Friday, February 10, 2017

Torontohenge 2017

Torontohenge is the name given for the phenomenon that occurs when the sun rises or sets in line with Toronto's major east-west streets downtown, giving photographers a great opportunity to capture the sun as it perches on the horizon between the canyon walls of buildings on either side of the street. 

Although Torontohenge technically falls on the dates given below for 2017, great photos can be taken for about a week before the August and October dates and a week after the February and April dates as the sun hovers directly above the street.  Not great for driving, but quite a sight just the same.
The Torontohenge dates for 2017 are:

Sunrise Sunset
Feb 15           5:48 PM
Apr 19      6:28 AM
Aug 23      6:31 AM
Oct 25           6:18 PM
Cheers, Ralph

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sun Glare While Driving – January 2017

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

Wet roads can make sun glare even worse, and visors do little to help.  @UnionLeader

Seniors more sensitive to headlights and sun glare, eyes need more time to recover |  via @ithacajournal

“Helping seniors understand and recognize how age-related changes in mobility, touch/grip, vision, hearing and cognition can affect driving is key for the driving fitness assessment provided by Occupational Therapy at Cayuga Wellness Center’s Brentwood clinic.”…

“Most of the sensory information needed for driving comes from vision.  Do have your eyes examined annually. Changes in vision that can affect driving safely include but are not limited to:

Peripheral vision narrows with age making it harder to see signs, vehicles and pedestrians on the edge of our visual field.

Low-light conditions hamper vision at night, at dusk and dawn and during inclement weather.
Increased sensitivity to bright light from oncoming headlights makes seeing difficult at night or during the daytime from sun glare and slower recovery time from glare.”…

Trial set for city worker charged in fatal collision | Lethbridge News Now

“A city worker charged in connection with a deadly crash on Whoop-Up Drive in 2015 is heading to trial. 

Following a plea of not guilty to dangerous driving causing death in December, a lawyer appearing for 32-year old Scott Edward Erickson had the matter set for trial Friday (Jan. 13). The five-day trial will run September 6-12, 2017.

On November 13, 2015, a 72-year-old man died when his Pontiac Montana collided with the rear of a front-end loader that was being used to clear snow in the westbound lanes of Whoop-Up Drive near the University Drive exit.

Following an investigation, Lethbridge Police said sun glare, the driving pattern of the loader and a lack of safety equipment were contributing factors in the collision. They cited warning signs and a pilot vehicle as the type of equipment not being used at the time.”…

Another left turn + sun glare crash >

Blinding sun blamed after woman and baby hit by truck in Langford | Goldstream News Gazette

“A woman carrying her five-month-old baby was struck in a crosswalk in Langford on Thursday. 

West Shore RCMP Const. Alex Berube said the two were crossing at the lights at Veterans Memorial Parkway and Hoffman Avenue at about 3:30 p.m. when they were hit by a white utility truck making a left-hand turn off of Hoffman southbound onto Veterans.

The driver, who said he was blinded by the sun, was issued a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian.”…

RT @FresnoBee: NTSB report: Sun glare in pilot's eyes contributed to fatal crash of law enforcement plane

“The crash of a law enforcement plane that killed both the pilot and a deputy sheriff in Tulare County last year was partly caused by sun glare in the pilot’s eyes, according to the final accident report by the National Transportation Safety Board.”… 

…“What we did learn that was new to us was the glare of the sun,” Boudreaux said. “We had no idea about that.”…

“The accident happened at about 4:17 p.m. when the sun was not far above the horizon.

The Flight Design light sport aircraft was on a low-altitude observation flight, the report said.”…

“Another pilot who flew in the vicinity right after the accident said that due to sun and haze, “he could not distinguish the tops of the hills to the left of the highway from the sky,” the report states.

“It is likely that the accident pilot was partially blinded by sun glare and did not see the hills arising above him on his left,” the report states.”…

Driver's view blocked by sun glare >

Crossing guard at A&M Consolidated hit by truck | via @theeagle

“A 58-year-old crossing guard at A&M Consolidated High School remained hospitalized late Monday after the driver of a large truck hit him, saying his view was blocked by the glaring early-morning sun.

No citations had been issued by late Monday, according to police, who said an investigation was ongoing into the 8 a.m. accident at the crosswalk on Nueces Street between Grace Bible Church and the school.”…

“The driver of the Ford F-150, whose two juvenile passengers are students at the high school, told police he was driving southbound on Nueces Street when the glare from the sun prevented him from noticing the man.

U.S. Department of Transportation officials said sun glare -- at its worst just after sunrise and before sunset -- can make it much harder to see the roadway and potential hazards, which is why police caution motorists to slow down and use extra care when driving through school zones.

Lt. Steve Brock, spokesman for the police department, said the intersection where the wreck unfolded has a well-marked crosswalk. He said he encourages drivers to know their daily routes.

"If you are going be driving on a clear day facing a sunrise or a sunset, you need to think about that and be wearing sunglasses, use your sun visor and do what you can to be as safe as possible," Brock said. "But that's just nature, and you are going to have to take that into account and do the best you can."…

Blinded by sun glare >

Dad's lucky escape after 100ft air crash in Wishaw | Daily Record

“A thrill-seeking paraglider told this week how his life flashed before his eyes as he plummeted out of the sky and hit a tree at 100ft before crash landing in a Wishaw park. 

The 53-year-old man, who only wanted to be named as Richard, is lucky to be alive after crashing his paramotor in Greenhead Moss Community Nature Park.

The father-of-two suffering difficulties at around 3.30pm on Saturday when sunglare caused him to crash to the ground from 100ft.

He sustained a broken pelvis, a fracture to his right arm and dozens of cuts and bruises to his face and body.

The experienced pilot of four years told the Wishaw Press from his hospital bed that the low sun glare temporarily blinded him causing him not to see three high tension power lines until the very last minute.

He added: “I was on a social flight with a friend and we were getting ready to land.

“The wind was coming from the north, which is very unusual for that area, so I decided to turn around and land from the other side.

“The sun glare was very strong and I couldn’t see anything for a few seconds.

“Before I knew it I was seconds away from hitting the powerlines.

“I had to make a decision whether or not to hit the lines or make a crash landing so I decided on the latter.”…

Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – January 2017

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 @FortPointer: Meeting re. shadow impact of Winthrop Square proposal on Boston Common and Public Garden is coming up on Jan 5...

RT @FortPointer:  Thanks for the RT, @SunPosition. Come on down to Boston and help lend insight re. USA's first public park! @FOPG

> My pleasure @FortPointer. Good luck at the meeting. @FOPG

Shadow impacts a concern >

Public comment period nears end for massive One Oak development | The San Francisco Examiner

“A large mixed-use development planned for the corner of Market and Oak Streets is nearing the end of its public comment period. One Oak, a 40-story luxury residence building, is on the Planning Commission’s agenda for Thursday where a public hearing on the massive development’s 475-page Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be held.”…

“Designs for the tall building were in the works for several years, while first Richard Meier & Partners and then SCB and Snøhetta architects tried to figure out how to create something that was luxurious in nature, but could also withstand the strong winds that blow through the Market, South Van Ness and Oak Street intersection. The final design has curves and “cuts” across the building to mitigate the gusts.

According to the EIR the final design, shown above, will contain wind canopy structures to offset winds at a pedestrian level, which will naturally increase in speed once the tower has been built.

The project has not come without opposition: the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA) penned a letter to Planning last year, opposing what they called “excessive off street parking at this transit-rich and walkable location.”

The design was criticized, with HVNA preferring the original design by Richard Meier, calling it “a remarkable and elegant landmark tower.” The new design was parodied by local illustrator Susie Cagle after being released.

Shadow impact for the large tower is also a concern, with evidence in the EIR that the project would cast shade as far as Patricia’s Green.”…

Shadows and our Parks: Make your voices heard | via @wordpressdotcom

“The last few weeks have seen a significant increase in publicity around the proposed Winthrop Square development and its potential impact on Boston Common and the Public Garden, with four articles in The Boston Globe alone. The more light shed on this potential dimming of our parks, the more people will understand the importance of this issue.”…

“As you know, Millennium Partners’ proposed 750-foot tall building would violate the shadow protection laws during most of the year – some days casting a mile-long finger of darkness from the financial district down the middle of Boston Common, across the heart of the Public Garden and into the first block of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. To “solve” this problem, the city of Boston has signaled it will file legislation giving Millennium an exemption from the state laws.”…

Tower project might cast shadow on Boston development | via @BostonGlobe

“Let me get this straight. Millennium Partners proposes a billion-dollar redevelopment of the shuttered Winthrop Square garage and then forgets to check whether the project might violate the state’s shadow laws? 

That’s the policy that prevents new skyscrapers from casting long shadows for prolonged periods on the Boston Common and Public Garden.”…

“Larkin said the firm’s analysis found that any project taller than 365 feet would violate the shadow ordinance. All six proposals for Winthrop Square exceeded that height.

Millennium’s proposal, according to the developer’s analysis, would be out of compliance on average about 36 minutes a day over the course of a year on the Common and on average about five minutes a day over the course of a year on the Garden.

That doesn’t sound like a big deal until you talk to park advocates. The state shadow laws were passed to protect the horticulture in public parks.

“You can correct for water with irrigation. You can correct for nutrients with fertilizer,” said Liz Vizza, executive director of the Friends of the Public Garden. “You cannot correct when you lose light.”

But to Vizza, the laws are not just about the tulips, but the ability of thousands of people to enjoy the civic right of sunshine.”…

“The shadow laws, written in the early 1990s, have served the city well and remained intact through several building booms. The irony about asking for an exception to the rule is that the Winthrop project might get it, but at the cost of other development.

How so? By reopening the laws, I can see an effort to make the shadow laws more restrictive, such as covering a broader swath of Boston.

That’s something State Representative Byron Rushing, who coauthored the original bill, has been itching to do.

“We should take a look at the larger issue” of downtown open space, Rushing said. “If we do that, it might be easier to incorporate this tower’s silhouette.”

In the end, Walsh might get his way to have Millennium build sky-high on Winthrop Square. But the price might come at the cost of future development in Boston.”…

Stepping to reduce shadows >

8 Burnley Street 'A Place to Live' / SJB | ArchDaily

…”Occupying a site of approximately 810m2 the sculptural form of the 63 apartment, mix use building demonstrates a tailored response to key drivers inherent to the location: the busy intersection; and Williams Reserve. Pragmatic concerns, raised in shadow analysis, have been mitigated by a stepped layering of floors that ensures minimal shadow impact on the reserve. Additionally this has the benefit of increased sight lines, with no awareness of the upper floors from within 22 metres. And, while this solution is invisible by definition, what it achieves for the overall form is imparted as a sense of lightness a solid block cannot deliver. This is driven home by the extraordinary design that visually floats the whole building above a fully transparent ground floor.”…

The Fort Pointer ‏@FortPointer:  Winthrop Square meeting seems to be more of a decentralized presentation of the project than a public discussion of impacts. @BostonPlans

Timothy P Kirwan ‏@tkirwan:  @FortPointer @BostonPlans I think this is good.  Both formats have been used so those preferring either have their choice.

The Fort Pointer ‏@FortPointer:  @tkirwan Winthrop Square process had failed to consider shadow impact. A convo was expected, not a format favoring proponents. @BostonPlans

Timothy P Kirwan ‏@tkirwan:  @FortPointer I get it. As you know I'm on the Accordia team which had a hotel. Our team fully factored this issue in our design.

> Tim, good to hear your team took shadowing into account. Proper planning and design always does. @tkirwan @FortPointer

Proposed Stoney Creek highrise billed as solution to rental housing shortage | Hamilton News

“A new highrise development planned for the Queenston Road and Centennial Parkway area could be a model for fixing Hamilton’s rental housing crisis, according to developer Conrad Zurini.”…

“The proposed 19-storey apartment building would be one of Stoney Creek’s tallest structures. A zoning bylaw amendment is also required to change setback and landscaping requirements.”…

“Residents of Blanmora Drive, south of the proposed development, expressed concerns over traffic, noise and property values at the Jan. 5 open house.”…

“A sun shadow study was conducted which shows most of the shadows will fall north of the site.”…

Doug Roberts ‏@drobertsreorg:  @DaleCalkins @MajeauTyler @dnproulx Concerned that 21m high towards front & 56m high towards back will have big shadow impact on Whyte Ave ped realm & businesses on N side 1/2

Dale Calkins ‏@DaleCalkins:  @drobertsreorg @MajeauTyler @dnproulx Easy to set height limits so as not to shade Whyte's north sidewalk. Need shadow study to say more.

> @DaleCalkins Exactly, that's where ratio of maximum building height to r-o-w width comes into play. @drobertsreorg @MajeauTyler @dnproulx

RT @DaleCalkins: @SunPosition @drobertsreorg @MajeauTyler @dnproulx And other factors, yes. Whyte is very wide, if I recall correctly.

Planning committee approves Grimsby's tallest building | via @niagarathisweek

…”The town of Grimsby’s west end is no doubt growing and now it seems there’s no slowing down.

Just weeks after Grimsby council overturned the planning and development committee’s decision against the 12-storey LJM condos, the planning committee has approved the tallest building this town has seen yet.

Pending council approval, at the corner of Winston Road and Windward Drive there will be two towers. One will be a 14-storey condominium and the second 18 storeys, sitting on the former Planet Nightclub property.”…

“The blueprints are not the same as the initial plans. Last year, Rosebay Construction Inc. submitted its first proposal as two 16-storey towers connected by glass walkways.

The planning department had concerns about the shadows that the proposal would cast and suggested two leaner, taller towers, which would have a less significant shadow impact.

“The shadow at any particular area is there for a shorter duration,” said Kloibhofer. “That’s one of the benefits of going slimmer and taller.”…

Zeitgeist Possibly Winning Fight Over Neighboring Development's Potential Shadow | via @SFist

RT @chumpBOAT: Love than SanFran protects local private gathering spots NYC protects light sensitive buildings and parks Step up TO is way too bleak now

“A planned five-story condo development at 198 Valencia Street has been delayed after the Planning Commission found reason to sympathize with popular beer garden Zeitgeist, which sits across the street and which could be very negatively impacted by the shadow cast by the new building. Hoodline reports that commissioners reviewed shadow analyses commissioned by the developer and by Zeitgeist and has sent the developer back to the drawing board to analyze how the shadow impact of the building could be lessened if the building were shorter, even as little as five feet shorter.”…

Sounds like a bitter battle brewing in Boston >

Downtown View: Shadows vs. Money | North End Waterfront

“Millennium Partners beat out several other developers in a plan to demolish the city’s decrepit parking garage at Winthrop Square and build a 700-feet-plus skyscraper, paying the city millions of dollars to be spread around for park improvements, affordable housing and the like, all of which Boston needs. It’s a good project with a good outcome for Bostonians. 

There is one problem, however. The project’s shadow would at times fall on the Boston Common and Public Garden, even though they are several blocks away. This means the building would violate the 27-year-old state law protecting the parks from shadows that can reduce plant health and people’s enjoyment. This law, as its advocates point out, has helped the parks and has not deterred development in Boston’s downtown. It should not be tampered with lightly.”…

City seeks exemption to allow shadow cast by Winthrop Square tower | via @BostonGlobe

“The skyscraper that Millennium Partners has proposed for Winthrop Square could be the last new building to cast a shadow on Boston Common, under a plan being floated by city officials to win support for the 775-foot tower.

The Walsh administration is willing to write tougher rules restricting the size of shadows that new buildings can cast on Boston Common, as long as there’s an exemption for Winthrop Square, said Brian Golden, director of the Boston Planning & Development Agency. That could effectively cap the height of future buildings in parts of Downtown Crossing.”…

“A 1990 state law governing shadows on the Common created a “shadow bank,’’ limiting the shade cast in the historic park by future buildings to about an acre. The Ritz-Carlton on Avery Street, also built by Millennium, used about three-fourths of the available shadow bank when it was built in 2001. About a quarter acre remains available.”…

Marty Walsh aims to get garage project out from shadows | Boston Herald

“The Walsh administration is committing to a planning study to guide future downtown development as part of efforts to win support for a state shadow law exemption for Millennium Partners’ proposed $1 billion redevelopment of the old Winthrop Square garage.

The study would look at “big-picture” planning and updates to antiquated zoning rules, according to Jonathan Greeley, director of development review for the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh plans to file a home-rule petition which, if approved, would exempt Millennium’s up to 775-foot mixed-use tower from state laws governing new buildings’ shadow impacts on Boston Common and the Public Garden.

It would also eliminate the remaining quarter-acre in a “shadow bank” that developers can tap for new Midtown Cultural District buildings that would cast shadows after 10 a.m.

The shadow law has been effective in guiding development, but Millennium’s project — which falls outside Midtown and has more stringent shadow limitations — “offers a unique opportunity for public benefits and capturing the value of the development site,” Greeley said.”…

Downtown Boston tower would fund needed local projects, darken Boston Common | The Bay State Banner

“A soaring tower in downtown Boston would drape a shadow across the Boston Common in exchange for pouring millions of dollars of desperately needed investments into affordable housing and public parks, Boston Planning and Development Agency officials say.

A potential $153 million windfall for the city hinges on whether Millennium Partners can pull off its proposed tower project at the former site of the Winthrop Square garage, a city-owned parcel. The city would direct the money into renovations at Franklin Park and the Boston Common, completion of the Emerald Necklace and advancement of redevelopment projects at Orient Heights and Old Colony public housing.

One problem: Building the tower as planned is not actually legal, unless exemptions are made — requiring action by the state legislature and Boston City Council — or the developers agree to reduce the tower’s height.”…

“The final vision for the 60-story tower is so tall it violates laws governing how much shadow can be cast across the Boston Common and Public Garden.

Zakim said studies show the anticipated shadow could extend as far as the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The longest period of shadow would last for one hour and 30 minutes, states a November 2016 report from Millennium Partners.

Local opposition has come from sources such Zakim, residents groups and the Massachusetts Port Authority.

In a Jan. 19 letter to BPDA Senior Project Manager Casey Hines, Zakim said the building would block enough sunlight to leave lasting damage on the Common and Garden.

“These new shadows would negatively impact our precious parks and greenspace for generations,” Zakim wrote. “There is no viable substitute for the natural sunlight that this building would block.”

In a Jan. 15 letter, North End/Waterfront Residents Association members objected that adding darkness to the parks devalues them as attractions. Granting a one-time exemption from the shadow law is a bad precedent that could lead to accusations that one company is being unfairly favored above others, NEWRA added.”…

Officials Outline Legislation to Allow New Shadow from Winthrop Square Tower | Beacon Hill Times

“If passed, the proposed 750 foot building slated for the Winthrop Square Garage could be the last to cast additional shadows on the Boston Common and Public Garden downtown.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) proposed a plan to push legislation that would allow the building to use up the rest of the shadow bank, which is currently reserved for buildings only in the Midtown Cultural District. The Winthrop Square site sits two blocks away from the designated zone.

The current Shadow Laws created the shadow bank for new buildings in the Midtown Cultural District of one acre from which the City can allow developers to withdraw for shadows cast for longer than the two-hour exemption.

Just over a quarter of an acre is all that remains in the Shadow Bank today, according to the Friends of the Public Garden.”…

…“Shadow is important – it absolutely is,” said Golden. “It has real spiritual affects on the Common. We talked to stakeholders surrounding the new shadow and we believe the cost-benefit ratio is worth it. A whole lot of people benefit from it.”

Sara Myerson the director of planning at the BPDA said that is important to continue to be stewards of the open spaces in Boston and that they have evaluated the arrangement.

“It feels like the right trade-off,” said Myerson.”…

Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – January 2017

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:

RT @PR_NHL: Due to sunlight on the ice surface and in the interest of Player safety, the start time of Centennial Classic will be delayed

RT Jim Russ ‏@JimRuss1:  NHL has delayed start of of Red Wings-Maple Leafs outdoor game 30 minutes due to sunlight issues. Faceoff now at 3:30 p.m.

> @JimRuss1 Are they predicting cloud at 330, or improved sun angles and less glare? If the latter, they could have done this months ago.

RT @theScore: The NHL is delaying the Centennial Classic puck drop due to too much sunlight. TOO MUCH SUNLIGHT???????

> @theScore The sun glare issue at the Centennial Classic could/should have been predicted months ago. @NHL @NHLPA

Shadow lengths at BMO Field will increase by 33% between 3:00 and 3:30 pm today Jan 1 during during Centennial Classic. From just under 4x object height to 5.3x…

…but sun direction changes by only 6 degrees.

In some places, the sun rises earlier beginning tomorrow Jan 3. The latest sunrise was today in Toronto (7:51) and Ottawa (7:43).

Solar panels affected >

Shadow boxing: fighting for the right to sunlight | via @theage

“"We were quite happy to see it go," says Ms Port, an arts worker, who was philosophical when a proposal arrived for a six-storey apartment block on the car park site. 

It was when another proposed development, this one for 16 levels to the north-east of her house, threatened to completely obliterate any access to solar power, she wondered whether there were any rules to protect her.

There weren't.”…

Cheers, Ralph