances to visibility: sun glare and blowing snow, both of which have been directly related to fatal motor vehicle accidents in this area. In fact, although statistics on those to factors were not provided, it has been my experience that sun glare and blowing snow are at least as significant in visibility-obstructed highway accidents as fog.

Interesting article by @whec_kwilliams. Kevin, I agree that sun glare is a factor in many crashes >

> RT Kevin Williams ‏@whec_kwilliams: @SunPosition Thank you.  I have testified in a couple of gruesome cases where sun glare was a major contributor.

> Likewise Kevin. Sun glare is a real traffic danger that is not given enough attention. @whec_kwilliams

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Sun glare major factor >

No criminal charges for driver who fatally struck Guttenberg woman |

The driver who fatally struck a 48-year-old Guttenberg woman this week won't face any criminal charges because he wasn't driving recklessly, according to the Hudson County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Frank Schillari said "sun glare was a major contributing factor" in the crash that killed Gertrudis Pena on Bergenline Avenue on Tuesday. The driver, Dominick Azzolini, 81, of Rutherford, wasn't driving recklessly when he hit Pena; he just couldn't see her and didn't react quickly enough, the sheriff said.

"Once the driver struck the victim, he was slow to react and did not brake once he struck her," he said in an e-mail. "Older drivers react to emergency maneuvers much slower than younger drivers."

Investigators determined from video that Azzolini was driving 15 miles per hour when he hit Pena on Tuesday. He was making a left turn onto Bergenline Avenue from 68th Street as Pena, who was on her way to work, was crossing the avenue. He had a green light, but Pena had a walking signal and was in the crosswalk, meaning that she had the right of way. Azzolini's car dragged her for approximately 30 feet, Schillari said.

Pena died at Jersey City Medical Center eight hours after the crash.

Guttenberg police issued Azzolini summonses for careless driving, failing to yield to a pedestrian and making an improper turn. The sheriff announced on Thursday that his office would not be filing any additional charges…

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Sun glare? How? >  

Union County approves $335K to settle lawsuits over sheriff's accident | via @njdotcom

Union County freeholders have approved paying up to $335,000 to settle lawsuits that followed a 2011 accident involving  Sheriff Joseph Cryan who was driving a county-owned sports utility vehicle.

The driver in the other vehicle, Twanda Brown, and her passenger, Yuri Rayford, both of Maplewooid, each filed suit against Cryan and the county saying they were seriously injured in the crash in Union Township. However, a police report of the accident makes no mention of any injuries.

No summons were issued for the accident, but Cryan told police he was distracted by sun glare and did not see the other vehicle…

The accident occurred at 10:38 a.m. on Nov. 5, 2011, near Cryan's home in Union.

Cryan was driving a county-owned 2009 Ford Escape and traveling north on Liberty Avenue, and as he turned left onto Meister Avenue, he collided head-on into a sports utility vehicle driven by Brown, who was traveling south on Liberty Avenue, according to the police report.

Brown, then 45, was driving a 2006 Acura MDX, according to the report. There was a 29-year-old passenger in the vehicle, but that person's name was redacted from the report obtained from Union police.

Cryan told police that as he was turning left, he was distracted by sun glare and failed to see Brown's vehicle…

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Sun glare was factor in collision but moot point by comparison >

Pleas Entered In Manslaughter Cases | WOWT NBC Omaha

No contest pleas to two manslaughter charges.

26-year-old Edward D. Koch of Quincy, Illinois will be sentenced September 21st on the Class III Felonies.

Koch was the driver of 2006 Mazda sedan that struck another vehicle from behind on Highway 34 near Elmwood on Sunday, September 21st.

Killed were 23-year-old Matthew F. Kirchhoff of Weeping Water and 22-year-old Emily F. Widger of Wahoo, the two occupants of the other vehicle. Their dog Bear, a chocolate lab, was also in the 2006 Nissan Sentra.

Koch, who has been free on $150,000 bond, entered the no contest pleas in Cass County District Court yesterday. In response to a question from District Judge Jeffrey Funke, Koch said he understood the court would deem him guilty.

Julie Bear of the public defender's office said there is no plea agreement and no agreement on sentencing. She said Koch has been attending therapy classes.

Just after the collision, Koch had told deputies he thought he was traveling at 92 to 94 mph. Cass County Attorney Nathan Cox said the accident reconstruction report showed Koch was traveling at 89 miles per hour in the 60 mph zone. Both vehicles were westbound. Sun glare was a factor in the accident…

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Traffic lights and signs need to be able to be seen despite sun glare >

Man Killed in Crosswalk | MANTECA BULLETIN

A man walking a toddler in a stroller toward Woodward Park in a marked crosswalk at Queensland Avenue was killed by an eastbound (Ed. westbound??) van on Woodward Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday when the driver was apparently blinded by the setting sun.  

The child — who appeared to be about 2 years old — was seriously injured.

The horrific incident was a replay of a fatal accident about a year ago on East Center Street. An older man pushing a shopping cart was crossing from the south side of Center Street to the north to reach an alley.  He was struck and killed by a westbound motorist who did not see him in the glare of the setting sun.

Neighbors in the area of Wednesday’s fatality noted that the warning amber lights strips on both sides of the crosswalk were activated but they said when the sun is setting they cannot be seen by the oncoming traffic…

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Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – July 2015

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

Check out our weekly news summary “Sun, Shadow & Urban Development” at

One of our recent shadow study projects >

Pinnacle unveils first rendering of Amber, the newest phase of Pinnacle Uptown in Mississauga | via @buzzbuzzhome

With a glittering glass fa├žade and multi-storey podium connecting its two towers, Amber will be welcome addition to the Pinnacle Uptown master-planned community. Pinnacle has released the first rendering of the modern condominium residences, which began registration in the spring. 

Located on Hurontario Street and Eglinton Avenue West, Amber will be in close proximity to public transit, schools, parks, restaurants, grocery stores, services and Highway 403...

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Melbourne building changed to stop shadows  | via @Yahoo7

Victoria's planning minister has approved a CBD apartment building after developers reduced its size to prevent shadows being cast on the state's parliament.

Grocon redesigned their plan for 85 Spring Street in Melbourne, changing the proposal from 44 to 39 levels, to reduce overshadowing around parliament and the old Treasury building…

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Stunning building >

Another one of our shadow study projects >

Stanley by Tribute Communities is coming soon to Church and Carlton | via @buzzbuzzhome

Tribute Communities is introducing Stanley, a brand new 471-unit condominium, to the vibrant Church and Wellesley neighbourhood. BuzzBuzzHome News dropped by the presentation centre this week to check out the site and snap some photos. 

The Core Architects-designed tower will rise 37 storeys above Church and Carlton Street, and features unique curvilinear architecture with undulating glass and balconies. At the base will be a sleek and modern seven-storey glass podium…

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Farrer residents fear living in shadows of Goodwin Village | via @canberratimes 

Farrer residents fear a proposed five- and six-storey redevelopment of Goodwin Village aged care facilities will overshadow their homes… 

Anthony Wicks and Stella Maoudis bought into the suburb 10 years ago and live adjacent to the rear of the site on Sutton Place…

Sitting in his sunlit  kitchen for breakfast, Mr Wicks said he wouldn't stand for having shadows cast on his home and his neighbours.

Under the Community Facilities Zone development code the maximum building height is four storeys in cases where development is within 30m of a residential block; Goodwin has applied for a deviation to exceed this.

"These are quite tall buildings and in the mornings they'll totally shadow three houses up our block," he said…

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Shadow Concerns Continue to Shadow Height-Cut 171 Tremont | via @CurbedBoston

The would-be developers behind a proposed condo tower at 171 Tremont Street just across from Boston Common recently sliced the height of the spire from 355 feet to 255. David Raftery and the Dabbah family made the move to placate local opposition to what would now be a 20-story building with 19 units total (with the vast majority of floors having only one unit) and 28 underground parking spots. Yet the equivalent of cutting almost 10 floors might not be enough for some, not in today's Boston, no-how. 

Donna Goodison at the Herald has the details: "The Midtown Cultural District Residents' Association supports a residential project at the site, according to executive committee member Rishi Shukla. But there's still concern, primarily from residents of the adjacent Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Towers and Parkside condos, about the building's proposed height and shadows it would cast on the Common, he said." …

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Nine-storey building proposed in Village | via @mytowncrier 

Forest Hill Village residents can expect the chance to articulate their opinion of a nine-storey, 35.5-metre mixed-use building proposed for 390–398 Spadina Rd. at a community consultation meeting this fall.

The application, which Walker Nott Dragicevic Associates submitted on behalf of developer Armel Corporation in April, exceeds the four-storey, 12-metre height limit permitted by the recently approved Forest Hill Village Design Guidelines and was opposed by city staff in a report published in May.

“It is too intense a development for this site,” Ward 21 Councillor Joe Mihevc said. “It isn’t very often that planning staff indicate in the preliminary report that the developer is asking for too much, so this is clearly a signal that they need to come back with something more modest.”…

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New urban design guidelines for Forest Hill Village | via @mytowncrier

New urban design guidelines are officially in place in Forest Hill Village, to the delight of local councillors Joe Mihevc and Josh Matlow. 

City council approved the most recent version of the guidelines, recommended by city staff, on July 7.

Roughly situated along Spadina Road between Montclair Avenue in the south and Strathearn Boulevard in the north, the borders of Forest Hill Village were drawn in the 1920s, and most buildings in the area were constructed in the 1940s…

Under the guidelines, certain parts of the neighbourhood’s northwest and southeast are designated “open space” and cannot be developed, while future developments are expected to rise no higher than four storeys, the height limit of the neighbourhood’s current buildings.

The guidelines also divide the neighbourhood into two “character zones”: Zone A, south of Thelma Avenue, includes commercial and mixed-use development, while Zone B, to the north, is characterized by a mix of walkup apartment buildings, single-detached houses and semis.

Other elements covered by the guidelines include building materials, setbacks (which must match adjacent buildings) and even signage and storefront width…

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RT blogTO ‏@blogTO The best cafe patios in Toronto provide a taste of sunshine and fresh air on coffee breaks

The best cafe patios in Toronto provide a taste of sunshine and fresh air on coffee breaks. While much of the city's patio culture seems to centre around frosty beers, there is a live and well (and sober) demographic that enjoy the outdoors in sleepy morning hours and into the afternoons.

Here's the list of the best cafe patios in Toronto - 

Councilman Hosts Forum to Discuss Blocking Shadow-Making 'Superscrapers' | via @Dnainfo

UPPER EAST SIDE - City Councilman Ben Kallos is fed up with super-tall skyscrapers he says are leaving Upper East Side residents in the dark — literally. 

The towers' shadows block light from reaching neighboring apartment buildings and stand out among the more modest buildings in the neighborhood, Kallos said, pointing in particular to a proposal to build a 900-foot-tall tower in Sutton Place…

"If we create a city where every building is 200 stories tall, the only people who will get light are the people on the top floor. Everyone else would live in the shadow of the rest."

Kallos also highlighted another project at 432 Park Ave., calling it the beginning of an "eruption" of tall towers. The Park Avenue condo is the tallest skyscraper on the Upper East Side at roughly 1,400 feet, or 96 stories…

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Another one of our shadow study projects >

First look at midtown's latest boutique-style condo project at Yonge & Belsize | via @buzzbuzzhome

Yonge & Belsize is a new condo development by The Biddington Group and Monarch Mattamy Homes currently in preconstruction at 1955 Yonge Street, Toronto. The development has a total of 200 units.

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Massive 524-foot-tall office tower proposed for downtown Vancouver | VanCityBuzz

A supersized proposal to build a 524-foot (160-metre) tall office tower in downtown Vancouver’s Central Business District would be one of the largest office tower developments in Vancouver in decades. 

A rezoning application submitted to the City indicates that Oxford Properties intends to construct a 33-storey, 658,687 square foot office tower at 1133 Melville Street, a large site between Bute and Thurlow streets currently occupied by a 7-storey parkade. It will have a floor space ratio (FSR) of 22.65 and be the tallest office tower in the city…

New York City-based Kohn Pederson Fox, which also designed Oxford’s nearby MNP Tower, is responsible for the design of the project.

“The tower consists of multiple volumes,” reads the application. “A step creates green terraces and demarcates volumes. A diagonal cut through the building reduces the shadow impact and creates an iconic crown to cap the tower.”…

The development site permits a tower of up to 550 feet (168 metres), but Oxford has not pursued the maximum permissible height…

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Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – July 2015

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

Our monthly sunrise/sunset tables have been updated

Sunrise/sunset times for the Toronto2015 PanAm Games

Embedded image permalink

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Nipissing feels solar proposal glare | North Bay Nipissing News

NIPISSING, ON – One more municipality is finding itself in the sun.

Magnificent Light Solar is looking to set up a 5 MW solar park in Nipissing Township on Marion Drive…

Nipissing Mayor Pat Haufe says the solar development is new to him.

“We had a presentation from Sky Power [Magnificent Light’s parent company] on January 20 and all they did that day was come out and say ‘here’s what’s on our horizon, here’s what we’re thinking about,’” Haufe told the News Thursday.

“Since then we’ve received nothing from them until this afternoon.” …

As for the community reaction, Haufe isn’t sure what to expect.

“There are residences around the lake, very few along Marion Drive, but as you get to the end of it and turn onto the lakeshore part of it there are many summer cottages and some people who live there year round,” Haufe says.

“We trust they have been told about this meeting.”

While proposed solar projects are popping up all across the region — Ryerson and Strong Townships most recently have been fielding requests for support — this is the first so far for Nipissing.

“The solar thing is new to us,” Haufe says.

“This is our first visit from anyone with solar farms on their radar, so other than the presentation that night we don’t have much information. It’s still very tentative.” …

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Residents celebrate after glaring solar panels taken down in Ailsworth

Residents brought out champagne after housing association Cross Keys Homes agreed to take down the panels from the roof of resident Ged Moore in Main Street.

Mr Moore’s neighbour Anita Ribbons had been fighting to get the panels removed after complaining that the glare from them was so bright that her 12-year-old son could not do his homework and was suffering ill health.

Residents came together on Monday (June 29) to toast having the solar panels removed.

Ms Ribbons said: “It is a huge relief to us the Ribbons family that the glare caused by low sun will no longer be an issue in our son’s bedroom just six metres from the panels.”…

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Not only is the weather beautiful for our southern friends at the Toronto2015 PanAm Games in Toronto, longer daylight too.

Toronto has 1.5 hrs more daylight than Miami during the Toronto2015 PanAm Games, 2 more than San Juan, 4 more than Sao Paulo. Enjoy.

Cool, the sundial we designed for the Air India Memorial in Humber Bay Park East is included in the list >

10 secret things you might not know existed in Toronto | blogTO

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Air India Memorial
Hidden just to the west of the mouth of the Humber River, the austere Air India Memorial can be one of the most tranquil places in the city. I first happened upon it on a rainy bike ride. When I arrived, the rain had just subsided and a peculiar silence fell around me. It was both completely fitting and emotionally profound. The memorial features a sundial pointed at Ahakista, Ireland, where the plane went down as well as the names of the 329 victims on board.

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Cheers, Ralph