A landscape architect or civil engineer has a variety of product choices when designing trails and multi use paths. As with any design project at the conceptual level, successful landscape architects and engineers will consider their client’s site features, environmental factors, and the overall intended purpose of their trail or path. And probably most importantly, their client’s budget!
The installation of a PermaTrak concrete boardwalk for Hillsborough County's Upper Tampa Bay Trail Phase IV will be completed over the next couple of weeks. Designed by Cardno TBE with engineering support from PermaTrak, Pepper Contracting of Tampa Bay was awarded the publicly bid project and started construction in early January.
Topics: Boardwalk Construction
If you are a designer with experience in trails, you’ve probably heard plenty of the following terms outside of the common “multi-use trail,” including: multi-use path, bike path, bike trail, walkway, pathway, byway, greenway, linear park, dirtway, access trail, and more!
So what do they all mean, and which one is right for your project? Take a look for a quick comparison and overview of byways, greenways and a relatively new term - DIRTways.
Topics: Multi Use Trails and Greenways
Whether you fish every weekend or just occasionally, you know that not all fishing piers are created equal. Sometimes visiting an observation or fishing pier can less than ideal with unstable pile supports (see picture below), cracking boards providing sharp wood slivers, a slippery surface after it rains, or a hot and unforgiving railing to sit or lean against.
Topics: Boardwalk Durability/Maintenance
Boardwalk Site Conditions: Wetlands, Grasslands and Floodplain
If you have experience designing projects for park & recreation clients, trail systems, or greenways, I’m sure you can appreciate how much site conditions influence your design concepts.
For architects and engineers with boardwalks or pedestrian bridge projects in their portfolios, delicate environments come up often – including wetlands, grasslands or floodplain areas. Designers are hired for their expertise in specifying a boardwalk or pedestrian bridge product through these types of natural environments in order to provide a safe walkway for visitors, an “outdoor classroom”, or simply a connection to another part of the trail system. These project locations dictate the design and specification of an elevated structure; a traditional gravel or asphalt surface simply won’t suffice.
So how do the site conditions relate to designing boardwalk foundations through a wetland area?
Topics: Wetland Boardwalks
The timber vs. concrete boardwalk debate has picked up over the last couple of years with large, public beach boardwalks like Long Beach and Rockaways, NY drawing a lot of attention. For a time, wooden boardwalks were most widely used, becoming beloved and iconic in places like Coney Island. After Hurricane Sandy, the term “concrete boardwalk” started becoming more popular as owners and designers discussed boardwalk reconstruction efforts in city council meetings and local news channels. Some joined Mayor Bloomberg by citing concrete’s durability and lack of required maintenance, while wood boardwalk advocates expressed their concerns that the famous wood structures would become “concrete beach sidewalks” that would chip and crack like they saw in streets and parking lots. Why would a “concrete boardwalk” be any different?
Green building is an integral part of the future of architecture and engineering, whether dealing with buildings, softscape or hardscape infrastructure. We’d like to highlight current efforts that promote green building design and sustainable practices.
It may not be winter, but snow and ice don’t take a backseat in boardwalk design just because of the season. In Canada or northern regions of the US that see high volumes of snow and ice, salting a boardwalk or pedestrian bridge surface is an important consideration for professional designers.
Choosing the proper boardwalk material to suit your project’s design requirements is key to providing a long-term infrastructure asset and ensuring a happy client. In this article we will point out several key factors to consider when evaluating commercial grade boardwalk materials.
Designing a boardwalk for commercial use in a marine environment comes with a unique set of challenges for designers. Engineers and architects must account for static site conditions as well as natural events that may occur during the structure's lifetime, including flooding and storm surges.
Trails are quickly becoming a coveted amenity in urban spaces. No longer are trails sidelined to distant national parks and obscure, secluded spaces. They’re becoming an important part of our greenspaces throughout towns and cities. Trails promote physical activity and alternative transportation through biking, running or walking.
The expansion of greenways and trail systems has been an exciting movement within the United States. Greenspaces have proven to be vital to the revitalization of cities by promoting healthier lifestyles, encouraging economic growth and facilitating environmentally friendly developments. The cities listed below have made a priority of improving their communities with trails, parks and greenspaces. In doing so, they’ve set precedents and shared best practices for other cities, counties or agencies to follow.
Here at PermaTrak, we believe the benefits of concrete boardwalks include durability, environmental friendliness, and long-term cost savings. We’ve designed and produced PermaTrak for many different types of applications all over the US – from wetland crossings and multi use trails to fishing piers and observation decks.
The Norwottuck Rail Trail is an 11-mile multi-use trail in Massachusetts that links Northampton, Amherst and Hadley and extends from Northampton to Belchertown. Originally a part of the Boston & Main Railroad, built by the Central Massachusetts Railroad Company in 1887, the Norwottuck Rail Trail has proven itself an excellent recreational path for cyclists, pedestrians, wheelchairs, skaters and joggers of all ages since its opening in 1992.
Heavy Boardwalk Components, Heavy Equipment?
Architects, engineers and city/county project managers are often concerned that installing a concrete boardwalk will require a crane or some other heavy lifting equipment. And for good reason- cranes can be expensive and they require a large footprint on the project site.
Topics: Boardwalk Construction
Back in early 2010, PermaTrak made an East Coast Road Tour through 15 cities to introduce a concrete boardwalk system to the United States. Concluding in Florida, some of the designers from the Sunshine State actually took off their socks and shoes to test how hot a concrete boardwalk material really is. Why would a working professional take off their socks and shoes in front of everyone like that? Because signs like this one actually exist!
During a recent lunch and learn presentation, I was asked by an engineer about the walking surface of our boardwalk system, but this question was a bit different than I was used to hearing. “Have you ever had problems with women’s high heels getting stuck in the gaps?” he asked. His coworkers pointed and laughed and asked why he, of all people, would be asking that question.
We’ve all seen the America’s Funniest Home Videos and YouTube sensations that show people falling, tripping and slipping in public. Sure those clips can be good for a laugh, but in reality, tripping on an uneven surface can cause serious injuries. Cyclists, for instance, need a smooth (but not slippery) riding surface to avoid losing control or worse, being thrown over the handlebars.
The LEED certification program charted the path for infrastructure ratings systems in the U.S. As we’ve mentioned, however, LEED is hardly alone among programs that rate and reward green, sustainable building.
Though there’s been a surging demand for trails and greenways in the past few years, obtaining an environmental grant to develop them can be somewhat challenging. There are numerous federal grants and programs, many reserved for local and state government, nonprofits and communities. While privately funded grants are more rare, they do exist.