Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sun Glare While Driving – December 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

Sun Glare May Have Been Factor In Rear-End Crash That Claimed The Life Of One Student | Lawsuit Financial Corporation

“While many of us may think of driving in weather conditions such as rain, snow, or fog, as potentially dangerous, this does not mean we can be less attentive when driving on a clear day. Driving on a sunny day can also create a dangerous, and sometimes deadly situation if the driver’s view is compromised by the glaring sun.

A 7-year-old girl was killed and ten others injured when an East Texas school van was rear-ended by a pick-up truck. According to reports, the van was struck while it was stopped to pick up children. Authorities believe the truck driver may have been blinded by the sun while coming over a hill and upon the stopped van.

Glare is not only a problem when motorists are driving into the sun; many motorists will run a red light because of the sun glare. Irrelevant, glares should never come as a surprise; we all know the sun comes up and it goes down. So how can you protect yourself and others on the road when driving into the sun?

AAA offers these tips:

  • Keep your windshield clean, inside and out.
  • Wear quality sunglasses with polarized lenses and UV protection to help reduce the 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.
  • Turn headlights on so oncoming motorists can see you as they're driving toward the sun.
  • Drive slower, even below the posted speed. It's against the law to drive at speeds in excess of road conditions.
  • Use the same precautions and care as driving in other hazardous conditions, like fog or rain. If you can't see, don't drive.
  • If possible, change your driving route.”…

Drivers warned to stay safe from low sun glare | Gloucestershire Live

“Drivers are being warned to protect themselves from low dazzling winter sun. 

At this time of year, the glare from the sun can be a danger to drivers.

Being blinded, even if just for a couple of seconds, is still enough time for an accident to occur. Remember that even if the dazzling sun is behind you, then it could be affecting the people travelling towards you.

There are some precautions that you can take to protect yourself.

Here are some tips.”…

Read on… via @GlosLiveOnline

This past November a busy month for crashes involving sun glare

Another left turn and sun glare crash - so dangerous >

Two Children Injured In Omaha Crash | NewsRadio 1110 KFAB

“Two children were injured, one critically, in a two vehicle crash near 103rd and Blair High Road around 8:30 Monday morning.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Department says an eastbound SUV was heading toward I-680 and collided with a westbound van that was making a left turn onto 103rd Street.

Investigators say sun glare may have been a factor in the crash.”…

Sun glare may have led to collision >

Serious injuries reported in crash at 103rd and Blair High Road | KETV

“Two children suffered serious injuries in a crash Monday morning near 103rd Street and Blair High Road.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says sun glare may have led to the collision.

"The unfortunate thing with this road, especially at this time of the year, [is] you're driving right into the sun when you're driving eastbound," Capt. Eric Sellers said.

RT @KevinFrankish: Ever wonder why so many people on the road drive without lights at night?  You may be one of them and not even know it.

> Great post @KevinFrankish. People simply need to know their vehicle. Not all headlights/tail lights are automatic. Just check!

Sun glare could be cause of deadly Harnett County wreck, troopers say | via @WRAL 

“One person died Thursday morning in a two-vehicle Harnett County wreck, authorities said. 

The crash happened around 7:30 a.m. near 1653 Sheriff Johnson Road, Lillington. Troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said a driver of a black vehicle ran a stop sign and crashed into a silver vehicle at the intersection.”…

“Troopers said sun beaming into the black vehicle's windshield could have been the cause of the wreck.”

New School Route Safety Measures Planned by City of Hillsboro, Hillsboro School District | Oregon Live

“School route safety has been an ongoing priority for both the City of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro School District. The City and School District are working to enhance protection near two Hillsboro schools in response to recent vehicle collisions involving pedestrians and a bicyclist.

At the intersection of SE Johnson Street and SE 75th Avenue, near Ladd Acres Elementary School, students and parents will see several safety improvements. The crosswalk of the intersection is where a mother and her two children were struck by a vehicle in September in a collision the driver attributed to sun blindness:

  • No parking signs have been added to reinforce visibility at the crosswalk.
  • Stencils will be added to the roadway to alert approaching drivers that they are approaching a designated "SCHOOL" crossing.
  • City employees and School District staff will continue to evaluate safety needs to ensure signage is visible and no other action is necessary. While City staff do not believe that a rapid rectangular flashing beacon (RRFB) would have prevented the sun blindness issues cited by the driver in the September crash, City employees will continue to work with School District staff to assess safety needs here and throughout the city in determining a prioritized list for future RRFB installations.

Less than a mile away, at the intersection of SE Frances Street and SE 74th Avenue, near Brown Middle School, students and parents will also see several safety improvements. The intersection is the site of a similar collision in September in which the driver attributed the accident to fogged windows and sun glare:

  • The existing school zone will be moved further to the west and the existing flashing beacon will be moved in front of the crosswalk at Francis Street and 74th Avenue. This will reduce drivers' speed at this crosswalk to 20 miles per hour.
  • The Hillsboro School District will reposition a crossing guard from Cornelius Pass Road to 74th Avenue during the morning commute and evening release at Brown Middle School.
  • Stencils will be added to the roadway to alert approaching drivers that they are approaching a designated "SCHOOL" crossing.
  • City employees and School District staff will continue to evaluate safety needs to ensure signage is visible and no other action is necessary.

The City and School District will collaborate on educational materials for students and parents that describe safe walking, biking, and driving behaviors. One of the central messages of the materials will be the importance of being alert and aware, and not making assumptions about visibility and safety at crosswalks.”…

Driver charged, passing in sun glare >

One woman injured in Ohio 13 crash | Mansfield News Journal

“One woman was injured in a two-vehicle crash at Ohio 13 and Ohio 96 Thursday afternoon. 

Brian Maiyer, 47, of Mansfield was driving a gold 2005 Chevy Equinox south on Ohio 13, and a 54-year-old woman from Wellington was driving a green 2006 Hyundai Elantra north on Ohio 13.

Trooper Duane Hunsicker with the Ohio Highway Patrol said the woman's first name is Lisa, but declined to give her last name.

Hunsicker said Maiyer tried to pass a vehicle in front of him, going left of center, and could not see the woman's vehicle due to sun glare. The woman tried to swerve her vehicle out of the way, but the vehicles collided just after 3 p.m., according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.”…

RT @ONtransport: In 2013, 39% of drivers killed on Ontario’s roads had drugs in their system. #DriveSober

 image via @ONtransport

> RT @ReconGeniTPS: I suspect that these drug-related #collision #statistics will be on the rise soon: weed & drivers just don't mix! #Recon #driveSober #fatal4

@ReconGeniTPS Can't you charge impaired with or without a 'number'?

> RT @ReconGeniTPS: @SunPosition Yes, impaired driving charges may be laid based upon driving observations & driver behaviour. Need reasonable probable grounds to arrest 1st

> @ReconGeniTPS Good, that's what I thought. Tough to prove in court though? What's the success rate for convictions?

> RT @ReconGeniTPS: @SunPosition Don't have data on conviction rates but it's dependant upon officer explaining their grounds to arrest. Plus in-car video helps a lot too!

Legally Speaking: Blinded By The Light | via @velonews

“Roadies are used to hardship; it comes with the territory. We ride countless base miles, grueling workouts, before sunrise and after sunset and all hours in between — often in extreme weather conditions — to prepare for the race where we finally put all of our training on the line.

This makes us tough and fit, but it can often put us in harm’s way, sometimes without us even realizing the danger — one of the greatest hazards cyclists may face is the rising or setting sun. In fact, two cyclists I’ve raced with have been lost to the sun’s blinding glare.”…

“16.4 percent of all crashes caused by "atmospheric conditions" are the result of blindness due to sun glare”

Left turn + sun glare >

Police urge caution after Lowell pedestrian crashes | Lowell Sun

“In a week that has seen four separate incidents of people being struck by motor vehicles, officials and safety experts urged drivers and pedestrians to exercise caution on the roads.”…

“A 19-year-old driver was turning left from Arcand Drive to Father Morrissette Boulevard when, she told police, she was blinded by sun glare and struck a 70-year-old man who was walking. The driver had a green light at the time, police said, and the man suffered a minor head injury.

Glare can pose a challenge to drivers, especially during winter months when the sun is lower on the horizon and shines directly through the windshield into drivers' eyes, said AAA spokesman John Paul.”…

Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – December 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

RT @adamadonaldson: Staff says this design should reduce the shadow impact. Many delegates tonight will disagree.

image via tweet by @adamadonaldson

Shadow concerns >

Winthrop Square Project Meeting on December 5 | Beacon Hill Times

“The Boston Planning Development Agency (BPDA) will be holding a meeting regarding the controversial proposed building for 115 Winthrop Square in Downtown Boston  on Monday December 5, from 6:30  to 8:30 pm at the Suffolk Law School at 120 Tremont Street. The meeting will discuss the multi-use tower that might rise as high as 775 feet above Boston’s skyline. 

The proposed tower, which is slated to replace the current deteriorated Winthrop Square Garage, will cast a long shadow a third of a mile away onto historic parks including the Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, breaking the existing shadow laws.”…

“The current laws restrict any new shadows on the parks outside of certain permitted conditions. This will need to be modified in order to permit this or any other tall project to proceed on this site.

The Winthrop Square project will be reviewed under Article 80 of the Boston Zoning Code, along with a continuation of the community participation.

There was an Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meeting for this project held on Monday, November 28, where IAG members worked closely with the BPDA staff to identify the impacts of the project and recommended appropriate community benefits to offset those impacts.

The Friends of the Public Garden who have consistently advocated for protecting the public parks from excessive shadow and wind resulting from development projects that would harm these green spaces came out asking for a solution to prevent this from happening.

“As you know, in 1990, the Friends worked with elected officials and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (now the BPDA) to draft and enact legislation to protect the Boston Common and Public Garden from damaging new shadows,” wrote Liz Vizza the executive director of Friends of the Public Garden in a statement.

She continued, “This shadow protection has worked as intended – it has successfully protected our parks, while allowing robust development to continue in the city. Now, 25 years later, we are facing a new generation of buildings that challenge our parks.”

Vizza states that the Friends of the Public Garden believes that a comprehensive solution needs to be made to downtown development projects that threaten to cast shadows on the parks and do not conform to the current legislation.”…

Proud to have 7 Clients on this list >

The top 10 Toronto developments on @BuzzBuzzHome in November 2016

Here's what the shadow from the Winthrop Square tower could look like | via @BostonGlobe

“There’s been a lot said lately about the shadows that a massive skyscraper planned for Winthrop Square would cast on Boston Common and the Public Garden. 

Its developers are hoping that some pictures will be worth more than words.

Millennium Partners has released animations showing precisely where — and for how long — its proposed 750-foot tower would cast shade on the two historic parks, which are protected by state laws that ban shadows from new buildings in most of downtown Boston.”…

Shadow concerns >

Complaints about PS332 roil CB 11 meeting | TimesLedger

“A representative from the School Construction Authority vexed residents at Monday’s Community Board 11 meeting when he announced progress has been made on the construction of PS 332 in Bayside. The new school raised concerns over decreased property values and aggravating already congested traffic conditions.

About 50 people attended the meeting.

Construction on the controversial school, which will have 468 seats in a four-story building containing 20,000 square feet, began in the summer of 2015. The SCA has projected the school at 210-07 48th Ave. on the former Keil Bros. property will be completed by next September. It is supposed to relieve overcrowding at PS 31, 41, 159, 162 and 203, which are operating at more than 100 percent of capacity.

What started as spirited display of progress by SCA Director of External Affairs Michael Mirasola became an acrimonious meeting in the MS 158 auditorium at 46-35 Oceania St. when the residents began voicing grievances. One resident complained about the building cast houses in permanent shadow and rendered adjacent homes “unsellable” due to the proximity of the facility.

“There is no such thing as a perfect school,” Mirasola responded. “We have to make concessions and sometimes there is a shadow. Every building we build, there is a shadow. It’s regrettable, but it’s just a fact of life.””…

Shadows on Boston Common >

The trouble with Winthrop Square | via @BostonGlobe

“A POPULAR DEVELOPER wants to take a decrepit, shuttered garage off the city’s hands and build a 750-foot Xanadu of glass and steel in its place.”…

“Plenty, say parks advocates and preservationists, who fear a slippery slope if Boston Mayor Martin Walsh succeeds in getting around a 1990 law that protects Boston’s historic parks from shadows cast by tall buildings.

Few really believe the mayor’s assurances that the exemption he is seeking would apply only to the garage development at Winthrop Square. Other developers who have been stymied by the shadow law would surely demand equal treatment. “This would be the beginning of shadow creep,” said Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of Friends of the Public Garden. Soon Boston could become like New York City, where super-tall towers are being constructed along Central Park South, throwing long, thin shadows, almost like prison bars, across the city’s lungs.

In a presentation last month, Millennium Partners, the site’s developer, admitted that shadows cast by the building would violate the law on more than half the days of the year on the Boston Common, and for about 100 days on the Public Garden. The much-loved, much-used lawn on Boston Common has a hard enough time without the added insult of shade, a horticultural condition that can’t easily be fixed with more water or fertilizer. And these are not just any parks — they are close to sacred ground in Boston, two of the city’s diminishing number of noncommercial civic spaces that are free and open to all.”…

“Rather than mitigate the impact of the shadows with expensive side benefits, why not just mitigate the shadows? Millennium Partners could deploy its army of architects and planners to find a new design or a new way to develop Winthrop Square. A tower of roughly 400 feet would be in compliance with the law. That wouldn’t be nearly as lucrative or yield the city the same amount of quick cash, but it would let the sun shine in.”

Winthrop Square Project Draws Large Crowd Over Shadows | Beacon Hill Times

“A packed courtroom at the Suffolk Law School laid the stage for the first public meeting held for the proposed tower at 115 Winthrop Square by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) on Monday, December 5.

Members of the community voiced their concerns over amending the current Shadow Laws to allow a 775-foot high mix-use tower to be built, casting additional shadows onto the historic parks The Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

On the Boston Common and the Public Garden current Shadow Law requires that no new shadow should be cast one hour after either sunrise or one hour before sunset. In order for the current laws to change the developers, Millennium Partners, will need legislative approval from both the city and state to proceed.

In order for this building to be within the current Shadow Laws the proposed tower would have to be cut in half to be from 350 feet to 440 feet tall.”…

RT @Barrie411: The developer of a huge downtown Barrie condo is branching out, into the east end | Barrie Examiner

“The developer of a huge downtown Barrie condo is branching out, into the east end.

Advance Tech Developments announced plans Friday for a $50-million, 238-unit residential condominium at 290 Georgian Dr.

“That is the highest elevation in Barrie and we've actually scoped out that area in terms of what the views look like,” said Joe Santos of Advance Tech. “So it has a tremendous view of Oro (Medonte Township) and Little Lake, but also you can see the outline of Lake Simcoe all the way down to Keswick.”

Santos said the zoning is already in place for the property, and that Advance Tech is talking to city planning staff about a site plan.

To be near Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), it's to be high-end condo living called 'The Vic'.

Santos said the property's zoning allows 15 storeys, and this project's height will be in that range.”…

Shadow cast by proposed Providence skyscrapers among concerns | Providence Journal

“The chairman of the 195 commission said Friday that a New York developer's proposal to build three high-rise towers raises "some significant urban planning issues due to its scale and design." 

However, I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Chairman Joseph F. Azrack said the proposal from Jason Fane and The Fane Organization is "clearly a significant and serious development proposal that we have to review."

Consultants hired to study the project are expected to report back within a couple of weeks, and the commission will likely meet and review their findings early in the new year.

Azrack is concerned whether:

- The shadow cast by the towers would lessen the appeal of a park to the east.

- The 60-to-70-foot base for the towers could block a walkway between the waterfront to downtown.

- Pedestrians to the west of the towers could see the park and pedestrians on the new bridge across the Providence River could see downtown.”…

Very cool >

Mapping the Shadows of New York City: Every Building, Every Block | New York Times

…”Sunlight and shadow shape the character and rhythm of New York’s public spaces. They have the power to control the flow of foot traffic on our city streets and decide which plazas hum with activity and commerce and which stay barren and desolate. And probably most noticeably, they have the power to change the rent. In most parts of America, sunlight is not debated the way it is in New York, where the city’s thirst for living space, working space and economic growth has turned the sun into a virtual commodity.”…

As Nearby Valencia Development Looms, Zeitgeist Files Review To Protect Beer Garden From Shadow | via @SFist

“Zeitgeist, among San Francisco's best known bars and choice few beer gardens, celebrates its 40th anniversary next month, having recently attained Legacy Business status in its wizened, grizzly old age. But just as that event nears, a literal shadow on the horizon could threaten the establishment's crown jewel, that seasonally sun-drenched patio area, and therefore its livelihood as a business, or so general manager Gideon Bush informs SFist.

A development at 198 Valencia Street at the Northwest corner of Valencia and Duboce — currently an oil changing business and its parking lot directly across from Zeitgeist's 199 Valencia address — is nearing approval, and while Bush explains that the project has been in the pipeline for some years, since 2013 according to Socketsite, the bar has recently discovered the effect of shadow that would be cast by the current designs for a five-story condo building with commercial ground floor space.

The realization occurred following shadow analysis performed in accordance with 1984 San Francisco Proposition K, the so-called "Sunlight Ordinance" which restricts buildings that cast shadows on public spaces such as parks. Just north of Zeitgeist and its neighboring business Black Heart Tattoo is a small sliver public space, SoMa West Dog Park, tucked beside the 101. "Through that [review] we realized the shadow cast by this building will a have a significant impact during what we call our busy season, the months of March through about late November, when we get that late summer that sun Francisco is so well known for," Bush told SFist.

Zeitgeist has filed a discretionary review to voice its concerns, as have other nearby businesses with different ones. As Bush Clarifies, "While the building won't completely take away our sunshine, it will have an impact from 4:30 p.m. to about sunset, when people are getting off work and might want to enjoy the last few hours of daylight. That would cease to exist at Zeitgeist if this development goes through as planned."”…

Zeitgeist, Concerned Over Shadow, Opposing Mission District Housing Project | Mission Local

“A chilly afternoon in the middle of December didn’t stop regulars from venturing out onto the patio of one of the Mission’s most popular bars, Zeitgeist. But the manager there, Gideon Bush, fears that the shadow cast by a five-story building expected to go up across the street just might. 

Bush said the building, a five-story, 28-unit mixed-use building with a ground floor commercial space, will cast a shadow on the beer bar’s popular outdoor space during its peak use times — March through October, he said, the shade would cost the bar business.”…

A life in the shadows: Take a look at some of Manhattan's darkest and brightest streets | The Architect's Newspaper

“A comprehensive shadow study of Manhattan has been done by the New York Times. The analysis plots average shadows over the course of the year from every building in Manhattan shedding light (or rather shade) on New York’s gloomiest and brightest streets. 

By hovering over areas of the map, one can find out how much a certain street spends its time in the shadows. This data is presented as a percentage of daylight hours and is split in three to account for different times of year: Summer, Winter, and Spring/Fall. The amount of time a particular area is shadowed is written as a unit of time. For example, the intersection of Broadway and Murray Street spends on average: Four hours and 35 minutes in shadow during the Summer (38 percent); two hours and 34 minutes in shadow during Fall/Spring (29 percent) and two hours and 47 minutes in shadow during the Winter (46 percent).”…

N.W. rec centre blinding motorists | Calgary Sun

“What's been described as an inspiring piece of architecture in the city's far northwest is proving too brilliant for some passing motorists. 

Northwest Coun. Ward Sutherland said he's received complaints about the intense glare thrown by the gold-coloured metallic panels on the exterior of the Rocky Ridge Recreation Facility being built at Country Hills Blvd. and Rocky Ridge Rd. N.W.

Motorists are most affected by the briefly-blinding reflections off the $205-million building whose fluid, rounded curves mimic the surrounding hills, said Sutherland.

"Depending on the time of day and the angle of the sun, when they look at it, it makes it a bit difficult for them," he said.

"When I've driven by it, it kind of hurt my eyes."

That same problem was also glimpsed by Tessa Sakamoto, president of the Rocky Ridge Royal Oak Community Association.

"It was something I noticed driving past at sunset, the glare of it was quite bright on the eyes," she said.

Sutherland said during a tour of the construction site, he learned officials with builder PCL were aware of the potential reflection problems but assured him it wouldn't be permanent.

The type of metal used in the panels, he said, will lose their glossiness in about five months' time, he said.”…

Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – December 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.

A few of the samples include:

4-mile shadow flicker >

Protest against turbine plans in Gaoth Dobhair | Donegal Democrat

“Local residents are to stage a protest at Údarás na Gaeltachta’s Derrybeg offices tomorrow over a planning application for a wind turbine at the Gaoth Dobhair Business Park.

About 70 people attended a public meeting last night on the issue, where a proposal for the protest came from the floor.”…

““Those people around the 500-metre perimeter [from the turbine] will be affected by the noise, they will be very badly affected by the noise,” Mr. Ó Maonaigh said. “Those people living to the west and the north west to a distance of four miles will be affected by the flicker effect, especially at this time of year.” The flicker effect occurs when the blades of a turbine cast a shadow over a window and the rotation of the blades causes the shadow to flicker.”…

Wow, courtroom has jury box on each side, in event AM or PM sun glare too strong >

Cardell Hayes-Will Smith trial | The Times-Picayune

…”Courtroom observers on the first day of testimony before Criminal District Judge Camille Buras included current and former Saints players Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister, Steve Gleason, Roman Harper and Jahri Evans. Sitting on the front row behind the defense table was New Orleans bounce music artist Big Freedia, a cousin of Hayes. District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro also made an appearance, huddling with prosecutors before the first state's witness was called.

Criminal District Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson watched the attorneys' opening statements from a seat in the unoccupied jury box on the left side of the courtroom. Buras' large courtroom is one of the few in the building that has a jury box on each side of the room, allowing for the jury to be moved if morning or afternoon sun glare is too strong.”…

RT @weatherchannel: The #winter #solstice has just occurred (5:44 a.m. ET). The science behind this "moment in time".

> Welcome winter solstice. The days are getting longer again.

Time-lapse video of winter solstice in Fairbanks Alaska in 2012. (Credit: Taro Nakai) -

> Had the pleasure of being in Fairbanks Alaska in 2009, but in late spring. Quite the opposite effect with very few hours of darkness.

Cheers, Ralph