Tag: Community

Designing Bicycle Box Systems to Keep Cyclists and Motorists Safe

Green box painted on pavement with bicycle riding on it in traffic

Everyone knows about bicycles. Like any sport, they have a fandom following, from avid Tour-de-Francers to all those dedicated bike-to-workers. Not to mention, it’s practically a rite of passage to learn how to ride one, and it’s the quintessential comparison when talking about things you never forget how to do once you learn.

Despite their popularity around the world, America still shines with its youthful glow in comparison to many historic countries; we just don’t have the same bicycle-laden streets that other countries have grown to cherish. That’s not to say that America isn’t making strides to enhance its bike-ability. Major cities have hundreds of miles of bike lanes, while New York City tops the list at having 1,000 miles.

Though America has some catching up to do, cities have seen overall betterment in roadway safety when communities define where bicyclists should travel on the roads.

One innovative design that’s gaining traction is the bicycle box. From the NACTO website, “A bike box is a designated area at the head of a traffic lane at a signalized intersection that provides bicyclists with a safe and visible way to get ahead of queuing traffic during the red signal phase.”

Bicycle boxes are innovative because they address many safety concerns at once, such as: increasing visibility of bicyclists, preventing “right-hook” conflicts, provides priority for bicyclists, and groups bicyclists into one obvious area, making it easier for cyclists to clear the area quickly.

Recognizing these benefits, Hoyle, Tanner recently designed a bicycle box system on Farrell Street in South Burlington, Vermont, which will become the first approved installation in the State. As Farrell Street is part of the route of the Champlain Bikeway (a 363-mile scenic loop around the lake), the City is dedicated to improving access and safety in this location and throughout the City. At the Farrell Street/Swift Street intersection, the City was particularly concerned that southbound cyclists looking to make a through or left turn would conflict with vehicles turning right to access US 7 & I-189. A bicycle box was the perfect solution. Hoyle, Tanner worked with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and gained interim approval for the City’s use of this valuable tool, which is required for new traffic control devices that have not yet been formally adopted. Partnering with Howard Stein Hudson, Hoyle, Tanner designed the bicycle boxes which will employ special highly visible green pavement markings and thermal or video bicycle detection to reduce collisions and improve safety at the intersection. With this experience, Hoyle, Tanner will look to aid other municipalities and state agencies with this and other emerging traffic control technologies, with a goal of improving the recreational and commuter transportation experience for all users.

Celebrate World Wetlands Day on February 2, 2018!

Body of water with green algae

February 2, 2018 has been designated as World Wetlands Day by the International/Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, with a focus on Urban Wetlands. What are urban wetlands, and why are they important?

Wetlands are land areas that are flooded with water, either permanently or seasonally, and include rivers, streams, floodplains, marshes, estuaries and bogs. Urban wetlands are these same bodies of water, but are found in or around cities and their suburbs.

Preserving urban wetlands is an important step to providing a sustainable future as our global population grows and becomes more urbanized. Currently, 50% of the world’s 4 billion people live in urban areas, with that number proposed to increase to 66% by 2050. The need to provide land for building and basic services should be balanced between the need to preserve and restore natural resources like wetlands in order to make cities more livable.

Historically, wetlands were viewed as land that should be filled in to create usable land. As upland or dry areas have been mostly built-out in our larger cities, wetlands are under more pressure to be filled and converted into “usable” space. Why is this a problem?

Wetlands perform valuable services in our landscape in six major ways:

1) They are the source of almost all drinkable water consumed by urban populations. Wetlands filter water before it enters groundwater aquifers, helping to replenish this important water source.

2) They support the plant life that acts to filter waste, absorb harmful toxins (including agricultural pesticides and industrial waste), treat sewage and improve water quality.

3) They improve air quality by increasing humidity and providing oxygen (from plants) into the local atmosphere, the combination of which results in natural cooling.

4) They act as sponges to absorb flood waters and then release water slowly to reduce flooding and storm surges.

5) Wetlands are often an important part of parks and conservation areas that offer space for recreation (kayaking, fishing, walking or jogging, etc.) and access to a diversity of plant and animal life, which has been shown to increase happiness and satisfaction in residents. Studies have confirmed that interacting with nature reduces stress and improves the overall quality of life.

6) They offer a way for citizens to make a living by providing opportunities for fishing and agriculture or collecting plants for weaving, medicine, and food products. Wetlands can also provide tourist attractions, such as recreational fishing, diving, and sight-seeing that enable local citizens to make a living from secondary service opportunities such as restaurants and hotels.

Man cutting tree branch to volunteer

Sean James, PE, Vice President, cuts branches along a walking trail as part of a recent community volunteer event.

Wetlands are important to our ecosystem. Here are some ways you can protect wetlands: get involved in local planning efforts and speak out in support of preserving new parks and conservation areas; volunteer to restore or clean-up existing parks, streams and wetlands that have been neglected or run-down; organize a volunteer day or event in your community to pick up trash, plant trees or flowers along your local river or stream bank; stay informed on proposed land-use changes in your community; support legislation that protects or preserves wetlands; reduce water consumption to reduce the demand on groundwater aquifers; reduce or avoid pesticide use, which can run-off into streams and wetlands and be toxic to fish, plants and wildlife; reuse or recycle natural materials; and reduce your waste where you can.

Integrating wetland preservation and restoration into urban policy and planning efforts is key to improving urban life now and in the future.

Volunteering to Make a Difference

NH Food Bank Mac Off

Reaching, stepping, buildingblog-stats-graphic-volunteering

We’re proud that members of our team are reaching out, stepping in, and building up the community. Over the past year, Hoyle, Tanner employees — both on their own and representing the company — have volunteered or donated to more than 15 causes. Since August, we’ve had at least 22 of our employees donate time, energy, and resources to causes like the New Hampshire Food Bank, the Elliot Regional Cancer Center, the City of Manchester, and the Granite United Way. We don’t just want to work and live in our community; we want to make it the best it can be.

Uplifting spirits with food security

The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, exists as the only food bank in New Hampshire. The Food Bank gives millions of pounds of food to more than 400 food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other partner agencies throughout the state every year. Because of the Food Bank’s efforts, hundreds of thousands of food-insecure residents have access to meals.

Running toward better health – for others

We had our largest group of 14 runners and walkers come out for this year’s Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race on Thursday, August 10th. The race supports the Elliot Regional Cancer Center, and with over 6,000 registrants, it is the largest road race in New Hampshire. The Elliot Hospital was the first in New Hampshire to establish a cancer center in 1966. The center is home to surgical, medical and radiation oncologists with state-of-the-art technology to help patients fight cancer.

Living & giving united

After an environmental engineer at Hoyle, Tanner worked on water and sanitation improvements in Haiti five years ago, we continue to look for ways to donate to the community. This year, the goal is to donate money so that the poorest children in Leon (in the Grand’Anse Department in Western Haiti) get to attend school.

Changing through empathy

We know that sometimes… it takes a village. It takes great people coming together to see that others are struggling and offer to help. We’re proud that the Hoyle, Tanner family has so many caring souls — who dedicate part of their paycheck, time, a good ounce of energy — all to help out those in need.

14 Steps for Preserving Steel Structures

Piermont, NH-Bradford, VT Steel Bridge

Preventative maintenance is defined as scheduled work at regular intervals with the goal to preserve the present condition and prevent future deficiencies. On bridge structures, this work is typically performed on structures rated in ‘fair’ or better condition with significant service life remaining. Minor repairs may be necessary to maintain the integrity of the structure and prevent major rehabilitation. Structures that are not maintained are more likely to deteriorate at a faster rate and require costlier treatments sooner than maintained structures; therefore, it is more cost effective to maintain structures to avoid replacement or major rehabilitation needs.

New England’s weather causes extreme conditions for steel bridge trusses, such as flooding, ice and snow. Corrosive de-icing agents are used in the winter, which can accelerate deterioration of exposed bridge elements. Preventative maintenance is critical for steel truss bridges to reach their intended design service life and, therefore, attain the lowest life-cycle cost of the bridge investment. Presented are minimum recommended guidelines for preventative maintenance of steel truss bridges.

Here are 14 actionable maintenance tasks to preserve historic truss bridges:

  1. General: Remove brush and vegetation around structure. Annually.
  2. Bridge Deck & Sidewalks: Sweep clean sand and other debris. Power wash with water to remove salt residue. Annually.
  3. Wearing Surface: Check for excessive cracking and deterioration. Annually. 
  4. Expansion Joint: Power wash with water to remove debris, sand and salt residue. Annually.
  5. Bolted Connections: Inspect for excessive corrosion or cracking of the steel fasteners. Check for any loose or missing bolts. Annually.
  6. Welded Connections: Check for cracking in the welds. Annually.
  7. Truss Members: Power wash with water to remove sand, salt and debris, particularly along the bottom chord. Give specific attention to debris accumulation within partially enclosed locations such as truss panel point connections or tubular members. Annually.
  8. Bridge Seats: Clean around bearings by flushing with water or air blast cleaning. Annually.
  9. NBIS Inspection: Complete inspection of all components of the steel truss bridge. Every 2 years unless on Red List.
  10. Painted Steel: Scrape or wire brush clean, prime and paint isolated areas of rusted steel. Every 2 to 4 years.
  11. Steel Members: Check for rust, other deterioration or distortion around rivets and bolts, and elements that come in contact with the bridge deck which may be susceptible to corrosion from roadway moisture and de-icing agents. Every 3 to 5 years.
  12. Bearings: Remove debris that may cause the bearings to lock and become incapable of movement. Check anchor bolts for damage and determine if they are secure. Every 3 to 5 years.
  13. Exposed Concrete Surfaces: Apply silane/siloxane sealers after cleaning and drying concrete surfaces. Every 4 years.
  14. Bridge & Approach Rail: Inspect for damage, loose or missing bolts, sharp edges or protrusions. Every 5 years.

Actions to Avoid

  • Do not bolt or weld to the structural steel members.
  • Do not remove any portion of the structure.
  • CAUTION! Paint may contain lead.

Additional resources can be found through the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources website.

Employee Spotlight: Fran Weaver

Fran
Fran Weaver, Grant Administrator at work & Avid Recycler/Earth Enthusiast in free time
  1. What has drawn you to and kept you at Hoyle, Tanner?
    • Well the real reason I came here is because someone I used to work for, Bill E., called me and said, “Are you looking for a job?” So I came into the interview and it was odd. It was December 1997, and the company was just moving into this space [the mill building]. There were moving boxes everywhere. It was strange. The other interesting thing that happened is that Bill worked in this building for a place called Pandora. I’d worked for Bill in this same building! It was like coming home [laughs]. The people have obviously kept me here. They’re wonderful. [Chuckles] It’s been a thrilling ride!
  2. What’s your favorite thing to see in the office?
    • My favorite thing to see is… happy people. Happy people coming into the office, getting their coffee, settling in for the day. Yeah, happy people.
  3. My favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner is _____ because…
    • Is there a least favorite? [Laughs] No, I won’t say least favorite. I guess my busiest time and hardest time, and therefore least favorite is April. Because that’s when we’re pushing to get all our grants done for our clients. And then May 1 is when all the grants are due and it’s a collective sigh of relief. I usually take a couple of days off after to recuperate.
  4. What is one thing you feel you have to do before the end of your life? Bucket list item?
    • I’m getting awfully close to that you know! [Laughs] Move to Maine. It’s where most of our clients live, though that’s not the reason I’d move there. I’ve always been drawn to it. The seacoast.
  5. Do you have a favorite quote? Something you live by?
    • “Do unto others.” That’s it.
  6. If you were to skydive, what would you think about most on your way down?
    • “How long is it till I crash?” [Laughs] I’m not a roller coaster person. I know I’d be closing my eyes, saying “Is it over yet? Is it over yet?” A plane is a different story. [We] flew to Augusta, Maine and that was awesome.
  7. If you were to enter a talent contest and you could do anything, what would be your talent?
    • Can I cook? I would cook. I’d make a special meal for the judges.
  8. Favorite food?
    • Seafood—lobster specifically.
  9. My heart melts at the sight of______:
    • [Without hesitation] Puppies.
  10. When you’re not working, what could people most likely find you doing?
    • Volunteering. I volunteer for different organizations. I do walkathons for the animal shelter, and I volunteer for New Horizons Soup Kitchen and Shelter. Through New Horizons I do 5k races. If you volunteer to help at the races, donations go to New Horizons and other organizations. My two favorites are the Friends of Manchester Animal Shelter and New Horizons.

Unifying Beautification Efforts in the Millyard

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In honor of Earth Day 2016, members of our team are hitting the streets and giving back to the Manchester community by participating in Intown Manchester’s #AdoptABlock neighborhood clean-up effort. Intown Manchester is the only Business Improvement District in the State of New Hampshire and is “working in cooperation with the City of Manchester to increase downtown’s competitiveness and to affirm Manchester’s position as an economic leader of the New England region.”

In addition to working in our corporate headquarters in the Millyard, many of our employees call the Queen City home and, therefore, the clean-up effort provides an opportunity for us to give back to them and the public. The Adopt-a-Block program is bringing together local business men and women to unify the beautification efforts and improve Manchester’s livability.

“We’re excited to participate in our first “Adopt-A-Block” and look forward to spending time with many of our Millyard neighbors making a positive impact to the community we work and live in,” states Jen Pelletier, Marketing Manager. “The fact that the event falls on Earth Day is extra special, we have the opportunity to take part in the largest secular civic event in the world.”

In New Hampshire, numerous Earth Day celebrations and volunteer activities are planned to inspire residents to get involved in conserving our planet for years to come. To find out more about Earth Day and to get involved… Take Action!

How Your Community Plays a Part in National Walk to Work Day

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Spring has arrived just in time for National Walk to Work Day! Individuals across the country are lacing up their sneakers and hitting the pavement, while communities are taking a more holistic approach to ensuring safe pedestrian and bicycle travel. Many municipalities are introducing the concept of “complete streets”, introduced by the National Complete Streets Coalition, to their design efforts to balance safety and convenience for motorists, transit users, pedestrians and cyclists alike. Currently, there isn’t a single design for a complete street; it represents creating roads that are safe for all users, regardless of age, ability, or transportation method. Growing in popularity, some of the complete streets features are being implemented throughout the state, including:

Traffic Calming
With the growing demand for alternative modes of transportation, traffic calming measures are being introduced on various roadways to ensure safe travel for all users. The use of narrowed throughways, speed bumps/humps/tables,chicanes, and curb extensions (bulbouts) are some of the many features being used in the efforts to slow automobile travel, including the Union Street Reconstruction in Peterborough, New Hampshire. This project also incorporated tree plantings along the medians to beautify the area.

High Visibility Crosswalks
History shows pedestrian crossings existing more than 2000 years ago, where raised blocks on roadways provided a means for pedestrians to cross without having to step on the street itself. In current designs, high visibility crosswalks are incorporated to guide pedestrians and alert motorists to the crossing locations. Six foot wide crosswalks are installed using long lasting plastic/epoxy or paint embedded with reflective glass beads to assist in the crossing markings. In addition to local governments, universities, like the University of New Hampshire, are incorporating these crosswalks on their campuses.

Shared Use Paths
A multi-use path or trail that has been separated from motor vehicle travel and has been established for alternative transportation purposes is another option that is growing in popularity. Utilizing existing right-of-ways to create these travel corridors for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, equestrians, and other non-motorized users in some instances are also used to observe the natural environment in various communities. Recently, a shared use path was completed connecting Manchester’s and Goffstown’s trail system.

Multi-Modal Intersection
Intersections have the unique responsibility of accommodating and coordinating the nearly-constant occurrence of conflicts between all modes of transportation. Multi-modal intersections focus on intersections where numerous modes of travel come together and the coordination is required for the safety of all users. Utilizing different design features such as corner refuge islands, forward stop bars, and dedicated bike lanes, as used on Manchester Street in Concord, all intersection users can travel simultaneously, safely.

With many communities implementing these design features into roadway geometry, walking to work can be as simple as strapping on your shoes and heading out the door. By walking to work for this nationally recognized day, you will help reduce carbon emissions, get fit, and avoid the traffic jams.

Every Little Bit Counts

Deb-with-Cart-Donation

During the recession in 2009, Hoyle, Tanner’s employees joined together to help the local community in New Hampshire and started a non-perishable collection to benefit the New Hampshire Food Bank (#NHFoodBank). Each month Hoyle, Tanner employees use the food bank theme for the month’s collections and although we don’t always stick to the theme our employees remain committed to helping families in need.

food-bank-statistics

Coming up on the fifth anniversary of starting this program, we have come to realize that every bit counts – both large and small. Collecting various non-perishables throughout this program, in one month our smallest donation was 11 pounds and our largest donation was 149 pounds. Now totaling over 1,900 pounds, we have helped provide nearly 2,500 meals to hungry families in New Hampshire. Statistics (summarized above) regarding the individuals  served by the NH Food Bank were collected off of their website at  http://www.nhfoodbank.org/Statistics.aspx.