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Associated Paving Contractors (APCON) has paved the Philadelphia region since 1970. Welcome to our blog, thanks for joining our travels.
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How Should a New Asphalt Surface Look?

Remember the last time you got a new pair of jeans?  With tomorrow being Christmas, you may even find a new pair of jeans waiting for you in a neatly wrapped box under the tree.  At which point you can finally ditch those old jeans you’ve had for years even though they are torn to shreds until each individual denim molecule is so strained it can barely retain the properties of a solid. It actually becomes denim vapor (a reference to Seinfeld, for those of you keeping score).

Well, perhaps you try these new jeans on and they looked good but maybe didn’t quite feel “perfect” as you hoped?

In some ways, the analogy of getting a new pair of jeans is comparable to getting a new asphalt surface on your parking lot.

When you try on a new pair of jeans, chances are that they are stiff and not very forgiving in certain areas, to say the least.

As it turns out, a parking lot is much the same way.

The day when your new lot is completed you’re going to see a shiny, black, fresh new asphalt surface, just as you would look at a new pair of jeans and see just the right color, shape, and overall look you were going for.

And just like a new pair of jeans, a new asphalt parking lot will look and feel better after some breaking in as cars pass over it and it gets a little bit weathered.

On a new parking lot, you might see some small defects such as divots or bubbles, but given a few weeks of settling these small imperfections will start to smoothe out, since asphalt blacktop has somewhat malleable properties to it.

You will also find that line striping and curb painting will make a world of difference on the overall look of a parking lot.  There’s nothing like the crisp contrast of new white or yellow paint on a rich, black parking lot or road.  The imperfections that you noticed before will seemingly disappear before your very eyes.

So if you get your parking lot repaved and you’re a little concerned about the surface not looking absolutely “perfect,” remember that just like new denim jeans, give it some time and blacktop will break in beautifully.

12 Tips on Parking Lot Maintenance for 12/12/12

In honor of today being 12/12/12, we have whipped up 12 tips on how to maintain the parking area or driveway at your office, home, or other property.   If you own or oversee a parking lot, please keep in mind that the better care you take of it, the longer it will last and the less it is likely to cost in repairs.  Now onto the tips!

1.  Sweep up dirt, leaves, and other debris:  Obviously, having your parking lot covered in any type of debris looks bad but more importantly it can also be a hazard for pedestrians and drivers.  Not to mention it can diminish your property value if you’re looking to sell.  Also, if you happen to have porous pavement installed, you need to have the pavement swept more regularly so that the dirt does not clog up the holes that allow the water to drain.

2.  Fix potholes and cracks:  This is particularly important as winter weather approaches since water that gets in potholes and cracks can freeze, expand, and make the problem areas even worse.

3.  Sealcoat every 2-4 years:  Sealcoating helps to maintain the surface of the asphalt and slows the break down effect that water and other elements can have on it, thus enabling the pavement to last longer.  Note that 2-4 years is a guideline, but this is largely dependent on weather and usage.  If you find that the surface is fading and/or cracking more quickly or slowly, then adjust your sealcoating plans accordingly.

4.  Freshen painted markings:  If your parking space lines, curbs, handicapped signs, and other painted areas are looking faded, discolored, or chipped, then laying down some fresh paint (preferably after sealcoating) can really make a huge difference in curb appeal while also helping to make the area safer since drivers and pedestrians can see the markings better.

5.  Clear out drainage basins:  If you have leaves and other items clogged into your drainage basin, water will not be able to drain away and will quickly back up in a bad storm, causing the road surface to flood.  Not only is a flooded road surface a driving hazard, but standing water can also wear down your pavement more quickly.

6.  Repair tripping hazards on sidewalks:  Sometimes tree roots can lift up slabs of concrete sidewalk, or other tripping hazards can develop over time.  Have these problem areas fixed up quickly so that nobody gets hurt (which thus reduces your liability as well).

7.  Clearly mark address numbers on your curb:  Emergency personnel may need to see your street number on the curb in front of your house or building, so having numbers clearly demarcated will help them get to you more quickly in the event of an emergency.

8.  Kill weeds growing in cracks:  Weeds growing in cracks have the same effect as ice on your pavement (see above).   Once you remove them from your lot, you should fix the crack or pothole where they popped up to prevent their return.

9.  Clean up oil stains:  Oil stains from automobiles parked on your lot are not only unsightly, but they also contribute to breaking down the asphalt more quickly.  Here are some suggested ways of removing oil stains.

10.  Keep rock salt and sand on hand for snowy and icy conditions.  When the weather outside turns frightful, rock salt will slow the onset of ice from forming and help to make it easier to shovel or plow your lot, while sand will help improve driveability by providing more traction.

11.  Rotate parking areas, when possible.  If you can alternate parking spots, you will help prevent dips and sink holes from forming since your pavement wears when you continually park in the same areas.  In addition, avoid making hard turns when the car is not in motion since this digs into the asphalt and causes depressions

12.  Avoid driving or parking heavy equipment near the edge of your asphalt (where the road meets concrete, brick pavers, etc.) since this area is more susceptible to breaking down compared to the main part of your asphalt.

We hope these 12 tips help you in maintaining your asphalt and concrete parking lot, enabling you to maximize your asphalt’s lifespan and minimize the cost of having to replace it.  If you have any questions along the way, please feel free to contact us here at APCON at 215-672-8000 or info@assocpaving.com and we will steer you in the right direction.

Thanks for reading and safe travels!

4 Great Articles on Dealing with Snow

If you live in the Philadelphia metro area, you’re probably getting hit with some snow right about now (particularly if you live or work in Bucks County, where we are currently getting a steady dumping here in Warminster).  And it seems like it’s snowing more heavily than predicted, but then again, what fun would life be with a perfect weather forecast all the time?APCON snow plow

As we here at APCON gear up in case we have to get to work plowing or salting or sanding parking lots and roads, we wanted to share some info for being prepared for snow fall.  Check out the links below for your one-stop-shop on all things related to the flaky white stuff:

-”16 Cardinal Rules on Snow Shoveling”:  Popular Mechanics gives the “scoop” on how to shovel snow in your driveway

-”Driving in Snow and Ice”:  Weather.com serves up some helpful tips on driving in hazardous winter weather

-”How to Remove Snow from Your Car”:  This AAA video demonstrates proper ways to clearing snow off your automobile 

-And what good would a blog post about snow be without an article on “How to Make the Perfect Snowball” (from the UK, of all places)?

We hope these areticles are helpful to you.  If you’re out driving or shoveling (or throwing snowballs), please do so carefully.

And fear not fellow Delaware Valley-ans, it looks like the snow should be melting in the next day or two as the sun returns and gets temps back into the 40s.  Or at least so they say…

How to Cross a Crosswalk with a Crossing

Perhaps the Beatles were the first to turn a crosswalk into a recognizable landmark, with their legendary Abbey Road album cover (just do a Google Image search for “famous crosswalks” and photos of the Fab Four– and imitators– crossing Abbey Road will explode across your screen).  Anybody who has seen the snapshot of John, Paul, George, & Ringo crossing that otherwise mundane road will likely conjure up mental images of Britain, or maybe a song or two from that album.

But another crossing that occured a couple hundred years earlier, on this side of “the Pond,” may be just as famous– George Washington’s iconic crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night, 1776.  This bold and brave moment in time turned the tides of the Revolutionary War and changed history forever.

So… where exactly are we going with all of this, you ask?

Well just this week, APCON had the opportunity to install a crosswalk in Washington Crossing, PA!  Ok, it’s admittedly not quite as exciting as either the Beatles’ Abbey Road or the actual crossing that George Washington & Co. did, but, in our defense, this is also no ordinary crosswalk.crosswalks brick colored herringbone pattern Adbruf GeoPaveX

Take a look at the accompanying photos and you will see an eye-catching, red brick, herringbone-patterned crosswalk in a rustic wooded setting.

But guess what– that’s not real brick!

The material used for this crosswalk is called GeoPaveX by Adbruf, which, in a convenient twist of fate that ties in nicely with apcon workers installing adbruf crosswalkthis story, is a company that is headquartered in England.

In a nutshell, this crosswalk was installed on top of asphalt, whereby an aggregate stone is mixed with a resin and applied as a coating, and then stamped into the pattern you see.  The result is a fresh-looking, long-lasting crosswalk that stands out to drivers and pedestrians alike.  Plus, there are many benefits of this installation compared to laying an actual brick crosswalk, including:

  • Quicker installation– Laying bricks can take multiple days and require extensive labor, thus disrupting traffic for a long stretch of time, and potentially incurring extensive costs. For a project like this, Adbruf can be installed in under a day, thus minimizing traffic snarls and costs.
  • Consistently flat surface– If you’ve ever walked down a brick sidewalk or crosswalk, you’ll know how bumpy and uneven it can get, especially as the foundation below it expands and contracts over time. Adbruf, on the other hand, maintains its flat surface as long as the asphalt below remains true, which is generally the case since asphalt pavement has good long term stability. All in all, Adbruf surfaces minimize tripping hazards, thus making it safe for pedestrians.
  • No loose stones– Unlike bricks, a crosswalk made with a product like Adbruf’s GeoPaveX is one solid surface, so stones will not become loose and need repair, plus weed growth is inhibited compared to brick pathways.

These are just some of the benefits obtained by using Adbruf’s GeoPaveX for a crosswalk, and if you’re interested in learning more, please feel free to contact us at 215-672-8000 or info@assocpaving.com.

Thanks for reading and safe travels!

APCON Gears up for Winter Weather

APCON  truck with snow plow

An APCON triaxle dump truck gears up with a snow plow to clear wintry precipitation out of local parking lots.

Hurricane Sandy has come and (thankfully) gone, but that sure doesn’t stop Mother Nature.

Now, a Nor’easter storm has arrived, striking the Philadelphia-New Jersey region just eight days after one of the most destructive hurricanes in the country’s history.  Unfortunately, many local residents and businesses have remained without power since the hurricane, and this new storm is bringing cold temperatures, along with rain and snow, depending on your location; thus, this wintry weather could cause more power outages and further damage, though we’re hoping that this is not the case.

In any event, APCON is gearing up for the start of snow plowing season. APCON has approximately 20 trucks available for snow plowing, including triaxle dump trucks that can be used for salting/sanding the roadways and parking lots.  We also utilize snow blowers for clearing off parking lot sidewalks.  And yes, the good old fashioned hand-held snow shovel or two could always make an appearance at one of our clearing locations if needed.

A gentle reminder to all property owners– in most cases, YOU are responsible for keeping your property clear of snow and ice (be sure to check your local laws). Please keep this in mind as snow piles up on your premises, so that no people or cars get damaged from snow not being plowed away or ice not being salted or sanded.

If you have any questions about snow removal for the Bucks County area, please feel free to contact us at 215-672-8000 and we would be happy to discuss them with you. We have worked with businesses ranging from corporate centers to hotels to shopping centers and more, as well as the public sector, to keep snow from hindering travels in the Bucks County region.

5 Benefits of ADA Compliance for Your Parking Lot

Our last APCON Blog post focused on an overview of ADA compliance for parking lots.  Now, to continue this topic, we look into a few benefits of taking the steps to make your parking lot ADA compliant.

In recent years, more and more businesses have been increasing their investments in making sure their buildings and parking lots are ADA compliant.  An example of this might be a store owner who has steps leading into his store’s entrance way, but wants to make his or her store more accessible for individuals in wheelchairs.  The store owner thus decides to install a wheelchair ramp to allow individuals using wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches, to enter the store.

Despite the monetary cost of this type of project, there are many potential “hidden” benefits of making ADA compliant adjustments to your parking lot and entranceway, such as:

1.  Increase Patronage

Keep in mind that by making your parking lot ADA compliant, you will be welcoming a broader range of customers or clients to your facilities.  An additional benefit is that you will be creating a more conducive atmosphere for current and prospective employees to enter your building, thereby increasing the employment pool you can draw from.

2.  Earn Tax Deductions

According to the ADA website, “the Internal Revenue Code allows a deduction of up to $15,000 per year for expenses associated with the removal of qualified architectural and transportation barriers (Section 190).”  As always, check first with an accounting professional, but if you do qualify, this deduction will obviously help you reduce the cost of upgrading your lot to making it ADA compliant.

3.  Gain Competitive Advantages

In addition to the above two benefits, consider that making your parking lot ADA compliant may give you a competitive advantage over another similar local business that does not have an ADA compliant parking area.  If people have trouble accessing one store, they are much more likely to patronize the store that makes it easier for them to get around.

4.  Boost Property Value

By making your parking lot and entranceway ADA compliant, you likely will be increasing the property value of your business, since any business that buys the property would not have to undertake the projects, but would still reap many of the benefits of being ADA complaint by buying your property.

5.  Spread Civic Pride

While benefits such as tax deductions or property value increases are great for a business’ bottom line, sometimes just “doing the right thing” goes a long way in and of itself.  Consider the difficulties that individuals with disabilities may face on a day to day basis; just by keeping them in mind as you make improvements to your parking lot will go a long way in making their lives easier.  Having civic pride can have great ramifications for your business over the long run, as prospective customers feel better about doing business with you because you care about the community.

Last Word– “Is My Business Required to Remove Barriers?”

We will wrap this article up with the above question, which is posed on the ADA website.  (Essentially, this is asking the question of whether or not you are required to make your parking lot ADA compliant, removing barriers in your parking lot is what ADA compliance is all about.)  On that subject, here is what the ADA website says:

“If your business provides goods and services to the public, you are required to remove barriers if doing so is readily achievable. Such a business is called a public accommodation because it serves the public. If your business is not open to the public but is only a place of employment like a warehouse, manufacturing facility or office building, then there is no requirement to remove barriers. Such a facility is called a commercial facility. While the operator of a commercial facility is not required to remove barriers, you must comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design when you alter, renovate or expand your facility.”

This defnitions provides some leeway, but please be sure to check the ADA website for more information.

Lastly, we hope that this article is helpful to you as you make plans to upgrade your parking lot, and we would love to hear any feedback you may have.  Thank you.

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Associated Paving Contractors, based in Warminster, PA, serves the Philadelphia metro area and would be happy to talk to you about ADA compliance projects that you have in mind, such as wheelchair ramp installation, curb modifications, or handicap parking space upgrades.  Please feel free to contact us at 215-672-8000 or info@assocpaving.com to discuss in more detail.

 

Is Your Parking Lot ADA Compliant?

Perhaps your business or place of work has a parking lot connected to it.  If so, you probably see it every day, but have you ever considered if the parking lot is ADA compliant?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), originally signed into law in 1990 and later amended with changes in 2009, covers a vast range of guidelines that are put in place “to create civil rights law protections for people with disabilities that would be permanent, would not be able to be reversed or weakened, and would prohibit all discrimination,” according to Wikipedia

As a whole, the ADA covers a broad gamut of topics, ranging from how wide a check out aisle should be to how seating should be arranged at entertainment venues to preventing discrimination on the job, and everything in between.  In a nutshell, it’s a comprehensive, standarized way of ensuring that everybody can participate in public activities on a day to day basis, regardless of any disabilities.  Think about it as a plan to eliminate obstacles for visitors at your business.

One part of this law that affects most businesses (particularly ones that are open to the public) is the ADA accessibility of a parking lot and building entrance.  This law includes ramifications on such areas as:

  • The number, size, and location of handicapped parking spaces
  • The arrangement of loading/unloading zones in front of a building
  • The posting of necessary signage
  • The dimensions of curb ramps
  • The specifications of a wheelchair ramp leading to the building’s entrance
  • The removal of barriers in existing lots

When you’re looking to construct a new parking lot or refurbish an existing one, ensuring that your parking lot is ADA compliant can be a lot to consider as planning gets underway.  Undoubtedly, you want to make sure it’s done right the first time so you won’t have to go back and make changes again.

(Though it may seem a bit daunting to ensure ADA compliance based on the extensive wording of the ADA law, there are several benefits for businessowners to keep in mind when undertaking parking lot construction or maintenance, in relation to making it ADA compliant.  We will look at these benefits in a forthcoming blog post… stay tuned!)

That said, if you are in the process of constructing or maintaining a parking lot, and you need help with ADA compliance, please feel free to email us or call us at 215-672-8000 to discuss your plans.  We are happy to assist you in getting the job done right.  Associated Paving Contractors, Inc. (APCON) has extensive experience in constructing or refurbishing parking lots that are ADA compliant, and we work with you through the entire process.

We serve the Philadelphia metropolitan area including Bucks County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Chester County, as well as South Jersey and Central Jersey, and even farther regions as needed.

Thanks for reading, and, as always, drive safely!

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