Sharring experiences in urban infrastructure delivery.

Archive for the ‘Misc Urban Infrastructure’

The New Avenida de las Americas

May 09, 2017 By: Tom Davis Category: Amenities, Misc Urban Infrastructure, Sidewalk Features, Sidewalk Fountains, Special Surfaces

Avenida de las Americas (ADLA) was originally to be a major north-south boulevard on the east side of downtown but is now a street only seven blocks long and can never be longer. Why? The best place for the new stadium for the Astros Baseball team (known as Minute Maid Park) was the old passenger rail station yard and that blocked the northern expansion of ADLA. Not many years later the search for the best place to locate a new multi-purpose arena was found and hence the Toyota Center blocked the southern expansion of ADLA. (more…)

Mini-cell Towers and Streetscape Preservation

March 20, 2017 By: Tom Davis Category: Misc Urban Infrastructure, Recent Posts, Underground Utilities

Downtown Houston was in the midst of a rebirth in 1999 to 2006 with many new blocks of well-designed streetscapes. By 2001, the telecom industry was booming and installing conduit and fiber optic cables with wild abandon and little regard for the streets. So, when that industry began talking in 2015 about needing to place new conduit runs to “mini-cell towers” those of us charged with increasing and protecting the public’s investments were cautious.  (more…)

Layout to Avoid Graffiti

June 06, 2011 By: Tom Davis Category: Misc Urban Infrastructure, Underground Utilities

CIMG6779.JPGWhether you call it an urban art form or graffiti tagging–said with disgust–there are places that it looks stupid no matter which side you argue. I offer this post as a simple insight that did not occur to me until I came across this location. (more…)

Repair/Resanding Concrete Unit Pavers

July 24, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Misc Urban Infrastructure, Recent Posts, Special Surfaces


In my opinion the key to a long-life concrete or brick unit paver surface–assuming the foundation structure is properly built–is re-sanding. As discussed in other articles at this blog the sand is the “glue” that “locks” the individual pavers 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…)

Urban Archeological Investigations

March 02, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Misc Urban Infrastructure

S2400031.JPGI have had the great opportunity and pleasure of managing three archeological investigations related to projects in the oldest part of Houston Texas that is also in the core of downtown. This post is to share my experiences and what I learned to hopefully assist someone who may be where I was when I began the RFP process for the first project.  I acknowledge I had the benefit of Bob Eury’s (Central Houston and the Downtown District) experience and great advice from Dr. Roger Moore that helped me avoid  learning some things the hard way. (more…)