Enhanced Decorative Crosswalks are a central aesthetic element to contemporary streetscapes and contribute to more livable communities. But what about the maintenance challenges they pose?
Marrying Form with Function.
Municipalities from metro British Columbia, Alberta through Southern Ontario and Quebec have been using traditional materials for their decorative crosswalks like paving stones and bricks. In more recent times stamped concrete has been used with some frequency as well. The problem, aside from exorbitant cost, has been the maintenance liability they impost of Public Works resources and budgets. This is particularly acute in Canada where the wrath of winter weather imposes itself. Frost heave and settlement, hydraulic issues from constant rain combined with demanding and growing traffic load pose seemingly impossible challenges to decorative crosswalk performance in our city streets. You know the deal, uneven settlement of pavers, cracked and pitted concrete make what was once supposed to be attractive both unsightly and unsafe.
It was twenty five years ago we started working on a better way
Years after the advent of stamped concrete a couple of folks in Kelowna, BC clued into the logical notion that it might be possible to stamp asphalt. The result was StreetPrint Pavement Texturing – Genuine stamped Asphalt; taking a wire-net template, stamping it into already installed or reheated hot-mix asphalt and then applying a specialized coating to the surface and voila! All the benefits of an asphalt substrate and now attractive also!
Well the Public Works folks and Civil Engineers loved the idea of stamped asphalt for their enhanced crosswalks. The logic was unassailable, no introduction of foreign materials into the monolithic road surface meant a host of familiar problems with decorative crosswalk introduction into roadways could be eliminated not the least of which was unwanted maintenance costs and the subsequent associated costs and headaches. The problem with StreetPrint for crosswalks is well, the coating wore off. Often sooner rather than later. The dimensional stamped pattern in the asphalt would last but try as they might, and boy did they try, the coating couldn’t be made to last long enough to satisfy expectations in these demanding application. Don’t get it wrong the coating technology – StreetBond150 – Coatings for Asphalt – has come a long way and is a phenomenal product for colourization of asphalt surfaces. However the challenge of making attractive crosswalks in busy intersections last is truly daunting. But not impossible!
Twelve years ago decorative stamped asphalt crosswalks that work finally hit the road
The desire for decorative high performance crosswalks within urban streetscape redevelopments coupled with the logic of treating the existing road surface rather than messily and expensively introducing different material such as pavers into it, drove the developers of stamped decorative asphalt to new heights in their quest to build a better crosswalk. That’s when they started developing a specialized preformed thermoplastic.
To not get any more boring with details than we already have, what they ended up with was no ordinary road marking kind of preformed thermoplastic but one much thicker with proprietary fortified properties. It is a material built very much like asphalt actually; graded aggregate with specialized thermoplastic binders rather than heavy oils. In a nutshell the road surface is prepared, preformed thermoplastic panels laid and the surface, melted onto it and finally stamped to give it texture and a most attractive finish. So the point to this whole story is that through a lot of work by smart and inventive people over a long period of time the pinnacle of decorative crosswalk technology was achieved. A crosswalk that is both beautiful and incredibly durable even in the most demanding of Canadian streets, form finally met function.
Ever wonder about the etymology of that saying? Anyway, TrafficPatternsXD continues to become the decorative high performance crosswalks of choice for towns and cities throughout North America. Those that have tried it are impressed by its performance and the true tribute to the product is they continue to put more of it down in their crosswalks season after season.
Below are a couple of Performance Profiles for you to check out.
An evaluation installation of TrafficPatternsXD was installed in 2009 for York region Transit (VIVA). York region Transit wanted to test it as a candidate for decorative crosswalks associated with a major streetscape upgrades to a major expressway. TrafficPatternsXD was installed on Highway 7, about the most demanding place you could possibly think of applying decorative crosswalks to. Over 50,000 vehicles a day including heavy truck traffic and the winter conditions north of Toronto to be contended with.
Check out more on these decorative high performance crosswalks HERE.
Kelowna, British Columbia
TrafficPatternsXD decorative high performance crosswalks were originally developed and in Surrey, BC until recently. So it’s not so surprising that one of the very first early adopters on the product was nearby.
Thirteen years ago Kelowna installed one of the first TrafficPatternsXD decorative high performance crosswalks and they liked what they saw. After waiting a few years to see how the original installations performed they were sold. As at 2017 Kelowna will have installed nearly 100 crosswalk legs with plans for more! Check out more on these decorative high performance crosswalks HERE.
Before you make a decision on product choice for your enhanced crosswalks you should to talk to us. We want to help you make the right choice. HUB Surface Systems Connects Canadian design, engineering and contractor communities with innovative decorative hardscape, traffic safety solutions and professional installation services. With more than three decades of combined experience we help make sure your project incorporates the right products, installed by qualified professionals on time and on budget.