Goodbye Mr Chips

image006[1]This is an open appeal to my Austin Cycling friends and contacts. Please call Austin 311 and tell them to stop laying chipseal on the inner-city roads they maintain.

The cities current double talk is just too confusing. They are heavily promoting a bike share program, they have a roadshow and are asking people to vote for locations to the bike share points. There are seven alone proposed in a strip of South 1st St, that was last night covered in chipseal. If you don’t know about chipseal, I couldn’t have done better than to built this website.

Chipseal is a cheap fix, well thats what the city thinks otherwise why would they do it?

South 1st is a mess today, and apparently more is scheduled tonight. The piles of loose stones, however temporary are dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians. Even the smallest fall on fresh chipseal will take a huge chunk from your hands. Leaving piles of loose stones in strips at the side of the road makes navigation and braking difficult to dangerous.

S 1st is particularly irritating since as I understand it, its a city maintained road unlike S Lamar or S Congress. Please stop this now. Chipseal damages car paintwork, glass, spreads dust and loose stones into the neighborhood and the road surface is noisier. By all means use this on Farm and Ranch roads that are lightly travelled, but urban roads that are heavily used, often by cars easily exceeding the speed limit borders on incompetent.

Please call Austin 311, complain about the surface of South 1st. They’ll ask for a cross street, tell them W Mary or Elizabeth St. Feel free to give your name, or ask to be anonymous, which ever you prefer.

Time to stop this nonsense. There are plenty of alternatives, and like when the city repaved S 1st down by Akins High School, it wasn’t obvious that anything needed doing, let alone dumping 2-ton of loose stones on a bed of hot oil.

4 thoughts on “Goodbye Mr Chips

  1. There is an excellent article comparing the types of road covering here. I can ‘t vouch for its’ accuracy, but it explains a number of types and includes pictures. It says of chipseal “Abrasive texture is not “Surface Friendly” for residential areas. Not effective for low volume roadways and parking lots. Lack of continuous traffic keeps the surface from binding together to form a suitable surface.”

  2. I don’t know if you’ll ever get this but here goes (many years ago I was a paving inspector). Chip seal is not intended to be a replacement for an asphalt recap. Rather, it is intended to extend the life of a roadway while helping to preserve the roadway base–in rough terms an investment of, say, five to ten percent of the cost of repaving can tack on a fifty percent increase in expected road life (in Kansas City, where I worked, typically from 20 to 30 years). Note that when a decayed road surface requires the bed to be replaced you can add an order of magnitude onto those costs–beyond the far greater disruption to traffic. A regular program of crack coating and chip seal helps to prevent this.

    Austin’s use of a chip-and-slurry seal is an example of perfectly appropriate practices and represents a good steward approach to maintaining a public asset.

    1. Thanks yes I got it. And I appreciate the professional opinion. What I’m confused about is why, o an urban road, less than a mile from city hall, where they are trying to encourage alternative forms of transport like cycling, do they choose this, compared to a much smoother, but similar cover over the same road.

      I can draw any other conclusion other than they just didn’t think it through and we’re being cheap because this isn’t downtown, even though it starts only 1/4 Mile from downtown. Thanks for the comment.

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