Guides

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.

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.

What Are Speed Bumps Used For?

We’ve all experienced that sudden jolt of accidentally going over a speed bump too quickly. Those little lumps in concrete exist to ostensibly get people to go slower… at the expense of their car’s shock absorption systems. Nowadays, though, there are a few different options. Each type of design used to slow cars down on asphalt paving has a slightly different effect. Read on to find out about the design of speed bumps and how effective they are.

Speed Bumps

This is arguably the most aggressive way to get a car to slow down. Also known as traffic thresholds, sleeping policemen, or speed breakers, they are designed to slow down traffic. The defining feature of speed bumps is that they are higher, and significantly less long than other speed-lowering mechanisms. As you probably know if you are reading this, the effect of going over a speed bump is a jarring experience when too fast. At best, it’s a bit unnerving and the vehicles shock absorbents take the brunt of it. At worst, for example in a lowered car, the car bottoms out. Important machinery on the underside can get scraped, damaged, or broken off. This is especially a danger for “lowered” cars, that have their surfaces closer to the road.

Specs

Unfortunately, speed bumps are used privately most often. This means that they do not feature specific design parameters. They vary in height, length, and placement. However, there are a few defining features in the US at least.

  • Height is usually 3-6 inches.
  • Length is usually 1-3 feet.
  • Width can be one or two lanes, rarely more than two.
  • Placement:
    • Before stop signs.
    • Before intersections.
    • At dangerous locations in roadways.
    • At locations that see a lot of pedestrian traffic.
  • Materials: asphalt, concrete, rubber.
  • Costs: $700 to $6,900. The average cost is $2600. This wildly varying price depends on road width, drainage, height of the speed bump, and its design.

Design purpose

Ideally speed bumps are designed to make cars slow down to about 25 miles an hour or lower, sometimes down to 2-5 miles per hour. They are mainly used on private streets and parking lots. Many public streets do not allow them.

Benefits

  • Aggressively slow down fast drivers.
  • The threat of damage to a vehicle is a major factor in slowing down drivers.
  • Easy to install and replace.
  • They remind drivers to check for pedestrians and stop signs.
  • Reduction of rear-end collisions.

Disadvantages

  • Slow response time for emergency vehicles.
  • May divert traffic to other streets that are not designed for high volumes of vehicles.
  • Can increase noise pollution for residents of areas with speed bumps.
  • Vehicle damage.
  • Require more materials, including signs, street lighting, and striping.
  • If they lose color they become hard to see for motorists. This means they can pose a larger physical danger to drivers and vehicles.
  • Cause problems for public transit vehicles (like buses).
  • Discomfort for drivers.
  • Can actually distract drivers.
  • In extreme cases can damage the spine.

As you can see, there are quite a few problems posed by speed bumps. And some of the reasons that they are effective are also disadvantageous.

How effective are they?

As traffic volumes increase, traffic accidents go up commensurately. In urban and suburban areas, traffic flow peaks during rush hours. From about 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM, and then again from about 4 PM to 7 PM, traffic is at its highest levels. During these times, it becomes extremely difficult to monitor traffic manually.

Speed bumps have their uses, no doubt, but where are they best used? What is their statistical benefit? Do they really slow people down over all? Well, the answer to that is more difficult than you think. Because speed bumps are used in higher-traffic areas, it’s difficult to measure. During bumper-to-bumper traffic, people are usually traveling well-below the speed limit. It’s hard to measure speed bump effectiveness in terms of traffic speed.

What we can measure though, are the rates of collisions in areas with speed bumps. Children are particularly at-risk from fast-moving traffic. They don’t know, or always obey the laws of the road, and they are smaller and harder to see. Finally, they are known for spontaneously doing things — like running into the street, crossing without looking, or jumping out from behind cars. An American Journal of Public Health Study found that when speed bumps are installed in a neighborhood, there was a 53-60% reduction in injury or death of children struck by a vehicle. Although that’s only one study, it seems to pretty effectively provide evidence that speed bumps do make a neighborhood safer.

Why are speed bumps important?

Frankly, speed kills. A study from Seattle by the US Dept. of Transportation showed that speed contributed to 42% of the city’s fatal accidents. That’s almost half of car crashes that kill people being related to over speeding.

What about other options?

If speed bumps feel uncomfortable, unsightly, or not effective enough, there are plenty of other choices. Crosswalk enhancement, speed tables, raised intersections, and more can help slow down traffic. These methods vary from less aggressive bumps, like speed humps and raised intersections, to better signage.

Make your roadway safer

If you are interested in making your driveway, parking lot, or private road a safer place, then Reliable Paving is who to call. We can install speed bumps, speed humps, and ensure that your signage and striping is as visible as possible. Contact us here today. We will be happy to assess your asphalt paving and figure out what the best traffic control solution for you is. If you want paving contractors with 35-plus years of experience, a team big enough to handle any job, and relentless customer service, go with Reliable.

Paving Scams To Look Out For: The Driveway Paving Scam

Follow our advice to avoid this common driveway paving scam.

Like many, you’ve probably received at least one cold call about some kind of construction scam. Cold calls for driveway paving, roofing, and more are common, and we can tell you how to avoid them. These scams work in a particular way: they offer to do a service, then claim they can not complete the service unless they get more materials, for which they need more money. Of course, they have already agreed on a set timeline or price. The consumer gets scammed when they have to fork over more money to complete a project whose price was already agreed upon.

The specifics of the driveway paving scam

This scam typically begins when a contractor shows up at your door or calls your phone. They claim that they have been doing work in your area and noticed that your driveway is in need of some TLC. Usually, the scammer agrees to give you a discount, because they are already doing work in the area and can use leftover materials to work on your driveway.

Here’s an example of what the pitch you might hear from a door-to-door scammer or cold caller will sound like.

Scammers take an initial payment and disappear

If you agree to their work, they will ask for a percentage of their fee up front. This can often be the end of the story, with the scammer disappearing afterwards, and you getting burned by the prepayment. Clients will notice that contact number or email address doesn’t work, and that the contractor will be cagey with details such as where their main office is located.

Low-quality work is the result

In other instances, the work does actually get done, but is sloppy and unprofessional. However, this usually isn’t noticed until the full payment is made and the work is regarded as “complete.”

More money than agreed upon is required to finish the job

In another variation, the scam needs more money to be completed. With the work partially finished, the contractor argues that they need more materials to complete you driveway project. Of course, in order to get more materials, they need more money, and that has to come from you. If the project does get completed, you wind up paying more out of pocket, and not receiving a discount at all. Companies that use this tactic are of course highly unprofessional and their work will reflect as much.

How to avoid these common paving scams

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid these scams. We have some methods you can follow in order to do so. Remember to always be vigilant, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Get quotes from multiple sources

If you notice that some of your paving is in dire need of repair, contact a few paving contractors in your area. Find out who some legitimate companies in your area are, send them pictures or have a contractor visit your location. They should be able to give you a quote (often for free), about how much your asphalt paving repairs should cost. This quote should include the whole price, from the start of the contract to its completion. They should also be able to tell you what each step of the repair process will be. By comparing the prices of different contractors, you should get an idea of how much your repairs will actually cost. This will help you figure out if that cold call about your driveway is a scam. If all the pavers you contact in your area tell you the costs for repairs should be 2-3 thousand dollars, then the one offering to do so for 1 thousand or less is probably not a legitimate offer.

Due diligence is a must

When you are going to hire a company for anything, find out what you can about the company.

You will want the following:

  • Contact phone numbers — and make sure they work.
  • An email address that works and responds promptly when you reach out.
  • A website. Look for a website with contact info, including phone numbers and a physical address of the company. Also, it’s best if the website is over 2 years old, as anyone can create a website instantaneously.
  • A physical office location. This way, you know where to take legal action to, if it comes to that.
  • The names of the owners/contractors who will be working on your project.

Get everything in writing

A verbal agreement means little, especially legally. Make sure that everything you have agreed to with the company is in writing. Essentially, you are trying to create a paper trail in the case that legal action is a necessity.

Pay through legitimate means

Any company only taking cash payments is a big red flag. Paying with a credit card is often the best, as the credit card company will be able to refund the money if the company does not hold up its end of the bargain. 

Never pay full-price up front

If a company argues that you need to pay for everything up front, it’s another red flag. A company should be able to provide its own materials and supplies, it’s not your job to buy them. It is your job to pay once work is done. Many companies will require a percentage to be paid before work starts, but not the whole price.

Hire a professional

If you need paving work done in the Dallas Fort-Worth area, then go with a company whose track record is reliable. Reliable Paving has been serving the area for decades, and can help you get your work done on time, and at a reasonable cost. Our services range from repairs to asphalt replacement, so we should definitely be able to find a solution that works for your asphalt paving. Contact us today, so we can get your projects started – and finished – sooner.

When Does Asphalt Need Repair?

Eight signs that your asphalt needs to be repaired.

No business owner looks forward to maintenance. It’s pricey, it gets in the way of the operations of the business, and having a construction crew working on your business isn’t an inviting look for clients. But there are still some telltale signs that your asphalt will need work done. Knowing when to repair is just as important as knowing how to do it. The following symptoms should let you know when to have a paving contractor work on your pavement.

Cracks that grow

Large cracks are an obvious sign that your asphalt paving needs work done, and small cracks can often be ignored. However, small cracks that are quickly growing into large ones are a sign that you need to fix the problem ASAP. If you notice that your pavement has cracks measuring over a quarter of an inch, or are quickly growing, then it’s time to call a paving contractor.

Fading color

Sunlight and frequent vehicle use can discolor your asphalt. If you notice that the paint is wearing off, and the black sheen of your parking lot has become a dull gray, it’s time to get it treated. Color wear is a sign that the pavement is aging, and aging pavement is more susceptible to further damage. As pavement ages, it becomes more porous, letting in water than will expand and contract over time. This results in much bigger problems that you should nip in the bud.

Moisture accumulation

If you notice that water or other liquid builds up on your asphalt doesn’t go away, then it’s time to have it looked at. As we have mentioned before, water is the main source of damage to asphalt. If you notice a lot of water building up on your driveway, parking lot, or other asphalt paving, then it’s time to get a professional. Lack of proper drainage will only lead to bigger problems later on, so you will want to get any drainage issues fixed quickly and effectively.

Crumbling edges

Crumbling edges are another telltale sign of impending asphalt failure. Once the edges start to break away, water gets another pathway into your asphalt. When water gets in, the structural damage starts. Another reason for broken asphalt edges is frequent vehicle use. This is a problem that will only grow worse with time, so if you notice it, it’s best to deal with as soon as possible.

Spider web cracks

Not all cracks simply grow in size. Some fan out from a common point. They start small spread forming a shape like a spider web, these are also known as alligator cracks and need to be dealt with immediately.

Warping

When your asphalt begins to change its surface shape, it means you have bigger problems deep below. Warping, buckling, and deformation are signs of too much vehicle use without maintenance, or water damage. As vehicles put a huge amount of pressure on asphalt, they can expose foundational flaws that need care. Water is another culprit of asphalt deformation. Water accumulation beneath the surface isn’t immediately visible, but as it expands due to temperature changes, it can cause the bumps and lumps to appear in your paving.

Asphalt stains

Paving is typically used by vehicles. And vehicles often leak. Vehicles can leak a variety of solvent liquids onto asphalt, from brake fluid to oil to antifreeze. These liquids are more effective than water and wearing away the surface and making the paving more susceptible to further water damage. They also wear away painting and striping much faster than water. Stains are also simply unsightly and uninviting. Your parking lot is the first thing people usually see when they enter your business, so you want to start with a good impression. Ensure your parking lot is clean, free of stains, and well-painted.

Sinking

Pavement often uses a compacted base of aggregate/crushed stone. If you notice a portion of your parking lot has become lower than the rest, it probably means that this foundation is beginning to give way. This can become a big problem as it’s hard to know what exactly will happen with the rest of your asphalt. Will it continue to sink? Will it eventually break? Will the whole asphalt area also sink and give way? It’s hard to tell from only one sunken area, so definitely get a professional to assess the problem.

What if repairs aren’t enough?

It may be the case that you need to start over from scratch. If you see some signs listed in this article, then it’s too late, and you should skip the repairs and go right to replacement. A good rule of thumb is that if there are multiple signs of failure, completely replacing the asphalt is a good way to go.

If you have any of these problems call a professional

If you have noticed that your business’s driveway or parking lot has any of the problems we have mentioned above, don’t hesitate to let us know. Reliable Paving is an experienced and professional paving contractor who can help you with whatever your asphalt needs are. Our services for the problems listed above include the following:

  • Seal coating. Covering your asphalt with a protective layer to prevent future water damage and damage from the elements is a great way to extend its life.
  • Asphalt repairs of various types. Our repair services include crack sealing, pothole repair, and resurfacing. We also do full asphalt replacement, removing damaged asphalt and replacing it starting with the foundation.
  • Parking lot striping. Repainting your parking lot makes it safer, look better, and is a great time to inspect it for other signs of damage.
  • Pothole repair. We also specialize in various methods of pothole repair. We do everything from quick throw and go repair to full-depth hole replacement to fix larger structural issues. 

Maybe you could use our repair services, or maybe it’s time to simply take out what you already have and start over with new asphalt altogether. Whatever the solution is, Reliable Paving has got you covered.

red volkswagen beetle parked at road side near pedestrian

The Factors Affecting Traffic Noise

How more than pavement surface affects the noise from traffic, and what can be done about it.

We already know that certain types of pavement can decrease traffic noise. But how exactly does it work? What are the effects on the people and environment when traffic makes a huge amount of noise in an area?

One of the most common forms of noise pollution in the US is highway and traffic noise on pavement. There are many costly ways to mitigate it, such as sound barriers. Using a different grade of pavement can also help. Rather than the types of pavement that can help reduce noise, we are going to analyze how the “grind” or texture of the pavement can reduce it, and what the benefits are, especially on highways.

Why is pavement noise important?

Pollution comes into our lives in many ways these days. There is air pollution in every big city. It is especially common in industrial areas where factories belch out smoke, whether in cities or not. Water pollution is another factor in most people’s lives. Anyone who lives in an agricultural area in the US is familiar with the copious amounts of water pollution that wind up in riverways thanks to industrial farming systems. Nowadays, microplastics are also to be found everywhere. Plastic doesn’t break down like other molecules. Instead, it becomes tinier and tiner, until it is microscopic, from which it can get into food, water supplies, and more.

However, one of the most common and annoying forms of pollution that people have to deal with is noise. Noise pollution is a surprisingly big deal. While it may not seem like a serious issue, its serious effects are many. On top of that, little is done about noise pollution, as highways are getting bigger and roadways are continuing to get built everywhere.

What is the effect of pavement noise on people?

According to an Acousticstoday.org study, more than 45 million Americans live within 300 feet of a major transportation facility. These facilities also include large highways that contribute to noise. In addition to interference with daily activities such as speech, the noise has been shown to have adverse health effects.

Health effects

Health effects of overly loud pavement noise include the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Cognitive impairment in children

The World Health Organization concluded that at least 1 million healthy life years are lost in Western Europe each year due to the effects of pavement noise on the population there.

This is only the effect on people, not also the effect on wildlife and the nearby environment.

What effects pavement noise?

Besides the obvious creation of it from tires on the asphalt paving, there are several other important factors.

Vehicles

  • Vehicle type. Four-seat cars are the most common, but of course large shipping trucks and other vehicles alsoe contribute to highway noise pollution.
  • Vehicle volume. The sheer amount of vehicles on the road makes a huge difference.
  • Highways are louder because the faster one goes, the more noise a vehicle makes.
  • Pavement type. The grind/course of the pavement makes a big difference as well.

Sound propogation

  • Site geometry. Echoes of nearby buildings, walls, and more can worsen or dampen pavement noise.
  • Ever wondered what those walls by the side of the highway are for? They are to decrease the noise to nearby communities.
  • Ground effects. The landscape can increase or decrease car noise on the asphalt.
  • Again, differences in the air and weather can also improve or worsen pavement noise.

Receivers of sound

  • Human reception. If a highway is going through a desert, there aren’t people to hear it nearby, so pavement noise is much less of a problem.
  • Wildlife and the environment. This noise can seriously disrupt the nearby ecology.

Read this long form study on pavement noise, to learn more about what affects asphalt paving/vehicle noise.

 

Tire contact with pavement is the biggest contributor to pavement noise

No, it’s not the sound of horns honking on car engines, but the sound of tires making contact with pavement that is the biggest factor in creating road noise on highways. Roads are paved in different ways, on low-speed streets, it matters less because the cars and pavement simply aren’t as moving as fast in relation to one another. What about highways though?

There are 3 types of common surface textures for pavement

According to a technical study from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the following pavement courses (textures) are the most common:

Transverse tine

This is created by dragging a metal rake sideways across pavement. It was discontinued in the 1980s due to the noise levels.

Burlap drag

Used for lower speed streets and roads. This is made by dragging a moistened burlap sack over the pavement surface. This is less important because it is not used on highways.

Diamond grind

Diamond coated saw blades are used to saw off small irregularities in the pavement surface. They also create grooves in the surface for traction. This method was originally developed to improve car handling on aging pavement, but it was discovered to significantly decrease noise levels as well.

Ultimately, it was discovered that the innovative diamond grind was far more effective at not only rejeuvenating old roadways for better car handling, but also for reducing highway noise.

So what have we learned?

We’ve learned that pavement can make a big impact on the noise coming from traffic. Not only that, but the environment and buildings in the area do as well. If you want to decrease your pavement noise, or figure out what you can do to make your place of business or home less bothered by a nearby roadway, let us know.

Reliable Paving is an experienced and professional group of paving contractors who are thrilled to help you in your paving needs. Do you need repairs, restriping, or new pavement? Maybe you just want to learn how to decrease noise and make your place of work more peaceful? Either way, we are ready to help you, we have the experience, team size, and skills to make your asphalt-related goals a reality.

Asphalt Maintenance Tips for Spring

How to ensure your pavement enters the spring and summer months in the best condition.

As winter finally lets its icy grip off of the nation (in most parts any way, some places are still having snowstorms), it’s time to check on your pavement. Winter in general is a colder, wetter time of the year, and that wreaks havoc on asphalt and paving. Water gets in cracks, feezes and expands, as we have noted before. Additionally, winter storms leave all kinds of debris on your parking lot and driveway that are a danger to motorists and pedestrians. Finally, now that the asphalt paving is clear, it’s as good a time as any to do some basic inspection work. Let’s look at the ways that you can make absolutely sure that your pavement is healthy going into the year.

Look, then leap

First of all, perform an inspection. The first thing you should do before major parking lot maintenance is an inspection. This will help you figure out what areas really need repairs and improvement, and where you are doing well. The best way to do this is to hire a professional paving service to take a look at your lot. They will notice things like small cracks that may not seem like a big deal, but that can lead to massive problems down the line. A professional paving contractor will also be able to advise you on the best course of action for how to repair your small problems so they don’t become serious hazards, and how to perform large maintenance projects/repairs if you need it.

Spring-cleaning

Winter usually leaves pavement covered in all kinds of debris. If you live somewhere with winter snow and ice, you may think it’s all over when it melts. Well, the water may not be on the surface anymore, but what about your drainage systems? Are they full? Is debris like tree branches blocking your paving from fully draining? Additionally, if there was snow and ice on your lot, it may have been salted to prevent too much frozen water accumulation. Well, the water melts in the spring, but the salt remains, and it needs to get cleaned up. A deep cleanse will also rid the lot of overgrown plants, garbage left by people, dried leaves, and gravel. Getting rid of the foreign bodies from your paving makes the lot look beter and makes it safer for those who will use it.

A good cleaning job will not only make your lot safer, and lessen future damage, but it will also make your business look more inviting.

Seal coating

Now that your pavement is clear of debris, and you can really see what it’s like, it’s time to get it protected for future inclement weather. Spring and summer storms are definitely a thing, so you want to make sure that your pavement is ready for all the water that will hit its surface. If you live in the West or South, where the sun is intense, seal coating is also a big benefit because it helps prevent damage by UV rays. UV rays may not do much over short periods, but over time, and in big quantities, they will damage just about any surface they fall on.

Seal coating is a big benefit because it makes your parking lot and/or driveway look better and extends the life. Whether you do it in the spring, summer, or fall, seal coating is somehting you should do regularly to ensure you get the most out of your pavement.

Repair potholes and cracks

Once everything has been inspected and cleaned, it’s time for repairs. There are a few different damage repair methods that you can use, from hot or cold fillling to deep repair. This is where having a professional paving contractor will really help you. You will be able to ascertain from the type of damage exactly what you need done- will a simple seal or filling get the job done? Or will you need a full on replacement of the damaged part of your parking lot?

During this time, be prepared for good and bad news. Sometimes, a repair can be done easily, with cheaper recycled asphalt. Sometimes, you will find new, worse problems, such as tree roots growing into the pavement or serious damage that necessitates deep repairs. Either way, a professional will be able to help you decide on the best methods and most cost-effective solutions to repair the damage to your paving.

Repaint

When the asphalt is repaired, inspected, seal coated, and looking almost back to normal again, it’s time to paint. Asphalt painting, such as directional arrows and parking lot lines also get worn away during the harsh winter months. You don’t have to simply repaint, you can also change the lines if you have noticed bottlenecks or unsafe places in your lot. After the winter lets up is the time to make the painted changes you wish to see in your parking lot.

Restriping your parking lot makes it safer for drivers, makes in better follow regulations, makes your business look better.

Have your asphalt paving maintenance done by certified professionals

You want your asphalt to work and look the best, so get it treated by the best. At Reliable Paving, we are highly experienced and professional paving contractors. Our services include striping (painting), seal coating, asphalt repair, and of course, inspection. We value your time as much as you do, so we will do our best to provide unrelentingly good service as we treat your pavement. If you think it’s the time to make changes, we can also do speed bump installation and ADA compliance to absolutely ensure your parking lot/driveway is as safe as it can be. Let us know today how we can help you, and we can get your spring pavement cleaning on the road.

Pavement Advice for the Freezing Cold

How to handle unusually cold weather when you are on the pavement, and what to do about your asphalt when the weather subsides.

Texas has had some wild weather these last few weeks. The Lone Star State is known for its sprawling deserts and plains, as well as extreme heat waves blowing in out of Mexico and the Pacific. This winter though, things have been a bit different. Much of the state is seeing, or has seen record cold, as in record-breaking cold. Some places were colder than they have been in 30 years, while others broke records from more than a century ago. Check out this BayNews9 article for a full list of broken temperature records. Needless to say, it has caught a lot of people off-guard. Windchill dipped places like Houston and San Antonio into 11F and 9F respectively. Other places dropped into negative double digits thanks to the wind chill.

The energy grid in Texas has seen a large failure, with a dip of 46,000 megawatts (that’s 46 gigawatts) of production. This left people and businesses unable to act in the freezing weather. Everything from deliveries being delayed to frozen pipes bursting to rolling blackouts hit during this time.

We can’t help with everything happening in Texas, but we can help you keep safe on the roads, and help you figure out what to do after.

Staying safe on frozen asphalt

Asphalt paving is famously slick in the winter time in cold climates. Ice clings to it and snow gets impacted into it, leaving it slippery and dangerous for pedestrians and commuters. Fortunately, it’s not all bad, as people living in the midwest deal with it yearly, more or less without serious problems. A few pieces of simple advice will go a long way.

Go slower

This probably is a no-brainer for you but it’s still worth a mention.

  • Go even slower when on a slope. Your breaks will not work as well driving downhill on an icy hill.
  • Increase your follow distance to 3 times what is normally is. We’ve all seen videos of big pile ups on the roadways in blizzards. Increasing your follow distance is how that sort of thing can be prevented.
  • Go especially slow when there are pedestrians around. Not only do you need to be more careful, but they can slip on the ice too.

It’s not all bad though, thanks to the weight of a car, you are less likely to slip in one going at low speeds than you are on foot.

What to do if you start skidding

  • Don’t keep your foot on the brake, try pumping it, or easing off.
  • Get your steering wheel going in the direction of the skid, so you are ready to move when you regain control.
  • Going slowly in the first place helps prevent skidding.
  • When you do brake, brake gently, this helps decrease your momentum in a way that won’t lead to sliding.

Keep your lights, windshield, roof, and windows clean

  • Other people need to see your lights.
  • Hopefully, we don’t have to explain why you need to keep your front and back windshields clear.
    • Make sure that you clear them both off fully! A small 10×10 inch window in the front is not enough.
  • Keep your windows clear for the same reason as your windshield.
  • Clear off your rooof so that if you stop suddenly or if heavy wind occurs you won’t have roof snow falling and blocking your windshield.

Keep a shovel, matts, and/or 2 by 4s in your car

  • This is for digging out of deep/slippery snow. Matts or 2 by 4s under the tires will help you get some traction.
  • The shovel will be useful for digging out yourself and others. It doesn’t have to be a big one, a hand shovel will work just fine.

Stay at least 200 feet behind snow plows

  • Give snow plows and sanding/salting trucks their distance. Not only might they stop suddenly, but the amound of snow they kick up could be a hazard to you.
  • Do not pass them unless they are pulled over and stopped.

Be extra careful on bridges, overpasses, and ramps

  • These areas often freeze first, and will have ice before other parts of the road will.
  • These areas are often curvy and on inclines, making slipping more disastrous. Exercise caution.

Watch out for black ice

Many people have heard of this phenomenom, not many know what it is though. It is the product of snow/ice initially freezing in place, then unfreezing over the cycle of a day, and refreezing at night. This happens again and again throughout the winter. On the road, it becomes a mix of oil from cars and pavement and refrozen ice.

  • It’s harder to see and often much more slippery than normal snow and ice.
  • It can be lurking under new snow, making the surface even more dangerous.

Keep some emergency precautions in your car

In case you get stranded, keep a blanket, heater, some food, and water in your car so you don’t freeze while waiting for help.

What to look for when the weather subsides

When the freezing weather turns to spring, your pavement will be in dire straights. You will be dealing with wear and tear the likes of which you haven’t seen in Texas in a long time.

Expect the following:

  • Existing problems/faults will be worse. Cracks and potholes will be bigger and deeper thanks to water getting inside and expanding when it froze.
  • Asphalt paving will become uneven as that subsurface water expands in the cold.
  • Parking lot marking wearing off. You can expect the salt, sand, and winter weather to have an effect on paint too. Parking lines, handicapped signs, and pretty much everything painted on asphalt will be harder to see.

If you need your asphalt repaired, come to us! Reliable Paving is an experienced team of paving contractors ready to help you and your business recover from this winter. Contact us today to let us know how we can help you get your pavement ready for spring weather.

 

Paving a Road From Start to Finish

5 Steps

Many people think that asphalt paving is a simple process: pour it and let it harden. It’s actually not nearly that simple, but it doesn’t need to be overly complex either.

Whatever needs paving, there will be the same basic steps in each paving project. Maybe you are a commercial developer working on a new lot, or a city street nearby needs paving, whatever the circumstances, we can give you a detailed outline of how the project should look. This can serve you in several ways: you can make sure your paving contractor is doing the job right, you can also communicate more effectively by asking the right questions through each part of the process. Finally, if it’s a small project, you might get the knowledge you need to do one or more of the steps without any outside help.

Planning

This is an often overlooked step. You, the business owner or developer, will need to ensure you have the following:

  • Approval for the city for paving the area you choose.
  • Environmental issues with the area need to be addressed, such as drainage.
  • The location needs to be clearly defined. If it is a busy thoroughfare, there will need to be some kind of alternate route for people to get around it. Even if it isn’t a place that sees a lot of traffic, there will need to be alternate routes around the location for pedestrians and commuters.
  • The goal of the project should be clearly defined. What are you paving? What is its function? Is it a road, driveway, or parking lot? Is the space being paved for vehicles, pedestrians, cars, cyclists, or heavy machinery? Who is using it, the public or some private individuals? How much use will it see? This is a difficult thing to figure, as many variables need to be considered. Ultimately, you need to know how much use it will get, what kind of use it will be, and who will be using the new paved area.
  • What is the timeline of the project? How long will it take from breaking ground until it can be used?
  • What is the budget?

Preparation and Excavation

The difficulty of this step varies significantly according to what was there before. Was the site location another road? It may be easier to prepare. Was the site an old building that needs to be torn down? Well, there will be a lot more work. You should also check what is under the site to make sure the new paving can handle the load from use.

During this process, grading and sloping of the site is also incredibly important. This determines drainage. Water is the main factor in asphalt/concrete damage, so ensuring that your site will have proper drainage will save a lot of repairs, money, and headaches later on.

Finally, the ground to be built upon will have to be compacted. This is a technical process that usually involves special equipment and skill. It’s something you will almost certainly need a professional paving contractor to perform.

Building the sub base

Now that the ground beneath is ready, it’s time to lay a sub base. This is the material upon which the actual pavement will lie. It can vary from compacted soil and loose rocks in home/residential construction to much more complex layers of increasingly-small aggregate. Aggregate is a combination of small rocks, crushed rocks, and stones that. In many roads, the sub base layers has 4 layers.

  • Bottom layer: compacted soil, also called sub grade.
  • Layer 2: Sub base aggregate material. This can be loose rocks or stones compacted tightly.
  • Layer 3: Base course. Usually a finer aggregate material than the sub base, like sand.
  • Layer 4: Paver base. This final base before the pavement usually is the finest aggregate. Rock is finely crushed into a powder that the pavement can lay smoothly upon.

Laying the asphalt

During this process, paving contractors will use heavy equipment to pour hot mix asphalt onto the top layer of the sub base. Asphalt, unlike the other layers, is not just an aggregate material. It also includes a binder, which is usually made from petroleum. The petroleum binder makes up a tiny portion of the asphalt, usually around 5%. As you may have guessed from the name, the binder is essentially the “glue” that holds the asphalt together as one contiguous piece.

After pouring, the asphalt will be leveled and compacted after pouring. Additionally, joiners will be built to connect the asphalt to other pavement. Roads connect to other roads, driveways, sidewalks, etc. Special attention should be paid to ensure transitions are smooth.

Finally, asphalt will be checked for final smoothness. The contractor will make sure there aren’t bumps or small build-ups, and a roller truck or some other piece of heavy equipment will fully flatten the new paving.

Despite its use of petrochemicals, asphalt does not actually have a terribly powerful environmental impact. It is one of the most recycled materials, and it sequesters vast amounts of carbon dioxide.

Hardening

Once the asphalt is poured in the right location, all you have to do is wait. It may be safe to walk on once it has cooled and hardened initially, in the first few days after pouring. Complete hardening may take weeks or up to a month, depending on the ambient temperature.

When this part of the process is done, the asphalt is good to go.

Pave your projects the right way

At Reliable Paving, we know what we are good at. We ensure total care and proper procedure during every stage of the paving process. Not only do we take care to do our best work, but we communicate proactively and are present to answer questions, and provide recommendations throughout each step of paving. If you want a project done well, to exacting standards, and reliably, then don’t hesitate to contact us today and get the best paving you can.

Parking Lot Safety In the Winter

Regardless of where you are in the US, winter is usually a colder, wetter season. This poses various risks for safety on just about any type of pavement.

Whether you live in the Southern US, where winter is mild but wet, or the North, where freezing temperatures and feet of snow can grind life to a halt, winter poses its own unique set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges paving contractors face is handling winter damage and preparing asphalt for bad weather. At Reliable Paving, we are experts on how winter weather affects asphalt paving. We’ve seen it all, from water damage to potholes to frost heave. We’ve compiled a set of guidelines to make it easier to handle winter weather, both this year and next.

What to do before winter

You can prepare for the oncoming inclement weather and low light in advance. It will help you deal with winter’s other challenges.

Inspect your lot

Walk around the parking lot. Check out the premises. Look for various things that are out of order. Look for areas that can be improved.

  • Check for debris that is on the lot. Things already cluttering the lot will only be more problematic under a covering of snow and ice. Clear up what you can.
    • If you notice certain areas always seem to collect debris, it may be worth upgrading your drainage system. Another idea would be to do more frequent maintenance/cleaning to remove detritus.
  • Check for areas where visibility is bad. Things like faded signs, light-up signs whose lights no longer work, faded lot striping, etc. make it harder to get around the lot. When people are confused and don’t know where to go, they are more distracted. Distracted drivers are more prone to accidents.
    • Legally, you don’t want someone possibly suing you because they were hit by a driver who couldn’t see where he/she was going because of damaged signage.
  • Look for existing damage. Cracks, potholes, depressions, uneven ground, and more are usually attributable to liquids getting inside the pavement. The number one reason that parking lots get damaged is liquids inside the paving. When any liquid, but especially water, gets inside of asphalt or concrete, it expands and contracts as the temperature changes. Asphalt and concrete are not particularly flexible, so that’s where the damage really happens. This problem is exacerbated by winter’s freezing temperatures. Small cracks now can lead to big structural damage later on.
    • Patch up your potholes and cracks before winter starts. A lot of paving work can only be done when the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degree Celsius). This means that even autumn isn’t a good season for repairs in many places.

Protect your parking with preventative maintenance

  • Sealcoat your parking lot. This is something you should do every few years anyway. Not only will it prevent damage from water, but it also protects from one of the most damaging things in nature – UV light from the sun. Sealcoating prevents the pavement from turning gray and developing cracks, a sign of oxidation (more commonly known as rust). Most paving is already sealed from water to a certain extent. But, a parking lot is different, from striping paint to leaking car fluids, parking lots are hit by many strong solvents. Dripping brake fluid, oil, and the like can easily build up and cause damage, especially when a leaky car is parked overnight or longer. Sealcoating is your solution to this. It protects you from water, UV, and leaks from various cars. A good sealcoating, combined with maintenance, can make your lot last 20 to 30 years.
    • How often should I sealcoat? You should do it every 2-4 years. But this depends on your location. In places with harsher climates, freezing weather, more intense sun and/or precipitation, every 2 years might be best. In dry, cool locations with moderate climates, every 4 years will suffice.

What to do during the winter

  • Stay on top of cleaning and clearing. Winter is a time for storms, snow, and heavy wind. Things like tree branches will blow into your lot, and it’s up to you to make sure they don’t stay there. Debris in a parking area is dangerous because it can cause flat tires, other car damage, and pedestrians can trip over it. It’s all made worse if it snows over the existing debris. Don’t forget to have a snow plow company on-call if it snows by you. On top of clearing snow, you should have some kind of salt or other mechanism to clear ice and prevent slippage.
  • Make sure your lot is well-lit. Winter is darker, and when snow/debris covers the lot, stripes may not be visible. Inspect the lot frequently to make sure your lights are working, things are clearly visible, and any lit signs are still lit. Clearly-lit signs are also a legal requirement in many lots. Not only is it more dangerous for pedestrians and motorists to not have them, but you also risk legal action.
  • You may need to change the traffic flow in the parking area. Nobody wants cars skidding around on ice/snow, so you may need to put some entry only/exit only signs up to have a clear and simple flow of traffic in the parking lot.

Winter isn’t the only time maintenance is important

At Reliable Paving we are experts on all kinds of ways to take care of your asphalt, concrete, and paving of any kind. Whether it’s pothole repair, laying new asphalt altogether, or crack sealing, we are ready. Our 35+ years in the industry combined with our large, professional team means that no project is too big for us to complete on-budget, and on-time. Visit our website and take a look at our services and past projects, and if you think we fit the bill, send us a message today. We look forward to providing you with the best paving and asphalt work that money can buy.