Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sun Glare While Driving – March 2016

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:

How to Avoid Crashes Related to Sun Glare: 4 Tips from a Birmingham Auto Accident Attorney | Morris Bart, LLC

Most people associate clear days with safe driving conditions, but sun glare can be just as dangerous as rain or snow. In the early and late hours of the day – when the sun is lowest in the sky – a glare can blind a driver long enough to cause a serious collision…
Sun glare is especially hazardous in the spring, when drivers are adjusting to new daylight hours…
Read on for four tips that can help you avoid accidents due to sun glare:…

VIDEO: Low sun glare catches out biker (it's a pretty big impact) | MoreBikes

Sun glare suspected >
Driver suffers life-threatening injuries in crash involving school bus in Westborough | WCVB Boston
A woman is being treated for life-threatening injuries after a van she was driving crashed into a school bus in Westborough on Wednesday evening…
Police believe the glare from the sun contributed to the crash. It appeared White did not see the bus due to the glare and hit the bus...

RT Road Safety GB @Road_Safety_GB
New guidance looks set to establish three types of shared space scheme:

New professional guidance on shared space schemes due in summer 2016 is set to establish three broad types of public realm arrangement… The three types of shared space schemes established by the guidance are:
  • Unstructured streets: where there is no or little definition of where in the space a pedestrian, cyclist or motor vehicle might be expected to be.
  • Less managed street: where there are parts of the space, at junctions for instance, with generally clear areas for different types of user but the interaction between them is less managed than on a conventional street, so typically no traffic signals or priority crossings.
  • Enhanced street: where traffic management is generally conventional in the way it operates.
- See more at:

Great tips. And a clean INSIDE of windshield is equally important >
Driving into the Glare of the Sun |  Mazow McCullough, PC
Since there is no way to get around driving while the sun is in our eyes, considering that most of us drive either right after the sun has risen or just before the sun sets, which just happen to be the most dangerous and blinding times. Below are some tips to make the unavoidable a little more bearable.
  • Wear polarized sunglasses to help reduce the glare caused by the sun.
  • Keep your windshield clean, and definitely do this before your trip or if it is not possible to do before your trip, do it when you come to a stop. I think we all know what happens when you decide to spray windshield washer fluid while driving into the sun. (total and complete blindness)
  • Use your sun visor; it’s there for a reason.
  • Leave a decent amount of space between you and the driver in front of you while at the same time lowering your speed.
  • Drive with your headlights on to increase your visibility to other motorists on the road.
  • Avoid having papers/envelopes stored on your dashboard, nothing like white to reflect sunlight.
- See more at:

Good tips here from AAA >
Dangers of Driving Into Sun | @AAANews

Driving on a beautiful sunny day can provide stunning scenery, but it can also create a hazard if the driver’s view is compromised by a glaring sun. Just after sunrise and before sunset the sun can shine directly into drivers’ eyes, leaving many motorists driving with a glare. This glare can make it much harder to see the road ahead and potential hazards creating an added risk to drivers. When sun glare is an issue slow down and use extra caution especially while driving through school zones. So how can you protect yourself? AAA offers these tips for motorists when driving into the sun:
  • Invest in polarized sunglasses – they can help reduce glare.
  • Utilize your sun visor – it can help to block out the sun.
  • Leave more following room – when the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing. This is one more time when it pays to leave more room between you and the next vehicle.
  • Drive with your headlights on to increase your visibility to other drivers
Additional tips:
  • Keep your windshield clean, inside and out
  • Check your windshield for pitting and cracks
  • Avoid storing papers or other items on the dashboard
  • If having a difficult time seeing the road, use lane markings to help guide you.
Rarely will visibility be absolutely perfect while driving, but if motorists know this and make the proper adjustments, you can minimize any additional risks that come with less-than-optimal visual conditions.

Six percent increase in car crashes following spring forward | KUTV

The Monday after daylight savings comes with a six percent increase in car crashes, according to National Safety Council data… In a press release, AAA encourages drivers to be extra careful Monday following the spring forward with some tips… Tips for driving in the sun:
  • Invest in sunglasses, they can help reduce glare.
  • Utilize your sun visor, it can help to block out the sun.
  • Keep a safe distance behind other cars. Sun in your eyes reduces your view of the cars ahead.
  • As last resort, use lane markings as a temporary guide. Bright sun makes roads hard to see…

Drive extra carefully after the time change. Sun conditions will be different.

Rear-ending trucker blames sun glare >
2 injured in 9-vehicle crash on Route 422 in Amity | via @MercuryX

A chain-reaction crash involving nine vehicles sent two people to the hospital Friday morning. Amity Police told The Mercury Friday they responded to a crash shortly before 8 a.m. in which a tractor trailer crashed into a car, pushing it into several other cars that were sitting at a red light. The accident occurred at Route 422 east and Hill Road near Valley View Trailer Park. Traffic had been backed up at a red light near Monocacy Creek Road when driver Timothy Ludwig, 44, of Shillington, struck the back of a waiting vehicle with the tractor trailer he was operating, police said. The crash pushed the vehicle forward, eventually damaging a total of nine vehicles, including the tractor trailer… Police said Ludwig told officers that he crashed into the cars because he didn’t see the vehicles due to a bad sun glare…

No matter how safe and smart cars have become,
safe driving still depends on the driver.

Good advice here >
Risk of Sun Glare Could Increase as Spring Approaches | KSMU Radio

Spring is approaching, and that means an increased risk of accidents due to drivers being temporarily blinded by the sun. March 19 is the beginning of the Spring Equinox. Mandy Büttgen-Quinn, a traffic safety professional with the City of Springfield, said that sun glare poses a higher risk during this time of year because as the sun moves, it goes in direct east and west alignment. “So, during that time, since in America most streets are in east and west alignment, it can be a little bit of a problem, because the sun will be really low, glaring right at you.” She said properly using sun visors while driving and keeping a set of polarized sunglasses on hand can mitigate the hazards of windshield glare caused by the sun. Sergeant John Lueckenhoff with the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop D said sun glare is just as much a hazard as anything else that can obstruct a driver’s line of sight. “Glare in the windshield from the sun is just like any other visibility reduction situation, such as fog or heavy rain. Know that it prevents you from being able to clearly see what’s ahead.” Lueckenhoff said there are things you can do to try to avoid accidents when sun glare is a problem. “Everything you would normally do during fog or severe rain, you also need to do with the sun glaring in your face, such as slowing down, creating greater following distances, etc.” According to Büttgen-Quinn, other things causing problems for drivers this time of year are moisture on windshields and the potential for fog to build up on the insides of windows if the vehicle is not warmed up properly. She said keeping your windshield clean and warming your vehicle properly can reduce the chance of an accident. The National Highway Traffic safety Administration website has information about hazards associated with driving and tips to mitigate those hazards.
> RT Kevin Gamble @SF_KevinG:  Have you noticed more sun glare when driving lately? I have. A link from an expert on the subject: @SunPosition

Solar Glare: Dangers Driving Into the Sun | via @AttorneyMyers

You’re driving along and suddenly the bright sun blinds you. In that moment your car slams into another car causing an accident.  Are you at fault? Reverse roles. You’re driving along minding your own business and suddenly without warning a car in the oncoming lane crosses the center line and strikes your car.  The other driver explains “The bright sun temporarily blinded me it’s not my fault.” Solar glare can temporarily blind a driver and potentially cause accidents and injuries if nothing is done about it. How does the law handle the challenging issue?… Read on…

Glare from both sky & road >
Blinding Sun, Rain Cause 130-Car Pileup In North Carolina | via @weatherchannel
A North Carolina pileup involving more than 100 vehicles is being linked to blinding sun and rain, leaving at least 20 people injured Sunday evening. At least 130 vehicles were involved in numerous collisions on both sides of Interstate 40 in Adamance County, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol announced…

Safer cars, less safe drivers. Counter productive >
RT TIRF Canada ‏@TIRFCANADA 13.1% of Canadians say they would tailgate if their vehicle had modern safety features. Here’s why you shouldn’t:

If you haven't visited our Facebook site before, check it out now...

Freak accident. Cyclists hit dead kangaroo, tumble down, then hit by 4WD. Rising sun may have affected view.
A group of Australian cyclists have ploughed into a dead kangaroo before being hit by an oncoming four-wheel-drive. Up to nine cyclists were riding on Mitchell Road, not far from the Goulburn Valley Highway, at Kialla near Shepparton, northern Victoria, about 6.40am on Monday (local time)…. Sergeant Murray said the rising sun may have affected the cyclists' view of the road and the dead kangaroo. "There might be a question of sun glare," he said….

Traffic Safety Advisory >
Bright sun creates increased traffic safety risks | UPMatters

AAA Michigan is sending out a statewide TRAFFIC SAFETY ADVISORY urging drivers to BEWARE OF SUN GLARE and use extra caution when driving during the morning sunrise period. The switch to Daylight Saving Time (DST) makes commuting during the typical morning rush hour more challenging.  Early morning sun can present a dangerous situation for motorists by casting a glare that can temporarily blind them from other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Intersections can also pose an increased risk. In addition, preliminary data from the  Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Spotlight on Highway Safety Report projects a 10% increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities. This is anticipated to be the largest annual increase ever AAA offers these Top Ten Tips for Driving Into Sun Glare:
  1. Slow down and use extra caution.
  2. Invest in polarized sunglasses.
  3. Utilize your sun visor..
  4. Increase following room between you and the next vehicle.
  5. Drive with your headlights on.
  6. Avoid storing papers or other items on the dashboard.
  7. Keep your windshield clean, inside and out.
  8. Check your windshield for pitting and cracks.
  9. Keep your windshield solvent filled up.
  10. Use lane markings to help guide you.

Both drivers cited in Vineland crash | via @theDailyJournal

Both drivers were cited after a crash at Chestnut Avenue and Spring Road on March 18 that injured three people. Robert Allen, 59, of Mays Landing, was issued summonses for a traffic light violation and the improper hitching of a motor vehicle, according to a police report released Wednesday. The other driver, Timothy Hill, 55, of Victoria Court, was ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. Allen told police he was headed east on Chestnut Avenue and thought he had the green light when he entered the intersection but noted sun glare on his windshield… Hill told police he had the green light, which a witness confirmed…

RT Korean Parking @Koreanparking Urban road safety hack in India:

Read more:

Good advice here >
RT @TraceTracking: Driving Dangers of 'Springing Forward'
This video report from Fox61 News warns motorists about the spike in drowsy driving during the first week of Daylight Saving Time.
For the full fleet safety tip, click here.

Keep an eye on ways  to reduce sun glare | C & G Newspapers

The sunny side of the street might also be the more dangerous side if drivers fail to take precautionary steps to fight sun glare while driving. According to an alert from AAA, sun glare is becoming more of a factor this time of year due to the recent start of daylight saving time and the timing of daily commutes. The agency says drivers who have to drive amid sun glare should follow some tips to avoid being blinded, which could endanger other vehicles or pedestrians. Those tips include slowing down, flapping down the sun visor and keeping distance between your car and the one in front. The windshield should also be kept clean and unmarred from cracks…

Good tips >
How to Avoid Crashes Due to Sun Glare: 4 Tips from an Alexandria Injury Attorney | via @morrisbartllc

Many drivers associate sunny weather with good driving conditions. Although driving at night is certainly more dangerous, daytime driving comes with its own risks.

Sun glare, in particular, contributes to a significant number of injury accidents. It is particularly hazardous in the early morning and late afternoon. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to avoid crashes related to sun glare. These include:
  • Cleaning your windshield;
  • Checking your wiper blades;
  • Using your sun visor;
  • Wearing polarized glasses;
  • And reducing your speed…

Portland's ""pedestrian problem"" is not going away | via @BikePortland

There’s been yet another crash in Portland involving a vulnerable road user. It marks a very troubling start to 2016 that should force the city to do a gut-check about its commitment to Vision Zero.
The latest tragedy on our streets happened yesterday at around 6:40 pm. According to the Portland Police Bureau, 36-year-old Evan Agrella was walking southbound when he entered the marked, mid-block crosswalk on SE Division between 142nd and 143rd. There are two standard vehicle lanes in this location. Argrella stepped into the first lane after drivers slowed and stopped for him. Unfortunately someone in the next lane failed to stop their car in time and struck him. As a result of this illegal and unsafe driving behavior, Argrella remains in the hospital with “traumatic, life-threatening injuries.” Police say officers who responded to the crash believe one of the contributing factors was, “the bright, setting sun that was directly in front of Lovric [the driver] as she drove westbound on Division Street.” Unfortunately, in their official media statement about the crash, the PPB didn’t mention that failure to stop for someone in a crosswalk is a clear violation of Oregon law. Sun glare is a serious safety issue, but it should never be referred to in the context of absolving a person from the responsibility to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. There were many factors present that should have resulted in this driver either stopping or slowing to a crawl: the sun glare; the presence of a crosswalk, median island and caution signage; and the fact that vehicles in the adjacent lane had stopped and their brake lights would have been on...

Cheers, Ralph

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – March 2016

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

What are your thoughts about shadowing from proposed buildings?

Take our survey

If you haven't visited our Facebook site before, check it out now...

Empty nests >

RT @CTVNews: Vancouver has 10,800 empty homes, mostly apartments: study

Vancouver's rate of vacant homes hasn't changed in more than a decade and is similar to many other Canadian cities, according to a new study

The effort was undertaken in response to growing public concern that vacant homes were contributing to the city's red-hot housing market and leaving many neighbourhoods devoid of inhabitants…

Very Curacao-ish >

How One Developer Is Delivering Urban Infill | via @planetizen

Urban infill is trending again. In fact, most of the housing industry's largest builders now operate urban divisions, allowing builders and customers new access to urbanized, walkable communities.

"We're seeing more demand for closer-in living and urban revitalization, as well as a general trend towards higher-density housing," observes Edward McMahon, senior resident fellow with the Urban Land Institute.

To illustrate his point, McMahon notes that eight of Denver's 13 regional shopping malls have been torn down and are being replaced by mixed-use developments. In Washington, D.C., there's a Walmart with apartments on its roof; in Vancouver, B.C., a Home Depot takes up the ground floor of a building with five stories of housing. McMahon also sees infill opportunities in lower-density corridors to replace underperforming strip malls and their large parking lots. He points specifically to Los Angeles County, where the majority of housing being built is on land that previously had been zoned commercial…

Shadow impact key issue >

LUPZ asks developers to revise plan again for 2 E. Chestnut Hill Ave | Chestnut Hill Local 

Patriot Real Estate Capital – the developer currently planning to convert the former Gallagher Dentistry Office at 2 E. Chestnut Hill Ave. into a two-unit dwelling while adding an additional two-unit structure – must revise its plans again to reduce the structure’s “shadow impact” as part of the Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee’s approval motion that passed on March 3 with a 6-2 vote…

The shadow impact made by the proposed structure is minimal, Udis said. The shadow impact is most prominent during the winter solstice at the middle of the day, around 3 p.m.

Despite this, one neighbor was concerned that the shadow would encroach on her sunroom, which she said wasn’t included on the shadow-study drawings.

“In the winter it’s nice to see a little bit of sun when you’re in the sunroom,” she said. “It’s not particularly nice to sit in the shade all afternoon long.”

Udis said architects are currently trying to mitigate that problem. Although, he said, the shadows mainly come from the existing trees which they preserving. The next drawings, he said, will accurately depict the sunroom in relation to the shadow impact.

To reduce the shadow impact, Larry McEwen, co-chair of the LUPZ, asked Udis if the structure could be moved closer to the existing house while at the same time pushing its facade closer to Germantown Ave. That would reduce the setback from 10 to 6 feet, which would thus extend the backyard setback from 14 to 18 feet. This, McEwen said, would give the neighbor more room between her property line and the structure. Udis said his firm will factor in his recommendations into their next set of redesigned plans…

One of our shadow study projects >

RT Pier 27 @Pier27Tower You need to see these scale models of our tower over on @Urban_Toronto, trust us!

Tower at Pier 27, Toronto, architectsAlliance, Cityzen, Fernbrook

image via

Cityzen Development Group and Fernbrook Homes' Pier 27 community at the foot of Yonge Street is set to grow again with the addition of the 35-storey Tower at Pier 27. Designed by architectsAlliance's Peter Clewes, the striking addition to Toronto's waterfront is represented in the project's presentation centre by a scale model that highlights the tower's exterior features…

RT CityNews Toronto @CityNews Condos throwing shade: Do downtown students have a right to light?

image via

Canadians have the right to vote, the right to practise a religion of their choice, the right to life, liberty and physical and psychological safety.

But what about the right to light?

In the growing urban jungle, sunlight is growing increasingly sparse as more and more condominiums clog the downtown sky. Parks, playgrounds and general green spaces across the city are increasingly struggling for glimpses of the sun as buildings pop up to block it.

This is the issue facing students at the Church Street Public School.

Established in 1957 and located right in the heart of downtown at Church and Carlton streets, Church Street School has been fighting for its fair share of sunlight for years as developers with dollar signs in their eyes snap up real estate all around it.

A few years ago, a 45-storey condo was proposed for an area just south of the school, which for all intents and purposes would have blocked sunlight from the school’s playground for a good portion of the school day. City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association and a number of community members successfully fought the developer, saving the sunlight for another day.

But it’s happening again.

Another developer has eyed the property – currently a parking lot across from the old Maple Leaf Gardens – with a proposal for a condo development even taller. Once again, Wong-Tam and the CWNA are forced to roll up their sleeves to fight for the childrens’ right to light.

And where is the Toronto District School Board in all this? It’s common practice for a developer’s building proposal to include financial restitution for residents and businesses in the area that would be impacted by the erection of their structure. In the case of Church Street Public School, the payment to the TDSB is rumoured to be $1.5 million for a new playground design featuring artificial turf.

It’s not the first time a development has thrown shade on schoolkids – it’s just the most recent. Back in 2014, parents at Lord Landsdowne Public School fought a developer on College and Spadina that proposed a 22-storey building in exchange for a $1 million playground. And in 2006, the TDSB sold Jesse Ketchum Public School’s sunlight for $2 million to the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences in Yorkville.

Supporters of development will say that’s what happens when you live in a city – if you want sunshine and space, move to the suburbs. But that opinion is in direct opposition to the city’s goal of making Toronto’s downtown core a family-friendly environment with ample green spaces and smart environmental sustainability projects.

In England, there is a right to light law, of sorts. Basically, under the Ancient Lights law, the owner of a building with windows that have received natural daylight for 20 years or more is entitled to forbid any construction that would deprive him or her of that illumination. As recently as 2010 a court upheld an injunction against a commercial property under the Ancient Lights law.

That’s a good place to start the conversation. If a building threatens an established green space or playground that has been bathed in sunlight for 20 years or more, consultations should take place. And if it’s a school, the TDSB should be speaking on behalf of the parents, not its own financial interests.

It shouldn’t be up to schoolkids to see the light…

Checking In On Octavia's Planned Micro-Unit Apartments | via @HoodlineSF

It's been over a year since we covered plans for Parcels M and N, two narrow Octavia Boulevard-adjacent lots where two micro-unit apartment buildings are in the works. Despite the lack of visible progress, the project is still trucking along behind the scenes. Architect Douglas Burnham from envelopeA+D, which is handling the development, gave us an update.

The project was presented to the Recreation and Parks Commission last December, receiving unanimous approval despite one concern: the building on parcel M (on the corner of Fell and Octavia) will cast a "minor shadow" on Patricia's Green. This concern was dismissed after a shadow study was done, showing that it would only affect the Green on December mornings for about an hour and a half...

Burnham will be presenting the updated design at the next HVNA meeting on April 28th, in advance of a Planning Commission hearing on May 5th...

RT UrbanToronto @Urban_Toronto The One now proposed at 304.3 m/998.1 ft and 72 storeys, in response, it seems (not 100% sure) to shadow concerns from the City.

RT UrbanToronto @Urban_Toronto Our latest 'Growth to Watch For' explores development at the eastern edge of downtown.

This edition of our Growth to Watch For series explores development at the eastern edge of Downtown Toronto along the Church and Jarvis Street corridors between Bloor Street and The Esplanade. With redevelopment on the west side of Downtown having picked up steam earlier, a shortage of redevelop-able space there now means that large-scale projects are now coming en masse to the less dense neighbourhoods along Church and Jarvis on the east side of Downtown…

One of our shadow study projects >

RT UrbanToronto @Urban_Toronto The Stanley is coming to the corner of Church  & Carlton | @mytributehome

Stanley Condominiums, Toronto, by Tribute Communities, Core Architects

image via 

For the first time since 1967, Stanley is returning to the storied Church and Carlton intersection, but this time around, it'll be Tribute Communities—not the Toronto Maple Leafs—raising him up. Directly across the street from Maple Leaf Gardens, Stanley Condominiums is set to rise at the northeast corner of Church and Carlton, replacing yesterday's hockey glory with today's fast-paced condominium development. (Oh, how the city is changing).

Designed by Core Architects, the tower will join a growing high-rise cluster along the Church Street corridor north of Ryerson University. The development's 470 suites will range in size from 369 ft² to 1,070 ft², with one to three-bedroom configurations. Rising from a sleek street wall podium that integrates the building into the surrounding context—referencing the scale of Maple Leaf Gardens to the west—the tower will bring a distinctively sculpted presence to the local skyline... 

RT Mike Cluett @Mike_Cluett Great article from the Champion on the proposed downtown Milton ON condo.

Milton twin tower condo plans unveilved at open house

image via 

A group of numbered companies has put forward its plans for a condominium development consisting of an 18-storey west tower and 13-storey east tower with a combined 190 units on lands that front onto Mill and Main streets, west of Martin Street…

The town must approve Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments before the project is given the green light. Current zoning of the lands permits a maximum building height of four storeys.

Along with its application, the developer has submitted a variety of studies to the Town, including reports on air quality, heritage impact, noise feasibility and traffic impact. The municipality is awaiting the submission of an urban design brief, shadow impact study and tree preservation plan… 

Great approach to design >

RT Flossy Commercial @FlossyComDevelo Mar 21 amazing.......the top of Salesforce Tower is tapered to minimize it's shadow impact

Burnaby outpaces Vancouver in tower development | Vancouver Sun

Burnaby is putting up a forest of highrise residential towers over the next 25 years, far outstripping anything contemplated by Vancouver. 

Targeting land around rapid transit nodes and four malls — Metrotown, Brentwood, Lougheed and Edmonds, developers have at least 106 highrise residential buildings with more than 30,000 units proposed or under construction. Of those, 47 are 40 storeys or more in height, according to data collected by a real estate expert with Colliers International. By comparison, there are 68 highrises under development in Vancouver, of which only 13 are 40 storeys or taller…

Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – March 2016

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.

Now that Leap Day is over, our calendar is more or less back in sync with the sun and the seasons.

Low Irradiance in 2015 Impacts Solar Projects in Southern States | North American Clean Energy

Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement, has today released solar performance analysis revealing that solar irradiance levels were 5% below long-term averages across the southern U.S. in 2015. The corresponding impact on project performance was felt most notably during the first two quarters, when operators in emerging solar markets, including Texas, saw irradiance levels more than 10% below normal…

RT NASA @NASA Wow, a total solar #eclipse2016! See the moon pass directly in front of the sun. It happened at 8:38 to 8:42 pm ET.

It's a Total Solar Eclipse!
Clip from NASA TV

Fairer pricing needed? >

Shadow over solar? | Arizona Daily Sun

Derek Turner remembers well the nasty battle that erupted between solar providers and utilities in 2013 when Arizona Public Service proposed to decrease the rate it paid for energy that rooftop solar owners export back to the grid. APS-funded advertising campaigns portrayed solar customers as stealing from non-solar ones while those on the opposite side contended that changing existing solar policies was opposed by 90 percent of Arizonans. 

In the midst of it all, customers rushed into Turner’s company, Rooftop Solar, to get their panels before the new rates were to take effect. Then business completely froze as everyone waited for state regulators to make a final decision, Turner said.

“Utility companies do have a power to freeze interest based on fear and we've seen that directly impact our business and solar companies all over the state,” he said.

Now, while the rhetoric hasn’t been as biting, utilities and solar companies are gearing up for another contentious debate over utility rate proposals that could be a significant hit to solar customers, including those in northern Arizona. Added to the mix will be an upcoming study by state regulators about the costs and benefits of rooftop solar to utilities.

While still optimistic about the potential growth of sun-powered energy in the state, local solar installers and advocates say the impact of fee changes could be dramatic…

Toronto hits the 12 hours of daylight mark tomorrow Mar 17.

Ottawa hits the 12 hours of daylight mark tomorrow Mar 17.

Welcome 12 hours of daylight today for everyone in the north half of the USA and in most of Canada.

The sun at the moment of the equinox on Mar 20, 2016, at 4:30 UT (12:30 AM EDT)

image by Ralph Bouwmeester

Google image annotated by Ralph Bouwmeester

RT The Weather Network @weathernetwork The vernal equinox occurs on Sunday. Here's why spring begins on March 20 this year

Image: Przemyslaw Idzkiewicz/Wikimedia Commons

image via

Sunday, March 20, 2016, 6:24 AM - The "official" start to spring is coming up fast, a welcome marker on the road to true warmth.

Though this year's winter has not exactly been frigid, the March equinox is culturally tied to the changing of the season, but that date -- March 20 this year -- rarely has anything to do with how the seasons usually run in a given country.

Rather than being a product of the weather, the equinox is only, and exclusively, tied with the position of the Earth in its orbit around the sun.

In a nutshell, the equinox occurs when the Earth's equator is aligned more or less exactly toward the sun, rather than one hemisphere being favoured over the other…

How quickly does the Sun move?

Did you know?...

1) ...the sun's altitude changes most rapidly during early morning and late afternoon hours.

For Toronto...

...typically about 1 degree per hour around noon

...up to about 11 degrees per hour early and late in the day

...the rate of change is greater in summer than winter.

2) ...the sun's direction changes most rapidly around noon.

For Toronto...

...typically about 10 degrees per hour early and late in the day

...up to about 38 degrees per hour at noon on June 21

...the rate of change is much greater in summer than winter.

The sun will be over central Indonesia at the Spring Equinox Mar 20/16 at 12:30 AM EDT.

image by Ralph Bouwmeester

@neiltyson FWIW, our sunrise/sunset tables take into account the sun's semi-diameter + average refraction. 50 arc minutes total.

Equinox may mean ""Equal Night"" in Latin, but Toronto has 12 hrs 11 minutes of daylight today.

Length of daylight increases by 3 minutes per day in Toronto these days. Nice.

Did you know... Dec 21 shadows at high noon in Toronto are 2.5x longer than those on Mar/Sep 21 which in turn are 2.5x longer than Jun 21.

Shadows of a 60-storey building in Toronto move at about 0.8 m/min at high noon on Jun 21, 1.1 m/min on Mar/Sep 21,  and 1.9 m/min on Dec 21.

Cheers, Ralph