Inspecting Your Parking Lot After Severe Weather

Severe weather is a fact of life. It happens all over the United States and pretty much everywhere else in the world. Some states get hurricanes, others get tornadoes, some get scorching heat, while others severe cold….some states get just about all of those things. Severe weather isn’t going away either, as our planet’s climate fluctuates, severe weather is on the upswing in most places as well. It seems every year, there is a new severe weather phenomenon. Polar vortexes over Canada and the Northern US, the Derecho that hit the Midwest last year (a kind of inland hurricane), and larger, more frequent wildfires in the West are all facts of life.

Anyone in the construction field needs to know how to deal with these things. Some contractors are making more resilient buildings. New construction methods are popping up that are resistant to extreme heat, cold, wind, and flooding. But what about paving contractors? What can we do to adapt to severe weather? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make asphalt paving tougher against the forces of nature. One of the best ways is frequent maintenance. Part of good, regular maintenance is parking lot inspection. Read on for our guide to parking lot inspection for the after effects of severe weather.

Severe storms

Inspecting your lot after heavy rain and wind is important. Removing debris and looking for areas where water gets in makes the lot safer and more inviting. After any severe storm you will want to do a full lot inspection.

Clear debris

Obviously removing foreign objects from your lot is important; it clears up space for commuters, helps make the area safer for cars and pedestrians, and makes your business look cleaner and more professional.

  • Clear out branches, sticks, and leaves on the pavement.
  • Get rid of standing water.
  • Be sure to clear out your drains so that future rain will be able to make it to the sewers and out of your lot.
  • Look for other hazards like fallen power poles, signs, and building parts that may have been knocked into your lot. Have a plan to safely removing them (often paving contractors or construction contractors can do this).

Look for other possible future damage points

  • Is there a dead tree with big branches that tend to break off and fall in your parking lot in heavy wind? It may be necessary to remove that tree altogether.
  • Look for areas where water has pooled. These areas will frequently be where water gets the chance to get into paving and cause further damage.
  • Examine cracks and potholes. These are the main areas of water ingress. Other fluids can also enter by these means.

Extreme cold

Cold is a major reason for asphalt damage, because water inside or under the asphalt expands when it gets colder, and it expands more when it freezes. Not only can ice do damage to your lot, it creates a huge safety hazard. Icy driving paths and walkways are a major threat in cold temperatures.

Check for/remove ice and snow

You may have noticed a theme: water on a parking lot is bad. This is true whether the water is in liquid or solid form.

  • Clear snow off of your lot immediately. It poses a hazard for various reasons. It makes it harder to see markings, it is slippery, and it can cover even more slippery ice. Finally, snow will eventually melt….and that meltwater will make its way into your paving and cause damage. Snow may also cover other debris which can injure people and damage cars.
  • Check for ice and remove it. You can do so by applying salt or other mixtures that will mix with water and lower its freezing temperature. Ice is a hazard for the same reason snow is, but it is worse. It’s harder to get traction, and it is harder to spot.
  • As always, look for cracks/potholes that may have been covered by the ice and snow. Without treatment, these will only get worse.

Look for large uneven parts of the paving

Unevenness that appears in the winter is known as frost heave, which occurs when water is in your lot and goes through the freeze-thaw cycle. It causes chunks of asphalt or concrete to lift and break. It can also be caused by tree roots, but if you notice it after freezing, then you have frost heave.

Extreme heat

Heat causes expansion in paving. This leads to cracks. These cracks may start out small, but untreated, they will get larger over time and eventually become unsightly and dangerous.

  • Look for worn/faded striping. UV rays can damage painting and even melt it away. This makes your lot harder to navigate and more dangerous. Bright and clear paint also makes your lot more attractive and professional looking. This can also be a sign of oxidation- when UV rays make the entire structure weaker over time.
  • Small networks of cracks/uneven surfaces. A lot may not change temperature at the same rate, causing one area to expand while another may not. This can exacerbate cracking and potholing.
  • Tracking is when little bits of the asphalt aggregate become loose from the lot. They will stick to tires and shoes. Tracking happens when extreme heat melts the binder enough that parts of the asphalt become loose.

How to handle damage after extreme weather

If you have noticed any of the above-mentioned problems in your parking lot, then you are in the right place. Shoot us a message at Reliable Paving, we will be happy to fix damage and clear debris, any time of year. Regardless of the weather conditions, holes and cracks should be addressed immediately. Fortunately our services include:

  • Re-striping/painting.
  • Asphalt repair and pothole filling.
  • Laying new asphalt.
  • Full-depth repair.
  • We also use both hot and cold mix, so we can pave regardless of the time of year.

Keep you parking lot safe and looking good year round with Reliable Paving.

parking lot

Designing a Safer Parking Lot

7 Guidelines for making parking lots less likely places for accidents.

Parking lots are all over the US. Although they are generally considered safe and relatively uninteresting places, they are more dangerous than most think. In fact, a large amount of car accidents in the US happen in parking lots, especially to children, according the NHTSA (The NHTSA is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Many of these accidents are backovers. These are accidents occurring between pedestrians and vehicles, in which a vehicle reverses into the pedestrian. Other factors that contribute to parking lot dangers are that drivers are more likely to be distracted or at ease while in a parking lot than they are driving. This means there are more drivers in lots who are on their phones, their GPS devices, or otherwise not paying attention to where they are going.

There is no accounting for drivers acting unsafe. But what can be done to make parking lots less likely places for accidents to happen? Particularly, what can be done from the side of business owners to make parking lots safer? As consummately professional paving contractors at Reliable Paving, we are always looking for ways for our work to make people safer.

1. Ensure that the whole parking lot has proper lighting

This one is pretty obvious. When pedestrians and motorists can see better, they are less likely to get into accidents. There are also a few less immediately noticeable benefits. They include the fact that people simply feel safer in well-lit parking lots. People tend to avoid walking through or using poorly-lit parking areas. This means that businesses will pull in more customers at night if their lots have good lighting.

Additionally, not all lighting is created equal. Many businesses skimp on lighting so they don’t have to foot another bill. LEDs can be used to provide cheaper lights. Ensure that the entire lot is uniformly-lit, so there aren’t shadowed areas and corners. Uniform lighting applies to color too, it can be visually confusing to be in a lot with differing colors of light source. A nice, soft color also determines how well your eyes see in the dark. Finally, protect your investment by choosing corrosion-resistant fixtures.

2. Use 90° two-way parking aisles

As backovers are one of the main causes of parking lot-related injury these make sense. Letting people pull through spaces (two-way parking) reduces the need of cars to back up when they exit a space. Additionally, 90° aisles usually provide more room between them for maneuvering. Unfortunately, the added space makes motorists feel safer, so they tend to drive faster in lots with 90° aisles. Make sure to have plenty of speed limit signage as a complement.

3. Improve building frontage roads

These are the spaces between the parking areas and the store where pedestrians walk in and cars drive through. These are the main areas that connect the parking area to city streets. There are plenty of things that can improve safety in these areas.

Add bollards. Those yellow poles you see outside of big stores serve a purpose. They keep vehicles from driving into them. It’s estimated around 60 accidents of this type occur per day around the country.

Widen frontage roads. When cars are parked too closely to the storefronts, it’s harder to see where other vehicles and pedestrians are coming from.

Add speed bumps. These serve to remind vehicles that pedestrians are in the area.

Pedestrian crossings with signage should be included.

4. Raised islands at parking row ends

Even if the spaces are two-way, raised islands at the ends is a good idea. They prevent illegal parking at row ends, thus ensuring more room to drive and better visibility. Both of the benefits from raised islands are conferred to pedestrians and drivers. 

5. Place parking behind buildings

This enables pedestrians to walk right up to the business without having to go through the lot. Simply taking out or decreasing the driver-pedestrian interaction makes the lot safer for everyone.

6. Control traffic in the lot

Keep things simple and running smoothly, and accidents will decrease. There are a few things we can do to ensure that traffic flows safely. Not only is controlling traffic good for safety, but it also results in vehicles and pedestrians entering and exiting more quickly. This frees up parking spaces more quickly for new customers, and can lead to a faster rate of business.

Have clearly marked, separate entrances and exits.

Speed bumps (not just on frontage roads).

Ensure your lines/painting on the asphalt is clear and not degraded.

One-directional traffic lanes between parking aisles.

7. Excellent signage

One simple improvement that can be applied to just about every step in making parking lots safer is to add or improve your signage. Proper signs and directions don’t just apply to painting on the asphalt paving, but also everywhere else.

  • Have signs for walkways.
  • Ensure your asphalt lines and painting are clear.
  • Speed limit signs posted at entrances and throughout the lot.
  • Disabled parking spaces are clearly posted with signs and painted spots.
  • Entrances and exits are clearly marked.
  • Driving directions are from signs.
  • Signs telling you where you are not allowed to park.
  • Signs should be clear, undamaged, and well-lit.

Pave smart, pave safely

At Reliable Paving, we’ve been doing this for a long time. With over 35 years of experience under our belts, and a large, professional team of over 200, we are up to just about any asphalt paving job. Our services include not only paving, but also lot maintenance and care. We can re-stripe, repair asphalt, ensure ADA compliance, and much more. Your business is an investment, and the parking lot is often the first thing that customers will experience when they come to you. Ensure it’s as safe and as good of shape as it can be with us. If you want to build a safe parking area, or you want to modify yours to be safer, don’t hesitate to call us today.

workers laying asphalt

Why Is Asphalt Quieter To Drive On Than Concrete?

When it comes to paving for roads and driveways, there are quite a few choices. Everything from marble to synthetics to recycled materials make for good composites that can handle pedestrian traffic and vehicle traffic. However, when it comes to high-vehicle traffic areas, namely parking lots, roads, and driveways, concrete and asphalt are the main choices. 

Deciding between asphalt and concrete can be tough. Applying the right materials will result in a longer life for the paved surface, less necessary maintenance, and lower costs in the end. Ultimately, asphalt usually wins, especially for outdoor scenarios, and for lessening noise pollution. 

Road noise is one of the biggest complaints about urban and suburban living in the US. Not only do people get irritated by the sound of cars driving around constantly, but it can even lower property values. Have you ever compared the cost of housing next to a highway versus housing a few miles (or even blocks) away? You will notice that the proximity to loud traffic is a major reason people live where they do, and a major factor in home prices.

Why asphalt is superior?

Asphalt paving is almost always better. Why? Various reasons combine to make it more versatile, durable, and easier to maintain.

Asphalt can withstand climate variances more

If you live in an extremely hot, or extremely cold seasonal place, you know what kind of damage can happen to paving. Both asphalt and concrete show these signs. Rutting, cracking, potholes, and the like appear and take ages to repair…the other option is replacing the paving altogether, which is neither cheap nor fast. 

Asphalt is still better at withstanding the weather though. Different asphalt can be made to be porous, so water flows through it and doesn’t cause damage. Asphalt also absorbs heat and has less contraction in cold than concrete. When snow accumulates on a paved surface, asphalt contributes to melting faster than concrete does. In general, moisture evaporates faster from asphalt than concrete. Additionally, asphalt can be seal coated, so it can withstand the weather even more. 

Asphalt is usually cheaper

Asphalt is one of the US’s most recycled materials. Even when a road is replaced, it can simply be pulled up, re-pulverized, and laid again as new asphalt. This makes replacing and laying it in the first place much cheaper. 

Asphalt takes less time to pave

Asphalt paving simply takes less time to set and become usable than concrete. On a busy road this saves people time, money, and inconvenience. 

Asphalt is safer

Higher traction leads to better skid resistance and vehicle handling for asphalt than concrete. This makes everything safer for everyone: cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, wild animals, and anyone else on the road.

What exactly makes asphalt quieter than concrete?

In order to understand the why, we need to know a few terms.

Rigid pavement

This uses concrete to form a stiffer foundation. It has high flexural strength (think force divided by area). It is great for parking lots that are indoors. Cracks or damage often can not be repaired, and become permanent. Additionally, the hardness of it means that it can not absorb sound. You may have even heard your own car engine or breaks echoing in a concrete indoor parking lot.

Flexible pavement

This is made with bituminous – AKA asphalt – materials. The material is laid in multiple layers. As a result, it has some flexibility which can absorb the impacts of fast-moving vehicles extremely well. Its porous nature has many benefits, among them sound reduction.

Bituminous pavement is quieter because of the air bubbles inside of it. These air bubbles absorb sound by up to 3-5 decibels. Decibels are measured on an exponential scale, so this may not seem like much, but it is. For example, 40 decibels is 1/8 as loud as 70 decibels. 

Not only is flexible pavement good at lowering noise, it’s so good that it’s more effective than sound barriers. Those are the big walls you see separating residential neighborhoods from highways. 

So, what’s the takeaway?

  • Flexible pavement is made from bituminous material, AKA asphalt.
  • Asphalt is full of little holes that absorb air and sound waves, making it quieter as cars pass on it.

Developments in quiet asphalt

Quiet pavement is a relatively new development that is being studied all over the US. California and Washington have both been doing extensive research on it. These studies have pointed to asphalt’s ability to absorb sound much better than other paved surfaces, namely concrete. 

In the future, we can expect asphalt to become more flexible by being more porous. It will also use more layers, which will help with decreasing impact stress. 

Are there any advantages to concrete?

So why use concrete at all?

  • Concrete roads can last 20-40 years, 2-4 times longer than asphalt.
  • Vehicles can get 1-7% better fuel efficiency on concrete roads.
  • Lower chances of potholes forming.
  • Better suited to high volume of large vehicles, such as semi trucks.
  • Concrete can be recyclable. 
  • Production of NEW concrete roads is somewhat more environmentally friendly than new asphalt roads.

Concrete isn’t all bad, but it certainly has its limitations

  • Entire slabs need to be replaced because repairing it is so difficult.
  • Costs more and takes longer than asphalt to repair and install.
  • Bumpy rides come from differently-leveled slabs.
  • Can be more dangerous for some vehicles, because there may be space between slabs.
  • Surface does not absorb liquids, chemicals, and other things like concrete does. 

Needless to say, we can safely say it makes more sense to use asphalt as your road paving surface.

Unsure what to pave with?

If you don’t know what paving material is the best for your road, parking lot, or driveway, send us a message. We are a professional, experienced, and multifaceted group of paving contractors, who are ready to provide the best paving surfaces at the best prices. Reliable Paving can help you lay new pavement, repair the old, repaint, and even help with ADA compliance. Save yourself time and money by choosing the right paving.

Freeze-Thaw Cycles in Concrete

The effects of the freeze-thaw cycle in concrete and how you can prevent them.

The freeze-thaw cycle is one of the main catalysts of erosion. Yes, water and wind impact can also slowly wear down even the toughest rock over millions of years. But one of the fastest and most efficient ways to break stone, rock, asphalt, brick, and concrete, is the freeze-thaw cycle. In fact, water penetration/expansion is the primary cause of concrete and asphalt degradation.

What is this cycle?

The freeze-thaw cycle is something we have covered quite bit, and is the primary reason to get your asphalt seal coated. Basically, what happens is that water gets inside and below the surface of the asphalt. From there it naturally expands and contracts as the weather changes. Normally, this change in water volume damages concrete, but doesn’t totally destroy it. The weather change from night to day, or spring-fall is not too serious. It’s when the water that’s inside concrete starts to freeze that it becomes a serious problem.

When water gets into concrete at all, you are going to have a bad time. It will bleed into small cracks, and then get into smaller and smaller crevices, all the while creating more. Basically, water gets in through a crack system and then extends and deepens that same crack system. Imagine it like a network, or the shape of a spider web.

Once water that’s inside your concrete freezes, then you have an even bigger problem. Freezing water takes up significantly more volume than liquid water, whether the liquid water is hot or cold. This seriously expands the cracks, making existing ones much larger and creating new ones for the water to get deeper inside. Untreated, freezing and melting water can completely destroy concrete or asphalt paving in just a few years.

What to look for

Crack propagation

Unfortunately, freezing water may cause internal cracking, which is hard to notice. If you notice cracking that looks like it originated from its interior, or beneath it, then you may have damage from the freeze-thaw cycle. Here is a good guide for identifying various types of concrete cracks.

Surface spalling

This happens when chunks break off of the surface of the concrete. It is a problem that gets worse over time, because when the surface breaks off, the aggregate beneath is exposed. The concrete below the surface is not usually sealed against water, so once it is exposed, expect the damage to come in even faster. Spalling can even reveal the rebar/structure at the core of the concrete. If this happens, you may need a replacement if the concrete is structural.

Heaving

Heaving, often called frost heave, is when the ground below the concrete lifts many inches and the concrete can not move with it. This causes the concrete to lift and break. Frost heave is one of the main ways that concrete is damaged. It’s incredibly difficult to make sure that moisture stays out of the ground below concrete thanks to groundwater and seepage from underground pipes.

The problem may not be due to water though. Tree roots beneath the concrete can cause the same issue.

Preventing freeze-thaw damage to your concrete

Deicing

One of the best ways to ensure your concrete doesn’t get water in it is the use of deicing chemicals. These chemicals work by lowering the temperature needed by water to freeze. When these chemicals, like sodium chloride (you know, salt), are placed on the concrete surface, they mix with water that falls on that surface. When the water does penetrate the concrete, it is unable to freeze and will (mostly) harmlessly drain out. If you live in a place that gets snow, then keeping all moisture out of your concrete is a lost cause, and you need to adapt to what does get in. Here’s a great list of other deicing mixtures.

Applying a sealer

Just like asphalt, you can apply a sealer to the surface of concrete. A hydrophobic coating will help make the concrete resistant to water penetration. Apply a sealer only after the concrete has fully-cured, and before you use an deicing agent. It also needs to be used before a freeze-thaw cycle has occurred on the concrete, usually in warmer temperatures, so before autumn has set in.

Good construction practices

One of the best ways to ensure your concrete isn’t damaged in the first place is to make sure the construction is done right from the get-go.

Controlling environmental water

Before beginning a paving project, you should make sure that the area is well-irrigated. Gutters, drip edges, and slightly inclined concrete planes help ensure that water drains away from and off of concrete.

This goes for groundwater as well. Before concrete is placed, the earth around it should be well-drained. Earth around concrete should also slope away from it a little to prevent groundwater from flowing toward the concrete. Flashing can also be used to ensure water flows away from the wall structures.

Concrete slabs need to have some wiggle room

No matter your best efforts, water will sometimes get into and under concrete. This will cause expansion and if the concrete has nowhere to expand to, it will break. Make sure that concrete slabs are able to move a little bit with the earth below them. If they can do this, then heaving will cause significantly less fracturing and cracking of concrete than it would otherwise. You can place small barriers between slabs of concrete, using asphalt, wood, or rubber to give your concrete expansion joints. These joints provide some cushion so the concrete can expand without breaking.

Is your concrete damaged?

Do you have freeze-thaw damage on your concrete? Would you like to get it fixed or prevent future damage? If so, you’re at the right place. Reliable Paving, is a large, experienced paving contractor company with the skill and professionalism to get your paving fixed, or done right the first time. Our concrete services include (but are not limited to): repair and sealing. If you want to make sure you can resist the frost, then let us know today, and we can start weatherproofing your concrete.

What Are Commercial Property Managers Responsible For?

11 Responsibilities of commercial property managers.

A property manager for a commercial space has quite a few different responsibilities. Commercial properties vary in nature, but a manager for these areas still has a fairly similar set of jobs to do. Generally, a commercial property is defined as a place where renters pay a landlord to either live or conduct business. Commercial properties include retail and apartments, as well as businesses providing services. As a rule, you can expect commercial property managers to do much work with renters.

An owner hires a commercial property manager when s/he wishes to outsource the day-to-day work of dealing with renters and the property. The manager will thus take care of the property. S/he will handle problems between renters and other renters, as well as the landlord. Finally, the manager will ensure everything is in accordance with the law.

1. Property maintenance

Taking care of the property is one of the main responsibilities of a commercial property manager. This job ensures that the property stays in good condition and is safe. The job includes not only making sure that the property itself retains its high quality. A manager must also make sure renters are observing occupancy laws such as the number of people and the cleanliness of a space. In some climates, maintenance also includes snow removal, flood mitigation, and fixing storm damage.

Tenant-related responsibilities

Of course, nearly everything a property manager does is tenant-related. However, the jobs that s/he must do specifically for and regarding tenants can be broken down into a few different and important categories.

2. Rent

One could argue that this is actually 3 separate responsibilities. The property manager must set, collect, and adjust rent. Collecting rent is arguably the main responsibility of any landlord. Without rental income, there is no budget to maintain the property. A property manager must set up a system to collect rent, such as a website for paying or simply and address to send checks. Also, they must include deadlines as well as punishments for late payments. Finally, s/he needs to have some system in place to know who has paid rent and when.

A good property manager will also need to know the market to set rental rates competitively. This may include increasing or decreasing rent according to property values.

3. Tenant screening

Before a tenant can move into a commercial property, the manager must perform some due diligence. This can include a credit check, employment confirmation, past work experience, and more. Screening is done to prevent frequent tenant turnover.

4. Managing tenant turnover

Regardless of how good the screening is and how favorable the property is, there will be some tenant turnover. It is the property manager’s job to ensure a smooth transition of one tenant out of the property and the next one into it. This means having a rental agreement with clear moving in and out dates. It also means ensuring the apartment is clean, safe, and ready for the next tenant to move in.

5. Managing tenant complaints

When tenants complain, it’s the property manager who gets to figure out a solution. It could be a broken vending machine in the building, or an apartment having loud parties. Either way, it’s the property manager’s job to listen to complaints from tenants, and solve them. These complaints may usually be banal, but they also may involve handling emergencies. If tenants lodge a complaint about an unsafe part of the property that goes ignored, someone could be hurt or killed. That accident would then be the property manager’s fault.

6. Bringing in new tenants

Property managers, especially in residential buildings, are expected to bring in new renters. This means s/he should know the basics of marketing a property. This involves a bit of everything. The job involves keeping the property clean, well-kept, and attractive, advertising, a setting a competitive rental price.

7. Landlord-tenant law management

The property manager is responsible for knowing the latest laws for landlords and tenants. S/he must make sure that the tenants know and abide these laws as well. Laws that are important include lease contracts, property safety standards, and the laws regarding rent and complaints. Handling tenants who violate the laws is also a property manager’s job.

8. Managing the budget

Collecting rent isn’t the only thing the property manager does with money. S/he must balance the income with the expenses. They also have to spend money on maintenance, security, taxes, and insurance. Budget management is the main factor deciding whether a commercial property stays in business or not.

9. Building security

This can be as simple as making sure that each door has a working lock and each tenant has a working key. It can also involve managing a security company, and other built-in security measures.

Supervision

General supervision of the other workers at a property is another responsibility.

10. Supervising employees at the building

A property manager’s job is also the monitoring of building employees. Security, maintenance contractors, landscapers, and more are all under the supervision of the property manager. The property manager has to ensure they are doing their jobs professionally, while legally adhering to their contracts.

11. Vendor management

A good property manager needs to network. S/he will require an extensive network of suppliers, contractors, and tradesmen. This ensures the property can be maintained and supplied properly at all times. Even the most dedicated manager won’t have time to perform all renovations by hand.

For concrete details on a commercial property manager’s responsibilities, take a look at this job description.

Why hire a property manager?

Hopefully, after reading this, you can see the value in having a good property manager. Their job is to do the everyday stuff of building management that you, the owner, don’t have time or skill to do. At Reliable Paving, we focus on asphalt paving, ADA compliance, asphalt repairs, maintenance, and seal coating. We know how valuable it is to make sure your property is in good shape. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We are more than just paving contractors, feel free to contact us for advice on how to manage your property.

Guide To Speed Bump Types

You’ve probably seen — and felt, all kinds of different speed-reducing surfaces on the road. They all function differently, but have the same goal: getting drivers to slow down.

Bumps, humps, and those things that make your car vibrate when you drive over them are all found on the road these days. You’ve probably seen and driven over quite a few different ones yourself. As you have probably noticed, they all have a different look and feel. Maybe you are thinking about having some installed in your businesses parking lot or driveway, but don’t know what the best choices are. Well, then, you are in luck, read on for Reliable Paving’s guide to speed bumps.

Speed bumps definition

Speed bumps are defined as a “traffic-calming” measure designed to slow down vehicles. They are oft used in residential and school zones, but they will also be found in some commercial/medical areas, construction sites, and anywhere that needs cars to go slowly. They exist to make life easier and safer for pedestrians, cross traffic, drivers themselves, and everyone in general.

In the US, they are about 2-6 inches high and placed crosswise in front of oncoming traffic. Speed bumps vary in wide according to their type and uses. Smaller portable ones will be a few feet up to 6 feet (1.83 m) wide. Some asphalt-poured speed bumps will be dozens of feet wide if they are designed to cross an entire road or parking lot. The length of a speed bump varies as well. On a highway, you might see much longer speed bumps, designed to have an effect on large trucks with more wheels.

Materials

Rubber and plastic Speed Bumps

Many speed bumps are not made of concrete or asphalt paving. They are actually high-density rubber or recycled plastic. You have probably seen that type, as they are noticeable thanks to their bright yellow/black color in contrast to the brownish grayish black of the road’s paving.

Ultra-dense rubber speed bumps serve the same purpose of calming traffic with some other serious benefits:

  • They are cheap. They can be ordered online from specialty traffic stores as well as larger sales sites like E bay and Amazon.
  • They can often be installed quite easily, without professional assistance.
  • Rubber and plastic speed bumps are durable. They will last just as long as poured asphalt or concrete speed bumps.
  • Rubber and plastic speed bumps are also versatile, they come in various types.
  • Rubber and plastic speed bumps are a good environmental choice. They are made from either recycled plastic or recycled rubber. The rubber itself often comes from tires, resulting in more efficient fabrication using less resources.
  • Noise is reduced when using plastic and rubber speed bumps. They have a much finer surface than asphalt and thus result in lower frictional noise with the tire.
  • Speed bumps made from rubber and plastic do less damage to cars than asphalt. They won’t scrape or dent the undersides of car that hang low or hit them too fast.

Asphalt

Of course, probably the most common type of speed bump is made from asphalt or concrete. They are typically poured and set on-site, by professional paving contractors.

  • Asphalt speed bumps are easy to install when having the road paved the first time. They can receive the benefits of care for the newly installed road, such as seal coating. Additionally, asphalt speed bumps can have maintenance and repairs performed on them when the road is being cared for as well. They will degrade at about the same rate as the road, making proper maintenance for both quite simple.
  • Because they can be set when the road is constructed, they are often more economical than rubber and plastic, which have to be installed later.
  • Asphalt speed bumps are also often made from recycled materials. Asphalt is one of the most recycled materials on the planet. Almost all new asphalt paving in the US is made from at least partially recycled asphalt.
  • Asphalt speed bumps are easy to customize. Rather than having a single type that can be ordered from the store, they can be made to fit various different dimensions or tailored for specific road conditions.
  • More durable than other types of speed bumps. Obviously, asphalt is harder than rubber and plastic, thus, they will last longer on average.

Types of speed bumps

Temporary/portable speed bumps

These plastic and rubber bumps can be attached to the roadway at the tips and unattached when needed. Because they are usually placed somewhere that doesn’t have them, they are usually brightly colored to alert drivers who will not be expecting speed bumps in that area. These speed bumps also can either be made to fold up or roll up to be more easily transported when not in use.

Reflective speed bumps

Exactly what the name says, these are speed bumps with bright reflective striping. These of course are designed with the goal of slowing traffic and getting the attention of drivers. Places where drivers need to be extra careful, like hospital emergency room driveways, will often employ these traffic-calming measures. Some speed bumps are simply brightly painted over, others may have a reflective plastic element installed.

Oversize speed bumps

Larger speed bumps are often used in slower traffic areas to ensure that the traffic goes down to 5-15mph. They will be placed in alleys or in driveways to make absolutely certain that the driver knows that they need to slow it down.

Black speed bumps

Designed to blend in with the road, black bumps are often made from asphalt, but can also be rubber.

Heavy-duty speed bumps

These 6-inch high bumps are designed for maximum stopping power.

Paving professionals here to help you

If you are on the fence about what speed bumps you need, then why not ask the pros? Reliable Paving has been in the paving contractor business for over 35 years. We know everything from repairing and paving new road to re-striping, maintaining, and of course, speed bump installation. If you aren’t sure what bump is best for slowing traffic in your area, contact us today.

 

Parking Lot Angle Guide

Parking lots can have cars placed at 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90° angles. The following is our guide on which is best for your parking lot.

There’s a surprising amount of forethought that goes into parking lots. They need to be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. They need to have visible and maintained painting/striping. Signage and lighting need to be absolutely clear and visible as well. Additionally, they need to take into considerations things like how fast people will be going, how many pedestrians there will be, and much more. One thing many business owners forget is that the parking lot is the first thing most customers see when they come to that business. It sets the tone for what the interaction will be like. A rutted, damaged lot will immediately put people off and make them more on-edge than a well-maintained visually appealing parking lot. You should keep your lot looking its best, because it leaves a good impression on people.

This guide is about what angle your parking spaces should be at. Parking angle may seem like a minor detail, something that only paving professionals and city planners care about, but it makes a difference.

What does parking angle affect?

Parking angle makes a big difference on a few aspects of your lot.

  • How many cars can you fit in an area? This determines how many cars can fit either in a parking lot or on a street.
  • Are parts of the parking lot one-way? This will be really important depending on the parking angle….in fact, one-way might be the only option with certain parking angles.
  • How much room do you need to leave for other cars to get by? If there is two-way traffic between the parked cars, then you need at least two lanes worth of space. If there is one-way traffic only, you can get by with less space.
  • How much space do you want to give pedestrians/non-motorists? People need to leave their cars eventually and go home or into your business. Parking angle and the lot design in general will affect their experience doing this.
  • What about safety? Parking angle effects how people are backing out of spaces, either into traffic or into the parking lot.
  • Is holding up traffic an issue? If traffic around your business shouldn’t be slowed down, this also affects what parking angle is best.

Important Stats

When we talk about parking lot angles, we will also throw a few numbers in.

  • Stall width/length- This is how wide/long the area the car will park in is.
  • Row- this is a row of spaces together. Its area is a function of the stall width, length, and angle.
  • Aisle- this is the area nearby the parking space for cars to drive in when they enter and exit the space.
  • Single/double rows and aisles- single/double refers to one-way or two-way vehicle traffic.

Of course, there are plenty more stats about each angle of parking space, but we figure this should be enough for a basic guide to the various angles.

For each of our parking stalls, we are assuming the following:

Stall Width: 9 feet.

Stall Length: 18 feet.

The aisle width will vary with each angle.

30° Angle

This is the tightest parking angle that most lots use. It’s often used because it provides better maneuverability and reduces delays of cars getting into and out of the spot. The tight angle to the road simply allows for easier access. Of course, the trade-off is fewer cars can fit in the lot total.

Aisle width: 12 feet.


45° Angle

This is one of the most common angles you will see in lots. It’s often in grocery stores, malls, and anywhere where a lot of cars are parking and moving. It can accommodate more vehicles than a 30° spot and thus is better for high-concentration areas. 45° is a great balance of fitting the maximum parked cars in a space while keeping things moving and ensuring that there aren’t major bottlenecks.

Aisle width: 13 feet.

60° Angle

60° Is usually the middle ground between 45° spaces and 90° spaces. It packs more cars in than lower angles, at the expense of requiring more space in the aisle and taking more time for cars to get in and back out. Because vehicles are at 60°, they still can get into and out of spaces with relative ease.

Aisle width: 16 feet.


75° Angle

Much like the 60° angle, this angle choice is for businesses who want cars to have an easier time getting in, but want to balance that with higher lot capacity. The trade off is that more space is needed for the aisle because more turning radius is also needed for the cars at a wider angle.

Aisle Width: 20 feet.

90° Angle

One of the most common angles, this is the best for maxing out how many cars can fit in a parking lot. There is no space lost at the beginning or end of a row due to the angle. Of course, the major trade-off is that a flat 90° angle is much slower to get in and out of. This means traffic in the lot will be slower, and pedestrians will have to be more careful when walking through the aisles. 90° Stalls also require the largest Aisle Width.

Aisle Width: 24 feet.

Need help building your parking lot just right?

Everything that goes into a parking lot’s design can be complicated and lengthy. The legal requirements alone are intimidating. So why not let a professional get it done for you? Reliable Paving is an experienced, quality-focused, and dependable paving contractor. Don’t let the cheapest bidder do your parking lot’s asphalt paving, you will just wind up spending a fortune in damages/repairs down the line. Let us pave your business’s parking lot right. We can also do re-striping, ensure legal compliance, install speed bumps, seal coat, and much more. Drop us a line today to find out how we can make your parking lot the best it can be.

Fuel efficiency of a smooth road — smooth paving saves you money

How smoother paving results in using less fuel.

There are plenty of ways that paving can be greener. Recycled materials, green and efficient paving, and more result in a lower carbon footprint, lower costs, and less resources used. However, another advantage to green paving is that it also saves fuel. The long and short of it is that cars that drive on smoother surfaces use less fuel. What material is used in asphalt paving, such as the aggregate and binder makes a difference. So does how it is placed. This results in savings on fuel and lower atmospheric emissions.

Not only does the material and its construction affect fuel efficiency, so does maintenance. As our infrastructure, and how we study it improve, we are figuring out new ways to make things more sustainable. Nowadays the entire life of a road are factored into its financial costs, carbon costs, and more.

Why is it important? In the US, we spend roughly 190 billion dollars on highway, bridge, and street construction. On top of the money spent on building, how do almost all of our products get transported? At least one portion of their transport will be on a long-haul semi truck. These massive 12 and 18 wheelers burn through fuel, and smoother roads make enable them use far, far less.

The basic principle

The basic rule is that smoother pavement offers better fuel efficiency. This is a common-sense idea. Smoother asphalt paving equals less friction. Vehicles can thus put in less work in order to drive or crawl along a surface.

Automakers are constantly making vehicles more fuel efficient. These days, electric cars are beginning to dominate in some markets as well. But state and national agencies are also looking for ways to use less fuel in transportation. One of the best ways to do this is to use smoother roads. With over 2.5 million miles of paved roads, even a tiny change in each vehicle’s fuel economy can make a noticeable difference.

There are many benefits to smooth pavement

Smoother roadways are also better in-general. They are more comfortable, have less driver irritation, and are better for cars. Smooth roads result is less wear and tear on tires and shock systems, and are less likely to damage the undersides of vehicles. Anyone who has ever learned how to rollerblade or ride a bike knows how useful smooth roads are. Also, coffee drinkers who drive know the value of a smooth pavement. Finally, smooth roadways are easier to maintain. The smoother and slicker a pavement’s surface, the less upkeep it needs. Rutted and cracked pavements are easily permeated by water. Once water gets into asphalt, it’s game over. Water expands and contracts, causing further cracking and irregularity. Smooth surfaces are much more protected from water entry.

All of this adds up to a few important factors:

  • Less maintenance is required for smoother roads. 25% Smoother roads result in 10% longer pavement life
  • Cars can move more easily on smooth roads. Rolling resistance is the loss of a vehicle’s energy due to contact between pavement and the tire. The loss is usually small, only about 15-20%, compared to other forces like wind resistance. Tire baldness and the level of tire inflation only make about a 1% difference in rolling resistance. The vast majority of this benefit comes from smoothing pavement. Pavement smoothness effects this resistance by 5% or better.
  • Vehicles receive less damage on less bumpy pavements.
  • Smoother roads are more predictable for drivers. This means less chance of a vehicle going out of control and crashing.

These factors result in lower resource consumption over all. Less fuel means cost savings and less environmental impact. Less maintenance means the same thing. It also means that less pavement will be required over all to fix broken elements of pavement and damage. Finally, less upkeep will be required on cars that drive on smooth roads. Think about the difference in wear and tear on your car driving on gravel versus a well-paved highway.

If you are curious, or want more stats, here is a good long-form study. This study was made by the Missouri Department of Transportation. It’s about the relations between fuel efficiency and pavement smoothness. It shows that trucks on smoother surfaces got more mileage per gallon of gas (about .14 miles per gallon on average). SUVs got about .17 more miles per gallon. These may seem like relatively small savings. But considering how many millions of vehicles drive on the roads every year, they add up to enormous fuel and money savings in the long run.

How to get smoother pavement?

In short: use asphalt. Concrete makes good pavement, but it is not nearly as smooth as asphalt. Where concrete paving surfaces join, there are often bumps and seams. These decrease fuel efficiency. The bottom line is that asphalt pavements are easier to lay smoothly, and to keep smooth. Compound that with the facts that they also require less maintenance, and you have a recipe for success. Smooth asphalt paving results in less money spent on upkeep, car damages, and fuel.

Make sure your paving is efficient as possible

If you want to ensure your roadways are safe, efficient, and look great, then find the best paving contractor. Not only can a good contractor repair your asphalt, they can also lay the best quality (and smoothest) new asphalt. That’s what Reliable Paving lives for. We’ve been serving Texas for over 35 years, doing the best paving work available. Our services include asphalt paving, asphalt and concrete repair, seal coating, lot striping and ADA compliance. If you want your paving done right, done efficiently, and looking into a future of low costs and fuel use, contact us today.

How To Repair And Seal Cracks in Concrete

A guide for repairing concrete damage.

Cracks in concrete aren’t just an eyesore. They pose a hazard for tripping, and will result in more damage down the line. Cracks allow in water, water expands and contracts over the course of a day/year. This change in volume causes cracks to expand and causes all kinds of other types of damage. Broken out pieces, rutting, and uneven surfaces can all happen to concrete. Repairs will keep damage from spreading and getting worse. Fortunately, we’ve got a handy guide for repairing damage and cracks.

Required tools and materials

  • A tub/bucket for mixing the concrete sealant.
  • Two trowels/floats.
  • Paint brush.
  • A chisel.
  • Hammer/sledgehammer (depending on the size/depth of the crack).
  • Concrete product. This can be epoxy/latex or a mortar mix. These mixes can be called filler, sealer, and more. They vary differently according to the size and requirements of the repair job.

Mortar mix is made from:

  • Portland cement
  • Vinyl
  • Sand
  • Water


Optional:

  • Stiff fiber brush/ wire brush
  • Putty knife (for more delicate/detailed work).

Step 1

Choose your concrete repair product. There are many. You should NOT fill a concrete crack with more concrete. You will need something to fill the patch and something to seal it afterwards.

Products include:

  • Concrete sealant
  • Ready-mix concrete
  • Patching compound
  • Vinyl patch repair
  • Epoxy
  • Latex
  • Polymer structural concrete repair product
  • Self-leveling sealant

And much more. You can even by full-on kits that have just about everything you need. Choosing the right product is important, and based on a few considerations. A marine environment will require a heavy-duty seal that won’t be damaged by salt water. Structural repairs may require their own special mixtures. Light/surfaces scratches or cracks can sometimes get by with epoxy/resin mixtures. For this guide, we are assuming you are fixing outdoor concrete for general business/home use.

For general outdoor concrete repairs, you can use the following two fillers:

  • Epoxy/latex for cracks whose width is 1/8 an inch or less.
  • Mortar mix is best for larger imperfections. Big cracks and full-on holes will require mortar mix. The surface can be covered with a sealant after the main repair is complete.

Step 2

This may seem counterintuitive, but you will start by making the crack bigger. Use the chisel to make the crack wider at one side than at the other. The crack should be shaped like a carrot or daikon. The main area to be filled should be the widest. The narrow area helps to anchor the filler by providing more contact area per filler volume.

Widen the crack at the top by using your chisel and hammer. If the crack is shallow, chip away until it is about 1 inch below the surface of the plane of concrete. If the crack is especially deep, or the concrete is especially hard, you may need a sledge hammer instead. Lightly tap the chisel with the sledge hammer so you don’t accidentally do too much damage. You should also make sure to remove large loose rocks from the crack with your hammer/chisel. 

Step 3

Use your paintbrush to clean out the crack. Every small pebble and shard of loose concrete weakens the fillers grip on the inside of the crack. They take away from purchase area, and they weaken the sealer itself. Ideally your crack will have nothing but filler when it is repaired. You can use also use the stiff fiber/wire brush if the paint brush and your fingers aren’t enough for the job.

Step 4

Inexperienced people working on their homes, and sometimes even paving contractors who like to cut corners will treat this as step 1. Additionally, people will often simply use more concrete to fill the crack. This will not result in as secure and permanent a repair as using the proper product.

Using epoxy/resin in small cracks

For 1/8 an inch or less width cracks, use your epoxy/latex mix. Before use, you may have to mix the two substances. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guide on what ratio to use. Use the trowel to force the mix into the crack. You may prefer using a putty knife for this. After the crack has been filled, smooth it so it is level with the surrounding concrete. Afterwards, consult the directions on the packaging again so you know how long it will take to cure. It may need to be covered during the curing process.

Using a mortar mix in large Cracks

Mix your Portland cement, vinyl, and sand. Use as little water in the mix as possible. Blend 1 part Portland cement to 3 parts sand. A ready-mix will have the Portland cement and sand already combined. Mix 1 part water to 3 or 4 parts mix. Make sure the mortar mix is not too thick and not too runny. Stir for 5-10 minutes and let it rest 10 minutes before stirring again. The process should take at least 2 hours.

Now it’s time to fill the crack. Use the trowel to ensure the crack is completely filled. When filling with this substance, be sure to frequently press down on the area with the trowel to eliminate air bubbles. Once the crack is completely filled, make sure to level its surface with the trowel, so it is the consistent with the rest of the concrete. Let it sit for about 2 hours afterwards. Next, cover it with a plastic sheet to keep humidity levels high. Sprinkle water once per day over the next several days on the surface until it has fully hardened.

Does your asphalt or concrete need some love?

At Reliable Paving, cement, concrete, and asphalt is our bailiwick. We are consummate professionals when it comes to asphalt paving, concrete and asphalt repairs, striping, and seal coating. If you want your pavement fixed right the first time, come to us. Contact us today and we can get the job started — and finished, sooner.

Traffic Calming Strategies For Property Managers

Well-controlled traffic leads to a safer, more orderly, and efficient site

Traffic management comes with a whole host of benefits. Keeping things moving and moving well reduces road rage, results in fewer accidents, allows a business to have more customers and workers, and is safer. With fewer car crashes in a location property values go up. With more business comes increased revenue and the possibility of expansion. Less stress on the road helps ensure that customers to your business become repeat clientele. There’s no downside to having a good traffic management plan.

Read on to learn about what makes a good traffic management plan (TMP) for property managers and owners.

What is traffic calming?

According to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, traffic calming is a mix of different measures to:

  • Reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use.
  • Alter driver behavior.
  • Improve conditions for non motorized street users.

As you may have guessed, traffic calming is a way to slow and reduce traffic in an area. Even though much of the infrastructure in the US was created for automobiles, our economy, way of life, and cities are changing. As cities become higher-density individual cars have become less efficient ways to get around. Subways, busses, walking, scooters/mopeds, and cycling have all become far more common in recent years. Because of this trend, many cities and builders have started implementing plans for reducing and slowing car traffic.

Why is traffic calming a goal?

The goal of this is to create a community where automobiles are not the sole means of transportation. Benefits include connecting people more to the city they are in, and creating human-scale walkable, bikeable, and livable communities. Those who receive benefits from traffic calming include walkers, shoppers, tourists, runners, cyclists, young children, families, and mass transit riders.

According to the Department of Transportation Website there are numerous benefits to calming traffic.

  • Decreasing the amount of vehicle traffic lanes that pedestrians must cross.
  • Providing room for a median for pedestrian crossing.
  • Improving cycling safety by adding lanes for bicycles.
  • Providing on-street parking. This parking serves as a buffer between moving vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Reducing rear-end and side-swipe crashes.
  • Improving speed limit compliance.
  • Decreasing the severity of crashes when they do occur.

The result of traffic calming comes with health benefits to the public (according to the same DOT article).

  • Reduction in chronic diseases like asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Improved equity.
  • Increased physical activity.
  • Improved safety.
  • Reduced motor vehicle-related injuries.
  • Reduced motor vehicle air pollution.

What are the basics of a good traffic management plan?

A good TMP needs to have a carefully-considered balance. There needs to be a balance of proper use of space. Consideration should be spent for the types of vehicles that will be using the space, and there quantity of vehicles. Additionally, pedestrians and the types of pedestrians need to also come into the plan’s factoring.

Essentially, a good TMP should boil down to considering the road and all users of that road.

  • What is required of the road, loading zone, work zone, road, etc. from the perspective of the people who will be using the area?
  • How can the area operate safely and effectively with normal traffic alongside?
  • Address possible conflict between the people who will be using the site daily, those living in the area, and those who are passing through. 

Although TMPs and the sites they are made for vary in complexity, keeping in mind what people need as well as the site’s function will make a big difference in calming and controlling traffic.

What are some specific ways to calm traffic?

The following are things that can be built on properties in order to reduce and slow traffic.

Lane narrowing

Creating single-lane roads makes drivers more aware of pedestrians and others around them. It also frees up asphalt-paving area for green space, cycling lanes, and other uses.

Corner Radii

Narrowing corners so that they are angular rather than rounded reduces turning speed and decreases pedestrians street crossing distance.

Gateway treatments

Heavily marking a turn off from a high-speed street to a lower-speed pedestrian-heavy street alerts drivers. It lets them know they are not on a highway and to slow down. This can be done with curb extensions, markings, and raised crossings.

Pinchpoints

Narrowing the roadway, especially at busy pedestrian crossings, helps slow down motorists and make them more aware. 

Medians and islands

These spaces give pedestrians somewhere to rest while crossing a road, resulting better safety. Medians also help better organize traffic at intersections.

Mini roundabouts

Smaller roundabout with tighter turning radii ensure that cars must slow down more to use them. 

Speed humps, cushions and tables

These raised areas help control vehicle speeds and make drivers more aware of pedestrians. Speed cushions can be built narrowly, so buses aren’t effected. These methods are proven to be effective at slowing taffic.

Pavement materials 

Using things like bricks, or asphalt coated in a different color makes drivers more aware of the space they are in. Unusual textures may slow them down as well, as bricks and bumps can cause slight discomfort.

Shared streets

By removing the distinction between pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, cars are forced to slow down and respect non-motorized vehicles on the road. 

Ensure your property is safe for everyone

If you are looking for ways to calm and manage traffic on your property, Reliable Paving can help. Nobody knows roads like a paving contractor. We’ve been in the business for over 35 years and we know what works to make traffic safe, calm, and efficient. We can help you make your private property safe for pedestrians as well as help you work with the city to make safer roadways. Let us know today what you have in mind, and we can find a way to make your roads safer and better for everyone.