Sharring experiences in urban infrastructure delivery.

Archive for the ‘Sidewalk Features’

Historic Street Brick–Reclaiming and Lessons Learned

July 15, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Recent Posts, Sidewalk Features, Special Surfaces

20030530 OldBrickStockatCOH_0038.JPGDuring the eight years of street reconstruction in downtown Houston Texas we found many historic street bricks that paved the early streets of Houston in the mid-1800s. The City’s policy was to save the bricks for use in future projects. Two projects have been identified and so there was a need to sort the stored bricks and finally return some of them to service. (more…)

The Travis St. Bayou Portal

July 04, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Recent Posts, Sidewalk Art, Sidewalk Features

CIMG1450.JPGThe Travis St. Portal to Buffalo Bayou was built by the Cotswold Project as a pedestrian connection from the street down to a future walkway along the bayou. The winding, tree lined and lighted walkway is on the west side of  the Travis St. bridge on the south side of the bayou across the street from the Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant. (more…)

Pavers and the Importance of Sand

June 24, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Amenities, Recent Posts, Sidewalk Features

Note sand washing to surface and spalding of corners.Concrete unit pavers are getting a bad reputation in some circles as they have not provided a care-free pavement. But, there is no such thing as care-free pavement. Some just need more care than others and that is the case with concrete unit pavers–particularly in high traffic situations in a wet environment. Ironically loose sand is what holds them together. (more…)

Required Graffiti or Utility Locate Painting?

April 18, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Misc Urban Infrastructure, Sidewalk Features, Underground Utilities

CIMG7793.JPGState law in Texas requires someone digging in the public rights of way to call “One Call” who then notifies all utilities the area where digging may occur so the utility can mark the locations of their underground facilities. That is a good as it preserves the services expected by the utility’s customers and the utility does not have to make repairs thereby increasing the cost to the customers. It also protects the workers doing the excavation as, for example, hitting a high-voltage duct bank is not a healthy thing.

But the issue is in the application of the markings. There are published guidelines for the style and frequency of the markings as well as the color. The color indicates the business type of the utility, e.g. telecommunications, power transmission, natural  gas. The frequency of the marks can remove all doubt about the location as well as remove all value of the classy, upscale look paid for by the public. (more…)

Banners–Nice but Demanding

March 25, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Placemaking, Sidewalk Features

Banners in Houston cannot include "advertising"  so are artistic as seen here.Banners are a favorite addition to the streetscape as they create a festive feel and a sense of pageantry. But they are not inexpensive to install and maintain and will take more staff time than you may think. One of the big issues in Houston is what is allowable on the banner–the type of content–and the quality of the image. In Houston, we have a very strict sign ordinance that comes into play as soon someone wants to use the banner as a sign depicting a company, service or product. There is a short list of special provisions that allow for deviations from the norm for specific areas and for very large events. (more…)

Leaves Stamped in Concrete

March 24, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Sidewalk Features

One day we were talking about the gaps in the row of trees planned for Dallas Street due underground obstructions and wishing there was a way to continue the theme.CIMG0037.JPG The project architect wanted to continue the theme of the concrete squares and we also wanted to carry on the tree/leaf theme.  I recalled leaves stamped into the concrete sidewalk around trees in Vancouver when we were there for the International Downtown Association conference. That quickly lead to speculation about how to create the stamp of a leaf.  (more…)