Preventive maintenance vs replacement

The Bayview O-train station is only “temporary”, but like many temporary things in the City, it has a long “temporary” life. Constructed in 2001, there are long sloping pedestrian walkways connecting the O-Train and Bus platforms.

The asphalt paths were laid on gravel base, but with no “shoulder” of gravel. Instead, the gravel slopes away right from the edge of the asphalt. I am sure someone dutifully looked up the correct slope in some engineering table, and that the gravel would be stable and not erode. Except …

Except the stability of gravel on a slope depends on there being no load at the top of the slope. However, is is obvious that pedestrians sometimes need a wider path than was provided, so they walk on the gravel. And snowplows drive on it. As do OC Transpo inspectors who cannot be expected to walk to the platform.

A few years ago I wrote OC Transpo pointing out that the gravel slopes needed to be topped up, or the asphalt — already cracking — would split off. Which it has spent some time doing just that. So last year OC Transpo put patches on the asphalt, but of course the gravel was not topped up. Result: more cracking, more deterioration, more expensive repairs.

Here is a path where the gravel has stayed flush with the asphalt, no doubt due to the presence of the handrail installed in 2002 or so: 

While the handrail protects the gravel, the gravel serves to support the pavement. No cracking, no falling off pieces, no repairs.

It is not unique to OC Transpo, or to the City, but to many organizations, businesses, and indeed households, that minor repairs and maintenance get put off resulting in the eventual expensive repair to, or replacement of, things that simply needed not to have been permitted to fall into ruin.

The Bayview Station has several more years of life left in it, until the “new” Bayview Station is built in the 2014-17 period. A truckload of gravel could keep those paths in usable shape til then.

Or, we can patch and replace bits of them just in time to tear the whole thing up.

4 thoughts on “Preventive maintenance vs replacement

  1. Just like there might finally be real-time bus data displays at the pathetic little Transitway stations downtown, just in time for them to be rendered obsolete by the underground trainamajig.

  2. The deterioration is also likely contributed by the occasional vehicle driving down the pathway (i.e. to pick up trash, etc.), and the handrail prevents them from driving close to that edge.

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