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Shabby Public Realm

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GrandSlam

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The survey specifically asks about your opinion on enclosures. How the city deals with the province is up to them. Many other parts of the world are civilized enough to manage without enclosures. I'd like to think we are as well. And for those who aren't; deal with them as individuals.
 

DarnDirtyApe

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The survey specifically asks about your opinion on enclosures. How the city deals with the province is up to them. Many other parts of the world are civilized enough to manage without enclosures. I'd like to think we are as well. And for those who aren't; deal with them as individuals.

I think they look nice. In many cases where there are no enclosures, chairs and tables have a tendency to migrate out into the street and become disorganized. That being said, I don't know that it makes sense that this have to be regulated.

I think there are many more pressing issues with regard to the "shabby public realm" ahead of patio enclosures...
 

6 Rivers

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One thing that is terrible about most of the city -- especially the suburbs -- is that the sidewalks aren't lit at night. You only get a little diffused illumination from the street lights, every couple hundred feet or so. Some stretches of sidewalk are incredibly dark because of tree canopies in the summer. You can't even make out the face of a passerby; which is potentially dangerous. There are times when I walk around my quiet, suburban neighbourhood at night and I think I'm all alone, then someone suddenly appears out of the darkness, catching me off guard. There really should be some sort of standard for sidewalk illumination; the same goes for public parks; but I digress. I would love to see the removal of all the 20+ foot tall street lights across the city and have them replaced with something more human scaled, that both, lights our roads and sidewalks. Is it really necessary to have such tall light poles on residential streets? Even arterial roads could probably be illuminated well enough with shorter light standards. How much nicer would it be to have this as the standard across the entire city (save highways)?

The following are from Pasadena, California: http://www.ledtronics.com/Media/PressReleases.aspx?pressID=234

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Of course these are way too ornate, frilly and expensive for a city like Toronto, but they would be amazing to have in our city.
 

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Kat_YYZ

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I quite agree with you, 6 Rivers. I feel the streets are too dark. I could walk past my own brother and not know him. And it affects motorists too. With the too-high lights lost in the trees, then if just one nearby lamp also has a burned-out bulb, it is really dark. Most people wear dark clothes, emerge suddenly, away from the intersection, from between parked cars to cross... really hard to see.

But the worst is when you are riding your bike. You cannot see a pothole or piece of debris on the road. If you could see it, you'd swerve to avoid it. But even if you only see it in the last second and can't swerve to avoid it -- you can at least brace yourself for it. It's a big difference, hitting a pothole with foreknowledge, both hands firmly on the wheel and your whole body ready, vs being too relaxed, maybe having unwittingly picked that moment to take one hand off the wheel to wipe your forehead or scratch your nose or something. I have two lights on the front of my handlebars, but it's still not enough.

Unfortunately there are very strong lobbies in Toronto against something they call "light pollution." :rolleyes: apparently it is more important to be able to go stargazing in the middle of the city than to have safe roads. Me, I accept that if I want to live in the city, there are things I have to give up, like being able to stargaze from right outside my apartment. I think the lower light poles that you suggest would actually reduce the amount of light unnecessarily going into the sky rather than lighting people's way. But there is the issue that the bright lamps would then be at the level of 2nd-floor bedrooms, making it difficult for people to sleep at night.

I have often looked at light poles and night lighting as a whole and wondered if the whole concept shouldn't be given a rethink. Not just different bulbs or slightly redesigned poles, but maybe some kind of radical new model.
 

salsa

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Unfortunately there are very strong lobbies in Toronto against something they call "light pollution." :rolleyes: apparently it is more important to be able to go stargazing in the middle of the city than to have safe roads. Me, I accept that if I want to live in the city, there are things I have to give up, like being able to stargaze from right outside my apartment. I think the lower light poles that you suggest would actually reduce the amount of light unnecessarily going into the sky rather than lighting people's way. But there is the issue that the bright lamps would then be at the level of 2nd-floor bedrooms, making it difficult for people to sleep at night.

As if Toronto is a good place for stargazing, which it is not.
 

6 Rivers

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Actually, the current lights are probably worse for bedrooms in houses with an upper floor. My parents' bedroom faces out onto an intersection; so there are two bright lights at around the level of their bedroom; one on the boulevard, out front of their property, and another right across the street.

What do you suggest for this new model?

Salsa, Toronto is actually a pretty decent place to view stars at night; in the burbs, at least. Some nights I can see quite a bit of them; especially on really clear, winter nights. Usually best viewed from a large park; which there are many of in the suburbs.

Isn't the city in the process of updating all street lights to LED technology? I think all of them will shine white light as well, instead of the standard sodium orange which is present across most of the city. That will be a slight improvement in terms of aesthetics and brightness; but there are still issues of pole placement being too spread apart. Shorter lights would also mean we'd need more poles located in closer proximity and more bulbs; therefore a bigger expense. Which is something that will probably keep the status quo the same for a long time.
 
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6 Rivers

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As for lights being burnt out...There was one just around the bend from my house that had been out since September; and was recently just given a temporary repair (after about a half dozen reports from me to Toronto Hydro; there's something wrong with the wiring). It was right at the corner of two streets as well and created about a football field sized area of darkness. In fact, one night I was out on one of my usual walks that I do around my neighbourhood, and I was walking home along this same, dark stretch. I was wearing this oversized, flannel jacket of my brothers -- and I must have looked really menacing -- because this girl happened to be walking home and our paths were converging (although I was maybe 30 feet away from her) and I could tell she was nervous. I ended up crossing the street once she got passed me, so she wouldn't feel like I was following her. I could see her walking hastily as I approached my house. She got to a bend in the road and I lost sight of her for about 10 seconds. I had a strong inclination that as soon as she got around the corner that she booked it down the street. As I reached said corner and walked up my driveway, I looked down the street and I could see her running, petrified and looking back, lol. I kind of felt bad, but what could I do? It wasn't my fault; but I couldn't blame her. Even I get nervous when I pass near someone on the sidewalk at night, where I live. I have no idea if they are sketchy or not. All the more reason why we need our sidewalks to be lit. People wouldn't have to look over their shoulders all the time when they're walking at night. You'd be able to spot another person from a great distance and be more prepared and secure.
 
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Kat_YYZ

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Actually, the current lights are probably worse for bedrooms in houses with an upper floor. My parents' bedroom faces out onto an intersection; so there are two bright lights at around the level of their bedroom; one on the boulevard, out front of their property, and another right across the street.

What do you suggest for this new model?
...

oh gosh, I don't even know, I'm not an engineer or anything like that. :p
There are people out there with the knowledge and imagination, they should initially just forget about the cost and politics and brainstorm some ideas -- really get creative; then see if the concepts can be adapted for implementation.
 

MisterF

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Unfortunately there are very strong lobbies in Toronto against something they call "light pollution." :rolleyes: apparently it is more important to be able to go stargazing in the middle of the city than to have safe roads. Me, I accept that if I want to live in the city, there are things I have to give up, like being able to stargaze from right outside my apartment. I think the lower light poles that you suggest would actually reduce the amount of light unnecessarily going into the sky rather than lighting people's way. But there is the issue that the bright lamps would then be at the level of 2nd-floor bedrooms, making it difficult for people to sleep at night.
The new dark sky compliant streetlights solve the issue of lights shining into people's windows. I have some of the new lights almost at eye level from my apartment and they shine hardly any light my way. Then again, the old lights didn't bother me either. That's what blinds are for.
 

6 Rivers

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The new dark sky compliant streetlights solve the issue of lights shining into people's windows. I have some of the new lights almost at eye level from my apartment and they shine hardly any light my way. Then again, the old lights didn't bother me either. That's what blinds are for.

Can you give me more info, or provide a link where I can learn more about the new lights?

I found this: http://www.gettorontomoving.ca/Induction_Streetlighting.html

Are we getting induction lighting or LED for our new streetlight bulbs?
 
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