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Solar access for an urban greenway

ownzone

Member
Messages
10
Points
1
Hello all - I should introduce myself, since I joined this forum just to be able to post inquiries like this one. I'm a planning consultant, part of a small planning and urban design group within (gulp) a large engineering firm, and I tend to specialize in zoning and design guidelines, especially for traditional neighborhood development. As an introvert, I'm a little intimidated by the highly social atmosphere of these forums (all your clever screen names, etc.) but am taking the plunge to get this question out there:

I'm working with a nonprofit group to establish an overlay district that will cover a greenway/transit corridor established along an old rail right-of-way right that parallels one of our main commercial corridors. Thus, for much of its length, it lies within a trench about 35 feet high. It currently contains bike and pedestrian trails, and may include transit someday. The overlay district includes a number of provisions affecting land uses, facade transparency, etc. But one of the more controversial is a height limit on the south side designed to allow winter sunlight to reach the trail surface to melt snow and ice and create a more pleasant environment. It does this by establishing building height limits to create a 1:2 slope from the trail edge (complicated).

My task: to find similar ordinances that require solar access to parks, streets or other public spaces. Most solar access ordinances pertain to residential lots to enable the use of solar energy systems. This is a different purpose. I've found a couple of examples (New York, San Francisco), but would love some help in tracking down some more.

Thanks in advance and pardon the lengthy message!

Suzanne Rhees
 

Jen

Cyburbian
Messages
1,704
Points
24
Hello Suzanne and welcome!!!!!

Great member name by the way !

I would think Mastiff might be one to ask this question of local solar ordinances. Now that is zoning!

jen
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
29
I don't know if this helps, but...

The City of Toronto commissioned a study by the Univ to assess how solar access affects pedestrians in central parks:

http://www.clr.utoronto.ca/PAPERS/srfinal.html

I worked in Davis, CA, which had some very strict solar access requirements, but none that I can think of for greenways. Although they are not specifically called solar access standards, you can often find restrictions on height/mass around greenway and river corridors throughout the US. But like I said, the standards are for a variety of reasons, one of which is solar access. If you are interested in these standards as well, I can look around for some.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Damn I can't remember the name of the book. It was white with red letters...

NRPA??

Has all the guidelines you need for solar orientation of recreation facilities. Let me try to dig it up and I'll get back to you. Or you may want to look through previous posts on here...I think we've been through this before.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
34
Yes, the City of Toronto has developed pretty good guidelines with respect to shadow impacts on parks, residential development, etc.
 

ownzone

Member
Messages
10
Points
1
Thanks for the suggestions! I've now unearthed some of the Toronto codes pertaining to "angular planes" for the mixed use districts and some specific streets. Problem is, the code (not available on-line) doesn't include any statements of purpose as to why these are imposed. Any additional suggestions or background from you Canadian experts would be welcome.

As for the recreational standards, I checked "Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture" but didn't find anything specific. More suggestions also welcome. Most greenways and bike trails are not located in this kind of urban "trench" condition, thus there aren't many precedents out there.
 
Messages
14
Points
1
Hi Suzanne -

If you privately send me the direction of the trail (related to true north) and the offset between the south edge of the trail and the building line, I will send you angular plane data that will satisfy your winter sunlight requirements (say, Dec 21 from 1.5 hours after sunrise to 1.5 hours before sunset). Is this for Minneapolis?

Regards -
Ralph Bouwmeester, P. Eng.
rba@sunposition.com

R. Bouwmeester & Associates
Sun & Shadow Position Specialists
Barrie, ON Canada
www.sunposition.com
 
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