Friday, March 17, 2017

Sun Glare While Driving – February 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

Sunlight glare on defrosting window triggers rollover in Santa Clara | St George News

“Four teens on their way to school Friday were diverted after the driver was unable to negotiate a curve on Pioneer Parkway in Santa Clara and instead lost control and rolled off the right shoulder.

Just after 8 a.m. emergency crews and officers were dispatched to a reported rollover on Pioneer Parkway just east of Harmons grocery store, Santa Clara Fire Chief Dan Nelson said.

Upon arrival, officers found a green Saturn four-door passenger vehicle off the right side of the road sitting perfectly on its side, with the passenger side facing up.

The driver told officers that as they were driving east on Pioneer Parkway, they approached a hill while the windshield was still defrosting, Nelson said. Just before hitting a curve in the road, the sunlight hit the windshield, and the glare combined with the lingering moisture still on the glass and made it impossible for the driver to see.

The driver couldn’t see the upcoming curve in the road and lost control of the vehicle as it swerved onto the right shoulder, Nelson said. The driver then overcorrected to the left in an attempt to bring the car back onto the roadway, but instead the vehicle rolled one time and came to rest with the driver’s side smashed in between lava rocks located several feet from the roadway.”…

Glare reportedly causes morning commute accident | via @WniTest

Approximately 20 cars were involved in Wednesday morning’s pileup on  southbound U.S. 93 at Coyote Pass.


“A low-horizon sun glare is to blame for a car pileup on U.S. Highway 93 Wednesday morning that shut down southbound lanes and backed up traffic for miles.

According to Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr, the incident started at 7:55 a.m. near milepost 63.

DPS received numerous calls of collisions that started when a motorcyclist and pick-up truck reportedly collided, causing a chain reaction of crashes involving about 20 vehicles. Mehr said the sunlight may have blinded some drivers.”…

"RT Shawn Micallef  @shawnmicallef:  As we landed in freezing rain at YYZ, the Air Canada pilot said ""the most dangerous part of journey will be your drive home"".

> .@shawnmicallef  True even on good days.

Another sun glare plus left turn crash >

Sun Glare Results in Injury Accident | West Kentucky Star

County Line Road Injury Accident 2-7-2017

“Limited visibility due to sun glare resulted in a two-vehicle injury accident Tuesday.

According to the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department, the crash happened in the 3700 block of County Line Road. Deputies said a vehicle driven by 41-year-old Adam T. Bridges, of Melber, was westbound on County Line Road and slowed to make a left turn into a home at that location. 

Bridges told police that glare from the sun obstructed his view and he turned into the path of another vehicle driven by 18-year-old James Chancellor of Bardwell.”…

RT @AppleGlassHou:  @SunPosition- Sun glare is the worst. It's dangerous and obnoxious. ;)

Blinding sun + dirty windshield = accident waiting to happen >

Sun glare triggers double crash | The Times Record

“Three people were taken to a Brunswick hospital with minor injuries after the blinding sun and a dirty windshield started a chain reaction on Route 1 in West Bath Friday.

Two separate crashes were reported at 7:15 a.m. on Route 1 Northbound just beyond the on ramp from New Meadows Road, according to Sgt. Greg Siegel of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office.

Siegel said a 2010 Toyota sedan driven by Scott Kennedy, 52, of Harpswell, was in the passing lane when the first crash occurred. Kennedy reportedly couldn’t see due to the glare of the sun, the fact that his windshield was covered with salt and that his windshield washer system wasn’t working.

Police said that Kennedy claimed to have pulled into the breakdown lane and stopped. However, there was no breakdown lane and he had stopped in the passing lane, Siegel said. Kennedy was about to open the door and get out to clear his windshield when he was rear-ended by a 2007 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Michael Pontau Jr., 35, of Topsham.

A 2015 Honda driven by Joshua Garneau, 27, of Brunswick was in the passing lane slowing in traffic because of the crash ahead. Garneau was hit from behind by a 2017 Toyota sedan driven by Richard Segovia, 39, of San Antonio, Texas.

Siegel said Segovia told him he thought he struck a guardrail. Everyone was blinded by the glare of the sun on the road and the new snow.”

“Siegel urges drivers who can’t see ahead of them because of the angle or glare of the sun, to slow down.

After a winter storm it is also important to make sure your windshield and windows are clear for optimal visibility, and be sure your vehicle has freeze-resistant windshield washer fluid.”

Kayakers obscured by sun glare >

NTSB calls for harbor safety committees, national boater education  | Workboat

Kayakers and commercial traffic on the Chicago River. Creative Commons/ Larry Dostal via NTSB.

“The Coast Guard should ask Congress to mandate safety education for all recreational boaters in U.S. waters, and use harbor safety committees to reduce dangerous encounters between boaters and commercial vessels, the National Transportation Safety Board says in a new report.

The report “Shared Waterways: Safety of Recreational and Commercial Vessels in the Marine Transportation System,” was inspired by the Aug. 30, 2016 collision between a New York Waterway ferry and kayakers on the Hudson River side of New York City that left three paddlers injured.

“The consensus from the industry was that we take a look at this,” said Capt. Morgan J. Turrell, chief marine accident investigations with the NTSB, who spoke on the subject at the recent Passenger Vessel Association convention in Seattle.

The NTSB report notes the incident off Manhattan’s West Side piers at 39th Street — when the departing ferry collided with kayakers obscured by sun glare — highlighted the growing risks of traffic conflict, especially with the burgeoning popularity of non-motorized paddle craft.”…

> RT @lives2talk:  Surprised it's taken this long!

> .@lives2talk No kidding. Hopefully the education will help prevent this in the future.

Driving Safe In Sun Glare | Law Firm Blog

“Driving in the sunlight is an (almost) daily gift us Floridians get to bask in – so let’s do it safely!

Right after sunrise, and right before sunset, the sun often shines directly into drivers’ eyes, so you end up driving with a strong glare. This glare makes it difficult to see the road ahead which is risky to you and others on the road.

So here are our Top 10 Tips on Driving Safely in Sun Glare:”…

read on >>>

Rochester Police: Glare from sun said to be factor in crash |

“One person was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries Tuesday morning after an accident involving a truck and an SUV that police say may have been caused by glare from the sun.

Rochester Police, Rochester Fire and Frisbie EMS responded to Old Dover Road at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning near the intersection of Tebbetts Road for a reported vehicle accident with injury.

Officers learned that Guy Leighton, 36, of Strafford, was driving a GMC box truck on Old Dover Road that was experiencing mechanical problems. The truck was pulled to the side of the road, but still partially in the travel lane.

Manuel Escoto, 83, of Rochester, was traveling south on Old Dover Road in a Toyota Highlander, when he stuck the rear of the GMC Truck. The Highlander suffered front-end damage and was towed from the scene. The passenger in the Highlander, Virya Sanabria, 67, of Rochester, was transported to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital by Frisbie EMS for non-life threatening injuries.

It appears that glare from the sun may have played a factor in the collision, police said.”…

Torontohenge is cool to see, when you're not driving. Be prepared for sun glare this week along Toronto's street grid.

RT Shane O'Connor @oconnorshane:  Traffic lights in the ground? Come on, just look up from your smartphone | Michele Hanson #RoadSafety

‘Why pander to these creatures? How will they ever learn to look where they’re going?’

> Ridiculous! Next will be traffic lights that show up on phones via an app! @oconnorshane @PublicSafetyNL

Sun glare a factor? Directly in line with Wolsely at 4pm >

School buses collide | Peterborough Examiner

Peterborough paramedics and firefighters treat injured students after two school buses collided at Wolsely and Donegal streets in Peterborough, Ont. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. City police are investigating. Clifford Skarstedt/Peterborough Examiner/Postmedia Network

“At least six students were taken to Peterborough Regional Health Centre for treatment after two school buses collided in Peterborough's north end just before 4 p.m. Thursday.

It happened at Wolsely and Donegal streets after one bus rear-ended the other.”…

.@SafeDriver Great article Scott covering one of my pet driving peeves. DRL also stands for Dumb Rear Lights by the way.

.@SafeDriver ...that, and drivers that fill in the gap I leave ahead of me.

Cheers, Ralph

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – February 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

Yorkville condo project forgoes second tower for townhouses | The Globe and Mail

Nine townhomes will be incorporated into the 27-storey tower.

“The tight dimensions of many infill sites in downtown Toronto often limit projects to tall towers with a few townhouses, if any at all.

But when Metropia and Diamond Corp. gained clearance to redevelop a parking garage with two towers at 181 Bedford Rd., they opted to construct a single high-rise with 245 suites and a courtyard flanked by over three dozen townhouses with three or four floors and private garages.”…

Winthrop Square Project Updates Listed | Beacon Hill Times

“…concerns about the project’s proposed design and impact upon the surrounding neighborhood, including its potential wind and shadow impacts.

Beaton is requiring the developers to provide information and analysis regarding building height and shadow to disclose potential impacts and response to concerns expressed by State Agencies and other stakeholders.

DEIR will address the project’s consistency with Chapter 362 of the Acts of 1990 and Chapter 384 of the Acts of 1992 regarding the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden respectively (also known as the Shadow Acts).

The DEIR will identify whether legislative approval will be required to provide relief from the Acts and if new legislation is passed the DEIR should identify those efforts and the related review process.

Beaton made note that the State laws which protect the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden from new shadow applies by its terms to approvals by the City of Boston, however it does not address approvals by State Agencies or MEPA. While the MEPA process will serve to disclose potential impacts, the City of Boston through its review and permitting will address the project’s consistency with these laws.”

“Recently, 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 about 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 care from which the City can allow developers to withdraw for shadows cast for longer than the two-hour exemption.

Legislation for the shadow bank to be used up by a building outside of the Midtown Cultural District needs to be passed by the Boston City Council and then the by the State to allow the building to move forward.”

RT @SocketSite: Zeitgeist likely to lose literal NIMBY challenge next week  #RealestateSF

“As proposed, a new five-story building with 28 condos over 6,300 square feet of new retail space and a 19-car garage will rise upon the Oil Changer site at 198 Valencia Street.

In August, shortly after anti-tech flyers were posted in front of the bar, the owner of Zeitgeist filed a formal challenge of the project, citing concerns that the development would cast additional shadows on Zeitgeist’s (back yard) beer garden at 199 Valencia Street and adversely affect the bar’s business.

Last month, Zeitgeist’s challenge was heard by San Francisco’s Planning Commission, which requested an additional shadow analysis and continued the hearing to next week.

From Zeitgeist’s latest plea to the Commission, which seeks to have the height, design and positioning of the development altered:

“Throughout this process, the developer has demonstrated an unwillingness to cooperate with Zeitgeist in order to adequately address the valid impact that this proposal has on our business.

We recount the sequence of interactions during this last 10 months and implore the Planning Commission to recognize that the developers are actively choosing to ignore this issue, hoping that the Planning Commission will approve their proposal in the [2/16/17] meeting.

In our view, the developers have followed the “letter of the law” rather than the “spirit of the law” in holding the required Pre-Application Meeting, but not actually discussing and addressing the concerns of the stakeholders.”

But with the new analysis in hand – which projects that the proposed development will add 255,000 square
foot hours of net new shadow on Zeitgeist’s garden, a total annual increase of just 2.06 percent but with the maximum impact occurring on April 26th and August 16th (“when some new shadow would be present in locations within the Beer Garden for a period of approximately 2 hours” and affecting up to 37% of the garden area) and the days between – San Francisco’s Planning Department is recommending that the development be approved as proposed.

The Department’s reasoning for its recommendation:

  1. The Project complies with the Planning Code and advances the Objectives and Policies of the General Plan
  2. The Project is in an appropriate in-fill development that will add 28 new dwelling units to the City’s housing stock and 6,269 square feet of commercial space in an area that encourages the development of moderate-scale buildings with a pattern of ground floor commercial with upper story residential units.
  3. The Project fully respects the character of the adjacent mixed use and residential neighborhoods.
  4. The Project will include at least four units of on-site, permanently affordable housing

Keep in mind that neither San Francisco Planning Code nor the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) require a project to consider or design around the shadowing of a neighbor’s back yard, unless said yard is a public space.

And while Zeitgeist has been designated an official Legacy Business by the City, said designation doesn’t confer any special protections beyond financial support.”

Seeing the bright side of a shadow | via @BostonGlobe

Boston Common.

“The fight over Boston’s next skyscraper has pit poor people against shadows.

And the crazy part is, if some well-meaning but deeply misguided people get their way, the shadows could win.

Some months ago, the city reached a deal to sell the long-shuttered Winthrop Square Garage near Downtown Crossing to Millennium Partners for a whopping sum of $153 million. The developer has proposed a 775-foot tower for the site. Of the city’s windfall, $35 million has been allotted to the Boston Housing Authority, $67 million to the Parks Department — both perennially underfunded agencies — and $28 million each for the Boston Common and Franklin Park. Plenty of bureaucratic obstacles remained, but they didn’t seem major.

Somehow, no one had considered what may turn out to be the most imposing obstacle of all: the “shadow bank.”

The “shadow bank” is the creation of two state laws that limit the total amount of shadow construction can cast on the Common and the Public Garden. The laws, which date to 1990 and 1993, are complicated. But the gist is that they establish a limit on the size of shadows new buildings are permitted to cast on the two beloved parks. The size takes into consideration time of day and time of year, and there is an entire district near the parks that is exempt. The laws date back to a time of intense anxiety that development around the Common and Public Garden could wreck them as sanctuaries.

The Winthrop Square project as proposed would violate the law by casting shadows onto the parks too late in the mornings. On the worst days of the year, according to models provided by the city and the developers, parts of the park would be in shadow until 9:30 a.m.

That’s not much of a reason to derail a project with enormous public benefits, but right now that’s the threat.

Mayor Marty Walsh plans to ask the City Council and the Legislature to pass a home rule petition that would exempt this project — and only this project — from the law. In exchange, the Walsh administration would promise to limit the height of other new buildings near the park.

“In my view this is a litmus test of what we hold dear in our city,” said Bill McGonagle, head of the Boston Housing Authority. “Homes for poor folks, improvements to our parks, jobs for Boston residents. This isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a tough decision.”

The Millennium deal would provide millions for the upkeep of the Common and Franklin Park. If you haven’t visited them in a while, rest assured that both desperately need the help. The Common, in particular, has become a victim of its popularity. Its 1.5 million visitors a year simply inflict more damage than its maintenance budget can restore.

“What we have discovered over the past year is that the Common is receiving an enormous amount of use, compared to even 10 or 15 years ago,” said Parks Commissioner Christopher Cook. He says slightly more shadow won’t really be a problem, especially weighed against millions of dollars for improved maintenance. “Most people’s experience of the park won’t be any different, except that it will be better.”

Despite that, parks advocates fret about the impact of an estimated 90 minutes a day of shadow. And they don’t trust the city’s assurances that this exemption would be a one-time event.

“It provides a blueprint for future developers to seek exemptions,” said Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of Friends of the Public Garden, an advocacy group. “The mayor would like everyone to be reassured that it’s just for one project, but I haven’t talked to one person who agrees that this is not precedent-setting.”

Vizza is a thoughtful advocate for the city’s parks. But in fact, there aren’t any more projects like this one, because the city isn’t sitting on any more parcels like this.

Better housing for the poor and upkeep for the parks, in exchange for a shadow few will ever notice? This really isn’t a hard choice.”

Australia's Tallest Tower Will Cast More Shadow over Shrine of Remembrance  on Broadsheet | Broadsheet Melbourne

Shrine of Remembrance. Image via Wikipedia France.

“Crown Resorts’ recently approved skyscraper, One Queensbridge Street, has already attracted some criticism. Neighbours claim the 90-storey building was exempt from the regular approval process.

Another criticism is that the new tower, once it is completed, will reportedly overshadow the Shrine of Remembrance on winter afternoons.”

“But, according to a shadow study conducted by consultants for owners in a neighbouring Southbank tower, One Queensbridge Street will cast the Shrine in shadow for 58 afternoons in winter, the Age reported.

On those days the shadow will reach the Shrine after 3.45pm. Current legislation protects the Shrine from 11am until 3pm each day.

The consequences of building shadows have subtle but important consequences on city life. And according to Davis, development projects in central Melbourne consistently neglect cultural importance. “The impacts on specific cultural or heritage spaces need to be closely examined,” he says.

As Melbourne grows so too does the number of high-rise residential developments in the inner city. Often these developments are built at the expense of heritage destinations, such as The Corkman Hotel, which has been demolished, and The Great Western Hotel, which is earmarked for demolition.

“What that intense growth means is that you do have to protect your heritage, and you do have to ensure that key precincts are protected … Shadowing is a critical component of that,” Davis says.”

Zeitgeist About to Lose Patio Shadow Battle, and More A.M. Intel | via @EaterSF

”Late December brought news that beer garden Zeitgeist’s sunny patio is under threat by a development at 198 Valencia St. (across the street) that could cast a literal shadow over the business. The bar filed a discretionary review with the city, which then ordered Sternberg Benjamin Architects to do a third shadow analysis measuring how the building’s height (and lessening it) would impact the beer garden. The report is in, and it has found that the building will only increase shadow hours by 2.06 percent. With that information, SF’s Planning Department is recommending that the development be approved as proposed, Socketsite reports.”

RT @SMSpoke:  We would like this kind of parking problem .... yes please.

RT Elena Christopoulos‏ @Elenach: Yes, all cities do have parking problems. #Amsterdam #dcp #theplansm @santamonicacity @SustainableSM @urb_mag

Seems to be an epidemic of parking problems in Holland. I took this pic in Assen. @Elenach @urb_mag @santamonicacity @SustainableSM

RT @Urban_Toronto: Breaking: Cresford announces @KohnPedersenFox-designed 98-storey, 343.9m supertall at Yonge & Gerrard #Toronto:

YSL Residences at 385 Yonge, Toronto by Cresford Developments, Kohn Pederson Fox

“Rising to an incredible 98 storeys, Toronto's—and Canada's—tallest building could be coming to the southeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard. Designed by New York's Kohn Pedersen Fox for Cresford Developments, the super-tall tower would feature a mix of retail, office uses, and residential space. The height? 343.9 metres.”…

Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – February 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:

A full moon, an eclipse and a comet - all in one night | CBC News

“Friday is a night full of fun astronomical treats.

First, there's February's full moon, called the Snow Moon — named for the typically cold and snowy weather this time of year.”

“In addition to the full moon, a lunar eclipse also occurs on Friday. While you may head out to look for the darkening and reddening of the moon that's typical in a lunar eclipse, be prepared — this is a penumbral eclipse where the moon passes through Earth's outer shadow.”

“Then there's the New Year's Comet, formally known as Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková.

This green comet will make its closest approach to Earth around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, at a distance of about 12 million kilometres (that's roughly 30 times the distance from Earth the moon).”

RT @rudydotca:  FYI Torontohenge at sunset next Wed, plus a few days afterwards... check last year's article by @SunPosition --

Pedestrians pose for a photo during Manhattan-henge. (Michael Loccisano/Getty)

.@rudydotca Thank you for the shout-out.  You beat me to the announcement :).  FYI the true #Torontohenge date this year is Feb 15th (5:48pm)

RT @rudydotca:  @SunPosition yeah, i picked Wed by progressively looking at successive days using this desktop app --

.@rudydotca And, great photo ops for following week as sun crosses above streets and sets more north each day. #Torontohenge

.@rudydotca Looks like we agree, phew. #Torontohenge

.@rudydotca Dates and times for Torontohenge 2017 

Torontohenge is coming up. Watch the sun set in line with Toronto's east-west street grid. 

Yes, golf courses have made use of our sunrise sunset tables.

Also, photographers and wedding planners use our sunrise sunset tables.

Here's the when and where of tomorrow's (Feb 15) Torontohenge.

Hey @shawnmicallef and @glynbowerman.  Just in case you weren't aware... #Torontohenge

RT @svkwhisper:  Hey this is cool. Did it get planned. This way? Our own #TOhenge

.@svkwhisper The sun setting in a specific direction was planned alright, but not by me :)  #Torontohenge

RT @quimler:  TorontoHenge is tomorrow (Feb 15)!

If you missed Torontohenge last night, watch sun hover above street just before sunset for another week or so.

RT @rudydotca:  @SiriAgrell

Torontohenge is cool to see, when you're not driving. Be prepared for sun glare this week along Toronto's street grid.

Cheers, Ralph

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. 

Pedestrians pose for a photo during Manhattan-henge. (Michael Loccisano/Getty)

(Photo credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty)

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

  - File photo

“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

Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Ballantyne and Sheriff’s Pilot James Chavez pose for a photo with Sheriff One. The two men were killed when the light sport aircraft crashed into the side of a mountain along Highway 190 near Lake Success just after 4 p.m. Feb. 10, 2016.

“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 rendering of the entrance to One Oak (Image courtesy Build, Inc)

“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

8 Burnley Street 'A Place to Live',© Peter Clarke

…”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

Development site

“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

Condo Development

…”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

26winthrop - Millennium Partners' proposal for the site of the Winthrop Square Garage. (Handel Architects)

“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, causing some residents and elected officials ...

“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

Collingwood's Jenny Port: "The issue has been around for so long and … yet nothing happens."

“"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