Sharring experiences in urban infrastructure delivery.

Wheel Chair Ramps–Painting Issues

May 17, 2011 By: Tom Davis Category: Sidewalk Features, Special Surfaces

If you ever tried painting concrete in the sidewalk setting then you likely have had similar results as we have: i.e. not good. Paint does not adhere to the concrete particularly when it is grooved as ramps must be.Painted conc ramp.JPG

I am always surprised when engineers give in to the vendors’ plea to “trust us, this is different and we stand behind it”.  They stand behind it provided you can prove it was installed in the ideal temperature and humidity range they recommend and then only for the one-year warranty.  In short, the ramps in only a few years look like these photos.


Controlling Commercial Parking

July 31, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Parking, Recent Posts

CIMG9752.JPGHouston is well known for pickup trucks and I think one of the things that made some decide to drive one was our “Truck Loading Zones”. The zones were conveniently placed to serve the businesses nearby. But, any truck could park for free. So, the zone were often used by non-delivery trucks and hence did not serve the purpose for deliveries. A control scheme had to be found that provided for deliveries to the businesses in the CBD. (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…)

News Racks–Managing the clutter

August 27, 2009 By: Tom Davis Category: Sidewalk Features

The downtown area of Houston Texas was plagued by the multi-colored boxes offering “news” papers that often only provided free advertisements for used cars, real estate, etc. The common Newsracks 900 Main SW 2007-09-30 - b.jpgview was many were far from “news” but would contain some thread of news that–in the mind of the legal eagles–qualified them as something protected by the first amendment: i.e. Freedom of Speech. That left us with distribution boxes full of papers few read that quickly became a hazard to the pedestrian and private property when they fell into the main path of the sidewalk or the street; blew into the building’s glass store fronts, contents pull out and set on fire; and created what appeared to be disorder and visual blight. (more…)

Access Ramp Problems Solved

August 26, 2009 By: Tom Davis Category: Misc Urban Infrastructure, Sidewalk Features

Anyone who rebuilds a street and sidewalk has faced the issue of making the new installation meet the ADA requirements for accessibility.At Milam and Congress Street Intersection The challenges are not exceeding the maximum slopes at the crosswalks and entries into buildings while also meeting the elevation of cross-streets and making sure the gutter slopes are adequate so the area drains to the inlets. (more…)