2012-01-26 / Letters to the Editor

Laws of physics don’t support lawyer’s claims

I found the quote from the Providence attorney concerning the proposed wind turbine very interesting (“Turbine sparks veiled threat from state,” Jan. 12). Concern is that the shadow flicker at sunrise and sunset will cause a dangerous distraction to drivers. He further states, “It isn’t significant until you consider 10 million cars crossing per year.”

The time period when the flicker would impact the bridge traffic is from March 21 to Sept. 21, when the sun is north of the equator. The apparent position of the sun moves at 15 degrees per hour, so at the most, the impact would only be one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. Let’s break down the 10 million cars per year: That is approximately 27,000 cars per day, 1,125 cars per hour, and a total exposure of 2,250 cars during the two-hour exposure period – somewhat less than 10 million.

Another factor to consider but cannot be calculated is the number of days when clouds eliminate the flicker altogether.

The most dangerous time is around the vernal equinox and the autumnal equinox, when the sun is on the equator and both morning and evening commuters are driving directly into the rising and setting sun. A wise man once told me, “Never live west of your workplace. You will be driving into bright sun on the way to work and on the way home.”

Bill Sprague

Reservoir Circle


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