Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Solar event visible across Canada on July 1st - Canada 150

Join fellow Canadians from sea to sea to sea on July 1, 2017, by watching the sun cross the meridian through Province House, the birthplace of Canada.

ProvinceHousephoto source: Parks Canada

Province House National Historic Site

"The story of Canada as a confederation began in this historic Charlottetown building. In September 1864, Province House was the scene of the first conference on colonial union. Delegates from the colonies of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Canada met in the legislative council chamber to begin discussions, which led to confederation in 1867." (Source: Parks Canada)

Province House, a National Historic Site operated by Parks Canada, is the official birthplace of Canada.  Province House is a Charlottetown landmark.

On July 1, 2017, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday.  At 1:16 PM Atlantic Daylight Time, the sun passes directly over Province House - more specifically, the sun crosses the meridian that runs through it.  Solar Noon.  High Noon.  A spotlight shining over Canada's birthplace that can be seen by Canadians from sea to sea to sea.

Join other Canadians celebrating Canada 150 by observing the sun for a moment as it lines up with Province House.  Let this moment unite us all.

Below are the local times in each of Canada's time zones at which to observe the sun as it
crosses the meridian that runs through Province House on July 1st, 2017. 

Take a moment, have a peek, and know that the sun is marking the spot of Canada's birth.

Local Viewing Times for Solar Noon over Province House

Newfoundland Daylight Time (NDT) 1:46 PM
Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT) 1:16 PM
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) 12:16 PM
Central Daylight Time (CDT) 11:16 AM
Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) 10:16 AM
Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) 9:16 AM

CanadaSummerTimesZonesmap source: National Research Council Canada

Happy Canada 150 Day!

Cheers, Ralph

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sun Glare While Driving – May 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

Off-duty deputy killed in crash involving bus carrying Tesla employees on East Bay Freeway, CHP says | LA Times

“An off-duty Alameda County sheriff’s deputy was killed Friday morning in a crash involving a Tesla employee bus on an East Bay freeway, authorities said.

The Sheriff’s Office confirmed the crash “took the life of our deputy.” He was identified as Sroeuy Khin.

Khin had just gotten off work and was headed home on the eastbound Interstate 580 near Tracy in Alameda County, said Officer Derek Reed, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

Khin, who was driving a Volkswagen Beetle, was stopped for an unknown reason in a freeway lane near Grant Line Road when the employee tour bus rear-ended the vehicle, he said.

The driver of the tour bus told officers that the sun glare was blinding and he did not see the Volkswagen, Reed said.”…


Blinding Sun Possibly Led To Crash That Killed Alameda County Deputy | via @mariaCBS5


Crashes block roads in Plymouth as sun dazzles drivers | Plymouth Herald

Low sun glare has caused at least one accident in Plymouth

“There have been two crashes in Plymouth already this morning, with police saying at least one has been caused by the glare from the low morning sun.

A collision at 6.45am has had left Old Laira Road partially blocked, close to Riga Terrace.

Police have said this accident was caused by low sun glare and a car has hit a traffic island.”…


Sun glare believed to be factor >

Serious accident involving motorcycle on 490 West Tuesday evening | Rochester First

Serious accident involving motorcycle on I490 West

“A serious accident on I490 West at the Goodman Street exit ramp sent a motorcyclist to the hospital with serious injuries Tuesday evening.

State Police say Charles Campbell, 56, of Pittsford, failed to stop for traffic ahead of him. Police say he drove his 2015 Harley Davidson into the Nissan Altima ahead of him. Police say the Altima was slowing on the exit ramp when Campbell rear-ended the vehicle.

Campbell was ejected from his motorcycle, which caused him to strike an SUV that was stopped ahead of the Altima. He was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital with serious injuries.

The operators of the other vehicles were not injured, and no charges will be filed against any of the involved operators.

Police say they believe sun glare may have been a contributing factor in the accident.”


Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – May 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

How To Center Urban Design Around the Sun | CityLab

“Our lives may revolve around the sun—quite literally—but the same can’t be said for urban design.

Cities have always reflected societal values; they are a physical reminder of our shared history—from the privileged space offered to churches in medieval towns to the democratic ideals embodied in Philadelphia’s grid. However, in an increasingly data-driven world, urban designers can now augment traditional approaches with analytical research. This approach is well-established in other fields, and we have seen complex analytics used to understand the impact of environmental factors on retail design, building performance, and health care. Urban designers have only recently started to use these tools, and we can learn a great deal by applying them to the design of sunlight in our public spaces.

Laws to protect access to sunlight date back to Vitruvius, and contemporary versions exist in cities from New York City to London to San Francisco. Ensuring access to sunlight in key public places protects an integral part of what makes these landmark parks and plazas so popular. But as cities grow increasingly dense, access to sunlight becomes a precious commodity.

Many municipalities require that architects prepare shadow impact studies that quantify the impacts of a proposed development on the immediate surroundings. This approach places the emphasis on shadows, rather than on the displaced sunlight. An approach focused on shadows seems counter-intuitive if our goal is to create public spaces that enjoy generous amounts of sunlight. A much better approach would prioritize sunlight and require a process that quantifies and defines the light. By making sunlight the literal “object” of our discussions, designers can then focus on the specific qualities of sunlight, its impact on human behavior, well-being and performance in the urban environment.”…

“Our streets and public spaces public spaces lie at the heart of our daily lives and deserve the same attention given to our homes, work places, schools and hospitals. Sunlight is a key element in shaping the design of public spaces.”…


Toronto C of A appeals no longer go to OMB, but to Local Appeal Body | City of Toronto

“What does this mean?

Starting May 3, 2017, most appeals from the Toronto Committee of Adjustment will go to the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) instead of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).   See below for details.

What happens to Committee of Adjustment Appeals starting May 3, 2017?

All appeals are still to be filed with the Manager & Deputy-Secretary Treasurer, Committee of Adjustment and must be filed within the appeal period on the Notice of Decision.

Appeals filed before May 3, 2017 will stay with the OMB.

Appeals filed on or after May 3, 2017 will go to the TLAB unless:

  • the decision was already appealed before May 3, 2017; or
  • there is a related appeal to the OMB for the same matter. A related appeal is an appeal under section 114 of the City of Toronto Act, under sections 17, 22, 34, 36, 38, 41 or 51 of the Planning Act or under a regulation made under section 70.2 of the Planning Act.”…


RT @NewHomeBuyers: New appeal body replaces OMB, sort of... | Toronto Star

Toronto condos

“The City of Toronto this week announced it had established an independent appeal body to “provide quick and efficient hearings on appeals of land use decisions made by the Committee of Adjustment” — and in doing so, replaced the much-maligned Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in matters of minor variance and consent.

The Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) will, as of May 3rd, bring local planning appeals back to the city. Its members “live in Toronto and understand Toronto’s unique character and communities,” according to Councillor David Shiner (Ward 24 Willowdale) in a release.”…


RT Mike CollinsWilliams‏ @mikejcw: Residents to be blocked from challenging devs within 500m of transit stations under reforms to OMB | Globe & Mail

> @mikejcw Do you see this leading to a "wild west" of development within the 1km wide strip along transit lines?

> RT Mike CollinsWilliams‏ @mikejcw: @sunposition No.

The Globe and Mail

“Residents would be blocked from challenging developments within 500 metres of transit stations under sweeping reforms to the Ontario Municipal Board to be unveiled next week.

The provision, revealed to The Globe and Mail by government sources, would allow municipalities to bar challenges to approved developments near GO Transit, subway or light-rail stations in order to support the goal of boosting density near transit lines.

But it is expected to alarm some neighbourhood associations, particularly in Toronto, where developers are eager to build increasingly tall condominium towers – and where residents have resisted such efforts near transit.”…


“Tower with waist” by MVRDV minimises building shadow cast | Architecture And Design

“Dutch architects MVRDV have demonstrated a unique way to minimise the shadow impact of a building on its neighbours in Vienna, Austria.

The Rotterdam-based firm are winners of a two-stage, BAI-backed competition for a new tower near Vienna’s world famous Gasometers and their concept, “Turm mit Taille” (Tower with Waist) was shaped so as to minimise the effect of the building’s shadow cast on its neighbours.

The brief originally restricted the allowable construction to a height of 75 metres, however in proposing a more compact square layout MVRDV were granted added height concessions and the building will now reach 110 metres.

The first ten floors are parametrically shaped into a twist to minimise the structure’s shadow cast onto the neighbouring facades to only two hours a day.”…


SF apartment project faces delay for casting shadow on park | via @SFGate

“It was a showdown between badly needed housing and precious open space on South of Market’s hardscrabble Sixth Street.

And on Thursday, open space won out — at least for now.

In a rare decision, the Planning and Recreation and Park commissions forced the developer of a proposed 84-unit apartment complex at 301 Sixth St. to redesign the project after residents and community advocates complained that the 82-foot-high building would cast a shadow on the Gene Friend Recreation Center.”…


A Tiny Park Fights for Sunlight Among New York City Skyscrapers | New York Times

“New Yorkers have to elbow their way onto packed subways below ground. They have to eke out room on teeming sidewalks and streets just to get anywhere.

And in a city where no space can be taken for granted, increasingly they have to fight for the very light and air above their heads.

A city plan to rezone the heart of Manhattan has touched off a new campaign to protect the afternoon light falling on a beloved park that offers honey locust trees, azaleas, pansies and a 25-foot-high waterfall. It is a lush oasis in a neighborhood starved for green space.

The foundation that runs the park, on East 51st Street between Second and Third Avenues, says the rezoning would allow taller buildings that could block its afternoon sun, endangering the plant life and making the spot colder, darker and far less inviting. This patch of greenery — known as Greenacre Park, a 1971 gift from a granddaughter of the industrialist John D. Rockefeller Sr. — is at the center of a brewing battle between light and darkness as the city grows ever more vertical.”…


How do we preserve the Distillery District but still make it livable? | via @torontostar

Pedesrians walk through the Distillery District with a condo tower seen in the background. Three new high rise condos are proposed for the heritage district, rankling many local residents.

“Three proposed condo buildings in the Distillery District are rankling residents and raising questions about what kind of development is appropriate for the national historic site.

Some locals say the proposals will increase congestion and hide the district’s marquee squares in shadow.

But the architects for Cityscape, the developer on two of the projects, say the development is needed to continue revitalizing and preserving some of the city’s most important heritage resources.”…

“The other major concern residents have is the shadows that would be cast by the proposed towers. As Brewer points out, one of the big draws to the Distillery District is the sunlight the area’s squares and laneways get in the summer.

Adding a 49-storey tower at 31a Parliament will drastically reduce that sunlight, Brewer said.

“It would shade Trinity Square which is the main feature at this national historic site,” he said.

A shadow study presented at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing on May 15th showed that at 2 p.m. on June 21, the tower will cast a shadow over about half of Trinity Square. At that time on that day of the year, the sun is near it’s highest in the sky — the further from that day the calendar gets, the longer the shadow cast will be.

But aside from these issues, the developments raise questions about how to balance heritage preservation with density in Toronto.”…


Light wins over shadow in public park battle | via @smh

The Dexus development is on the 2087-square-metre Flinders Street block between the Ernst & Young building at 8 ...

“Light has conquered shadow in a battle over tall buildings overlooking Melbourne's riverside Birrarung Marr park.

Property giant Dexus has failed in a bid to force Planning Minister Richard Wynne to allow an extra 10 floors to be added to a tower it wants to build near the south-east corner of Flinders Street.

Dexus wants to build a 64-storey skyscraper, but the tower will cast a shadow over the park on the north side of the Yarra River.

The company has already gained planning approval from Mr Wynne for two towers on its site.

The tallest, at 54 storeys, was approved because it will not overshadow the park.”

“The decision to limit Dexus' building to 54 storeys was based on city planning rules that state that all new buildings "should not cast additional shadow across Birrarung Marr".”…


Can you sue your neighbour for blocking your solar panels? | via @ABCNews

A modern looking home with a lush garden and solar panels on the roof.

“What are your legal rights if a neighbour decides to build up and block direct sunlight from hitting your solar panels?

It's a problem central Adelaide resident Jo Thomas was forced to confront when she learned a developer had plans to build a four-storey building next door.

Dr Thomas is a medical doctor who lives in a small, medium density development called Christie Walk, which has 27 dwellings and a community garden.

"The emphasis is on nature and people-friendly urban development," she said.

"The plans were for a four-storey, very much box-like construction of apartments, on our boundary.

"The development had a big impact for us. For me personally it was going to throw quite a lot of shadow over my photovoltaic solar collectors and solar hot water system.

"But also for other residents, it was going to dramatically overshadow the community garden."”…

“So what does Dr Thomas's case mean for the rest of the country's solar panel owners? Do they have a right to sunlight without overshadowing?

Peter Clarke, a lawyer with Sydney firm Hones Lawyers, said that under many local government planning guidelines and development controls, there is a requirement that private open living spaces receive a certain amount of direct sunlight per day, with a minimum requirement on the winter solstice, June 21.

"Most jurisdictions require about three hours of sunlight into a private open living space," he told the Law Report after writing an article for Sanctuary magazine.

But the rules around access to sunlight for solar panels are much murkier.

A number of Australian jurisdictions have best practice guidelines and development controls that are set out as objectives.

But in terms of an actual right enshrined in law, nothing of the kind really exists.”…


Cheers, Ralph