When designing trails within parks or green spaces, rivers and creeks become an issue. How do you cross them? A small babbling brook might be able to be jumped across or crossed by hopping between a few rocks to continue along the natural footpath. This style of water crossing is not that accessible, nor are these natural forest footpaths. Trying to walk across this type of water crossing can be hard for a person with limited mobility, an issue of our increasingly aging population. The next option is much more expensive, a bridge must be installed to cross a little creek to a larger river.
The main materials for a bridge are wood, metal, and concrete. Each of these materials has its own design consideration; cost, longevity, maintenance, accessibility, access to the build site, just to name a few.
In 2012-2013, I was tasked with reviewing bridge repairs suggested from the structural engineer’s bridge reports. I noticed that some of the oldest bridges (around 100 years old), required less work than some of the bridges 90 years younger. Were these 10 to 15-year-old bridges designed to fail? I’m not sure but I offer these few tips to help ensure the longevity of your assets.
The first thing to know about rust on bridges is a bridge is like a very big, low voltage battery or electrical circuit. My landscape architect’s very basic understanding, as taught from an electrical engineer tasked with protecting gas lines:
One of the more common bridge types I was reviewing was made from weathering steel (Core-ten). These young weathering steel bridges (10 to 15 years old) had few structural failures and required replacement. The following Design and Maintenance tips are based on my observations and research on weathering steel (a product that was originally designed for train boxcars for use in hot and dry South-Western USA)
If the above recommendations cannot be maintained, it might be a better idea to use another material, such as wood or concrete if you don’t want to replace your bridge very 10 to 15 years at over $10,000 for a small 6-meter long bridge. In future blogs, we will look at other materials and design considerations.
If you need help designing your trails, locating your water crossings and types, creating tenders for bridge replacement or help to create maintenance procedures, please give us a call or email, we would be happy to help.
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Beyond The POST
I’m one of those weird ones that like winter. Snowshoeing deep into the forest. Cross-country skiing under the clear blue winter sky. I even like the great workout I get, when there are a few inches of the white stuff freshly fallen from the sky.
I was taught in school that within most of Ontario, parking lots can lose up to 20% of their parking lot space to snow piles. That is about one space out of five, lost to snow! Luckily, most of our snow falls after New Year’s Day. But, early, before the Holiday Seasons, snow falls can eat up lots of parking space for those crazy last minute shoppers (like myself).
If you are designing a new site or adding a new building or expansion to an existing site, one of the best times to review your parking lot layout is during the site plan development phase. Before you submit the plans for review, examine where the snow will be pushed, piled, and stored? Here are a few discussion points to start the conversation with your design team and snow removal contractor:
As a landscape architect, with experience with snow removal, I can work with your site design consultant team to improve your parking lot and landscape design to ensure less space is lost to snow.
Hope these discussion points help to improve your site during winter. Feel free to send us any questions you may have about your site, especially if it is still in the design phase. We would love to hear your comments about our blog and any Site and Landscape Design topics you would like to hear more about.
Beyond The POST
Have you ever wondered why people just walk across the lawn or parking lots even when there is a formal hard surface path near by? After a while, this short-cutting creates a muddy path in the lawn or pedestrian and vehicle conflicts? So why does this happen? Why do designed pathways sometimes fail and not operate as planned? How do you keep the pedestrian to the intended path?
In Desire Lines Part 1: we will have a quick look:
First off, pedestrians unlike cars, are very chaotic! Pedestrians prefer the shortest and easiest path of travel and will walk over obstacles upwards of 300mm (12”) high, steep hills, and through planting beds, if they believe it will be less effort (see Image 1). Vehicles, on the other hand, are much easier to control, as they prefer hard packed paved surfaces, but that is another discussion for a future blog. So back to the pedestrian.
As I mentioned above, pedestrians love the shortest and easiest path that allows of safe travel.
So what can be done?
During the planning stage, as your design team is starting to workout the layout of the parking lot, have a round table discussion with your landscape architect, traffic consultant, and architect.
I believe, if the pedestrian feels safe using your site, especially one with accessibility issues, they might drive a little farther to visit the shops at your site, which will result in higher sales. What if we start thinking and designing commercial sites to be more park and less like an efficient industrial sea of asphalt and concrete used for parking?
As a pedestrian moving through different sites, what parking lots do you dislike the most and why? Email us your comments at email@example.com.
Sign up for our newsletter In future blogs, I will post ideas to help control and slow vehicles down, provide additional ideas control pedestrian movement to areas you prefer them to be and away from areas that you do not what them to be.
(all images – Google street view)