Saturday, August 12, 2017

Torontohenge August 2017– Best Photo Ops

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 its top edge grazes the horizon between the canyon walls of buildings on either side of the street. 

Photo: By Sevtibidou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Best Photo Ops in August

In August, the best photo ops will occur before the 23rd.  For example, on the 22nd the sun will break loose from the horizon at about 6:33 AM and sit fully above the street. 

Similarly, the rising sun will cross the street and be fully perched above it at about 6:35 AM on the 21st, 6:37 AM on the 20th, 6:38 AM on the 19th, etc.

On August 16th, a full week before Torontohenge, the sun will cross the street at about 6:43 AM at a height of about 2.5 degrees above the horizon (i.e. about the width of your thumb at arm’s length).
Tomorrow morning, August 13th, the sun will cross at about 6:47 AM at a height of about 3.8 degrees.

In a nutshell, there will be many opportunities for great photos between now and the official Torontohenge date of August 23rd.

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

Sun Glare While Driving – July 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

Amid criticism, prosecutor's office details why no charges issued in motorcyclist's death | Michigan Live

“Facing a wave of criticism in phone calls and online about the decision to not charge an SUV driver in the traffic death of a motorcyclist, Saginaw County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Boyd gave a deeper look into the police investigation and prosecutors' determination.

Some of the criticism online has characterized the decision as blaming the motorcyclist and letting off the driver because, under some of the reasons why charges were not brought, prosecutors listed the biker not wearing a helmet and the driver being affected by glare from the setting sun.”

“Neither of these were major factors in the decision to not issue charges, Boyd said.”

“Around 7:30 p.m. July 8, Terry Todd Jr. was on his motorcycle attempting to make a left turn into Sheridan Arms, a gun store and range at 8259 Tittabawassee Road, when the SUV behind him clipped him and sent him into oncoming traffic, police previously said.

An oncoming Chevrolet Suburban ran over Terry, causing fatal injuries, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Boyd said the police investigation shows Terry had likely attempted to beat oncoming traffic by turning into the store but realized he couldn't make it and rapidly decelerated.

The SUV driver behind him was unable to see Terry's brake light because it was obscured by two 3-foot-by-5-foot patriotic flags attached to the back of his motorcycle, Boyd said.

While the flags flapping at 55 mph are fully extended, they drape when speed is reduced, he said.

These factors, along with the contributing decrease in reaction time from the sun's glare, did not give the SUV driver sufficient time to avoid collision, Boyd said.

"His reaction time was a little slower because of the glare of the sun, but it was significantly impaired by the lack of a brake light," Boyd said of the SUV driver. "He was driving at a responsible speed in a responsible manner and his reaction time was very limited."”…

Particular Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior Combination Shown To Create Blinding Window Glare | GM Authority

“There may be a very unfortunate problem for some 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EVs and it’s only now being discovered.

So the story goes, according to The Truth About Cars, Bolt EVs specced in Premier trimmings with the Light Ash Gray interior motif are plagued by near-blinding dashboard reflections. The angle of the windshield—combined with the light gray dashboard color—reflects the light gray color back and creates significant glare on sunny days. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received two complaints surrounding the issue.

Furthermore, it’s a well-known issue now. Bolt EV owners have discussed the interior glare problem at length on forums and many have resorted to makeshift remedies to ensure a safe driving experience. A sample of how intense the glare can become may be seen below.”…

Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – July 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

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New study examines how sunshine affects house values | NZ Herald

“The more sun a house gets, the higher its value, according to a new study which suggests developers might need to compensate neighbours when they block sun.

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust has released what it calls the first research carried out anywhere in the world to specifically evaluate the extra value house buyers put on extra sunshine hours.

Arthur Grimes, a senior fellow at Motu and co-author of the study, said there was a direct correlation between more sunshine and higher values and the study was precise about how much extra value is added.”…

RT @regionomics: Home prices  increase with the quantity of sunshine received by a property #topoli

Developer plans seven-storey condo building in Nutana | Saskatoon StarPhoenix

“Meridian Development has purchased the corner lot occupied by the Faith Alive Family Church and is proposing to build a seven-storey condominium building.

About 35 people attended an information session about the proposed 45-unit development on June 28, according to Meridian’s Karl Miller, who says the developer has tried to design the building to fit into the neighbourhood.

“We’ve spent a tremendous amount of time consulting with the residents there,” Miller said in an interview Wednesday. “We’re listening and we’re trying to shape it to address their concerns.

“We’re always going to get a little opposition.”

Meridian has tried to address concerns about increased traffic and parking with an underground garage that will create nearly two spots for each unit.

The building is also set back from the street and is terraced to mitigate the degree to which direct sunlight will be blocked for houses on Saskatchewan Crescent.”…

The buildings got shorter and so did their shadows, controversial Distillery District condos approved | @torontostar  

“The Ontario Municipal Board has approved two controversial condo developments that will add around 1,000 new residential units to the Distillery District.

The decision, issued July 6, gives the final green light to two projects: a 12-storey renovation of the heritage-protected Rack House D, at 60 Mill Street and a 47-storey condo tower and five-storey “ribbon building” at 31A Parliament Street.

Both projects had originally been rejected by city staff over concerns they were too tall and — in the case of 31A Parliament — cast too much shadow over Trinity Square.

The municipal board approval upholds a city council decision from March to support shorter versions of both projects, with a $3.2 million contribution to the city from the developers. That money will go toward improvements to public space around the Distillery District as well as supporting the city’s planned Toronto Aboriginal Hub in the West Don Lands.

“Our clients, who are the Distillery District owners, are happy with the decision,” said Mark Noskiewicz, one of the lawyers representing Dream Distillery District Commercial Inc. and Cityscape Holdings Inc.

“They think the projects will be good for the distillery and good for the surrounding area,” Noskiewicz said.

But local residents are not pleased, saying the projects threaten the district’s heritage character.

“It’s a disappointing decision,” said Gooderham and Worts Neighbourhood Association president Michael Brewer, who fought against the proposals.

One of the most contentious elements of the proposal for 31A Parliament is the shadow it will cast over the district’s marquee Trinity Square.

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 its highest in the sky — the further from that day the calendar gets, the longer the shadow cast will be.

Noskiewicz said the shadows cast by the reduced 47-storey tower at 31A Parliament won’t be significantly worse than those created by a previously-approved version of the ribbon building along the district’s southern edge.

“That was one of the issues that the city looked at, and I think at the end with the modifications to the proposal … the city was satisfied that there really wasn’t a material shadow impact,” Noskiewicz said.”…

Building Boom in Boston Casts Shadows on History and Public Space | NY Times

…”Boston is riding the crest of what city officials say is the biggest building boom in its history, with cranes lifting glassy towers into place and raising the city’s unassuming profile.

The surge of construction is also plunging some of its most cherished sites into deepening shadow, testing state laws that have long balanced economic development with protection of sunlight and open space.

The concern is not merely about preserving a glimpse of sky in the increasingly vertical downtown or about the risks of darkness to plants, historic buildings and even humans. It is also about whether the city is going down a road of no return by trading away, one piece at a time, its intangible assets, like sunlight on its signature parks and public access to its gleaming waterfront.”

“By the 1970s, as the city became denser and buildings rose higher, residents opposed a proposed downtown skyscraper that would have thrown long shadows across the Common and the adjacent and equally beloved Public Garden. That protest led to the state’s passage of laws in the 1990s that restricted new buildings, outside one downtown district, from casting shadows on the two parks for more than one hour a day.”

“For a quarter-century, those laws worked, allowing development while limiting shadow creep.

But now, as part of the city’s latest rush of construction, the developer Millennium Partners has proposed a $1 billion skyscraper that could soar 775 feet — and cast new shadows lasting 90 minutes or more on the Common and the Public Garden.

The tower, to be built in the financial district due east of the Common, would violate the shadow laws for 264 days of the year on the Common and 120 days on the Public Garden, according to the Friends of the Public Garden, which oversees both parks.

So the developer, in concert with Mayor Martin J. Walsh, a Democrat, is trying to change the shadow laws.”…

New photomontages show Gzira skyline under shadow of Metropolis and 14 East high-rises | MaltaToday

“The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage has declared that five new storeys on the 16-storey tower being built on the site of the former United Garage in Gzira, will have no impact on views of Valletta.

In May 2016, less than a year after they got approval for the 16-storey tower, ADMG Estates Ltd applied for the addition of eight new storeys, a proposal later downscaled to five.

But the photomontages submitted by the developers have revealed the massive visual impact of both the 21-storey tower in progress, and the already approved yet undeveloped 33-storey Metropolis development on Testaferrata Street.

The developers presented visuals of both the proposed development from Valletta, Sliema, Manoel Island, Gzira and Ta’ Xbiex and also of the cumulative impact of their project and the Metropolis development.”…

Winthrop Sq. tower shadows could cause ‘great damage to historic buildings’, Galvin says | via @BostonGlobe

Galvin throws shade on Millennium tower deal | CommonWealth Magazine

Long ago, Beacon Hill insiders used to call then-Rep. William Galvin the Prince of Darkness because of his penchant for intrigue and political machinations. But now Galvin is coming to be known as the Lord of Light, the guy championing sunshine, not shadows, on Boston Common.

As secretary of state and the overseer of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Galvin is urging lawmakers to put off action on legislation that would allow a politically connected developer to bypass a state law and build a new tower on the site of the Winthrop Square Garage that would cast shadows on the Boston Common and Public Garden.

Galvin is calling for a complete study of the building’s shadow impact on the two parks as well as the area’s historic buildings, including the State House. The 775-foot tower could do “great damage to historic buildings,” he said. “You can’t propose to do this without a complete study, but that’s what they’re talking about,” he told the Globe’s Tim Logan. “I don’t understand the rush.””…

Berkeley officials split over impacts of new zoning code proposals | Berkeleyside 

“The Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday night to embark on an intensive project to develop extensive new development standards to preserve the city’s discretion over land use decisions, and “the cost could be substantial,” staff said.

City attorney Zach Cowan, set to retire at the end of the month, told council the city has previously favored language about development that allowed for “maximum flexibility.” The new proposal, from Mayor Jesse ArreguĂ­n and Councilwoman Sophie Hahn, seeks to define density standards per parcel across the city; specify standards for views, shadows and “impacts that often underlie detriment findings”; and adopt new standards related to design review and health and safety issues.”…

South End residents fight latest Harbor Point high-rise | via @StamAdvocate

“Residents living in the heart of the development boom are feeling left out of a citywide conversation about the pace of development.

Members of the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) decided to make more noise after watching residents from Bull’s Head and North Stamford band together to successfully fight a proposal for 800 housing units on Long Ridge Road.

Susan Halpern, a longtime NRZ member, posted flyers around the neighborhood, hoping to attract a large crowd at a meeting this week when Building and Land Technology presented its latest high-rise project, this time on the old B&S Carting site on Woodland Avenue.

“BLT is just taking over down here,” Halpern said. “We’re glad they came in and started redeveloping some of this, because it really needed work, but we never expected all these high-rises.”

The latest BLT project includes about 500 housing units in a high-rise that could be up to 25 stories — although the proposal has changed shape at least once since the developer first presented a 15-story iteration to the city’s Land Use Bureau earlier this year.

The height caused some concern, but Land Use Bureau Chief Ralph Blessing said greater height would brighten the block.

“With the increased height, what we wanted to do is have skinnier towers and bigger distance between the towers,” Blessing said. “So, yes you have shadow, but tall skinny shadow wanders and there is less shadow in one place during the day.”

That’s a stark difference from what BLT initially proposed, Blessing said.

“In the original proposal, basically what you have is a 15-story wall on Pacific Street, so the other side of Pacific is in eternal darkness,” he said.

This “eternal darkness” is a phenomenon NRZ member Sheila Barney says she knows well.”…

RT @globeandmail: #ICYMI: Vancouver grapples with the ups and downs of increasing density | @GlobeBC

“A century ago, Vancouver was seen as a utopia of single-family homes with lots of space to spread out.

Now, it’s becoming a city where many of its residents are shuffling in together and squeezing in at a steady pace.

The region has the lowest proportion of single-detached houses of anywhere in Canada, with only 29 per cent of the nearly million homes in the Lower Mainland in that category. A study from Toronto’s Neptis Foundation has shown that, for every 1,000 new people who arrive in the city, Vancouver uses half the space Toronto does and a quarter of Calgary.

And it’s not just in the City of Vancouver. Contrary to the image of the suburbs as the domain of the quarter-acre lot with the big house, there are more multifamily homes built in the suburban communities surrounding Vancouver every year than single-family.

According to the latest census, a quarter of people in B.C.’s Lower Mainland live in low-rise apartments. Almost one in five live in apartments with more than five stories. And about one in six live in what are called duplexes, which, in the Vancouver region, are often homes that look like single-family detached but also include a basement suite.

That translates into less space, inside and out, for everyone. And not just the people living in downtown Vancouver, but people throughout the region who are moving into condo towers in Burnaby or Surrey, new mid-rise buildings in Richmond, townhouse complexes in Port Moody and low-rise apartments in Langley.

This slow transformation means having to get along with a lot more people in close quarters. It means planners and builders having to think ever more carefully about how to service these newly dense areas with parks, libraries, schools and transit. Builders are now experimenting with how to provide some of the benefits of single-family living – storage space, workshops, back yards, hang-out spaces – to people now living at densities as high as 350 people for every square kilometre in some clusters in the region.

It’s a profound change, say planners, that means more than just doing more of the same as cities such as Vancouver have become magnets, attracting ever more people who want the urban experience.

“There are enormous issues and it means thinking very differently. It’s not just about how tall buildings are,” says Ken Greenberg, an award-winning urban designer and architect in Toronto who has worked on city transformations around the world.

That means planning for whole neighbourhoods – not just their infrastructure, although that’s important, but about their social make-up.”…

City mulls plans for 3 'supertall' buildings in downtown core | CBC News

“Right now, the sky is the limit for developers vying to build Toronto's first "supertall" building.

But, as Gregg Lintern, director of community planning for Toronto and East York insists, the city does not give the green light to everybody — far from it.”

“Buildings more than 300 metres in height or 90 storeys are considered "supertall' and right now the city has at least three buildings in that range and other towering buildings just shy of the distinction in various stages of approval.

These buildings are all proposed:

  • The YSL building at Yonge and Gerrard Streets — 98 storeys.
  • 1 Yonge Street located on the site of the current Toronto Star building — 95 storeys.
  • Mirvish+Gehry building near King Street and John Street — 92 storeys.
  • ​The One at Yonge Street and Bloor Street — 82 storeys. 
  • A development under review at the LCBO lands on the Queens Quay — 80+ storey range.
  • A Great Eagle Holdings development at the site of the Chelsea Hotel — 46 to 80 storey range, with multiple towers proposed.“

“City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has two of the above buildings proposed for her ward, the YSL and The One that will sprout from the site at 1 Bloor Street West.

She's concerned about the shadow that the YSL could cast because of its proposed height.

"That's a very tall building. All of a sudden from Yonge Street, it [could] cast a shadow that actually touches the green space known as Allan Gardens. That's how far the impact is."

Wong-Tam said she and her constituents are passionate about making sure developers give back space for the space they are trying to occupy.”…

Building that will cast shadow on Boston Common to move forward | via @boston25

“Gov. Charlie Baker has signed off on a law that changes the rules when it comes to buildings around Boston Common.

The law was passed after designs for a new building in Winthrop Square were unveiled for a building that will cast a shadow across the common and beyond.

"At its greatest extent, that shadow is cast from Winthrop Square almost a mile across the common, the garden and down the first block of Commonwealth Avenue mall,” Liz Vizza, from Friends of the Public Garden, said.

Millennium Partners is building the 775-foot mixed use tower on the site of the old Winthrop Square garage after paying $153 million for the site.

>>PREVIOUS: Boston looking to skirt ordinance against casting shadow across Common

The “shadow rule" was a 26-year-old law that protected historic parks from overdevelopment. As a bill, the proposal saw little resistance at the state house and was supported by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, though historic preservation advocates are not happy and neither are neighbors.”…

Baker signs bill to allow proposed 775-foot tower to cast shadows on parks | via @BostonGlobe

Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – July 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:

Just completed interesting project at @expo2020dubai. PV array spacing analysis. #solar #Dubai #Expo2020

Why don't articles refer to the 'sunrise' #Manhattanhenge in early Dec and Jan, and only the 'sunsets' in May and July? Just wondering.

Sun glare costs @Rangers a game and @Royals #LorenzoCain a game-winning hit. Bad luck for both #TexasRangers and #KansasCityRoyals
Cheers, Ralph