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Just Beachy:

Pedestrian walkway simulates sand, surf with PPG preformed thermoplastic system

Beachgoers at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut, can hit the sand and surf even before leaving the parking lot through a seascape pedestrian walkway brought to life by long-standing partnerships and ENNIS-FLINT® by PPG TRAFFICPATTERNS® interconnected surface system.

When city officials began planning a renovation of the beach’s parking lot, they turned to companies they trusted to create and install a walkway that not only helps keep pedestrians safe from vehicles but also provides architectural interest. The synergistic and long-standing relationships between the city, PPG, the landscape architect and the installer were fundamental to the project’s success.

Aris Land Studio of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was subcontracted by AI Engineers to design the 18-foot-by-300-foot walkway in collaboration with renowned graphic designer Nigel Holmes. Simulating walking from sand to sea and interspersed with seascape imagery, the colorful design builds excitement and captures the fun of a day at the beach.

“With the walkway, we realized that we needed a custom design to create a unique identity and stronger sense of place for the park,” said Āris Stalis, founder and president of Aris Land Studio. “The art is playful yet provides significant function.”

Collaboration in action

Stalis reviewed the project with David Isaacs from PPG’s Traffic Solutions business during a product presentation. The wheels began turning, with the Traffic Solutions team laying out Holmes’ design and ushering it through the city approval process.

“We selected the TrafficPatterns system for the beach walkway because it could do something architecturally and artistically that other materials could not,” said Daniel Stanton, senior civil engineer for the City of Norwalk. “It was the only product that could turn the walkway into a billboard for the beach.”

The city previously used TrafficPatterns products for a rainbow crosswalk it installed in June 2021 to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month.

The TrafficPatterns system is a durable preformed thermoplastic pavement marking material that provides a cost-effective alternative to other decorative surface materials. The heavy-duty, intersection-grade markings also last six to eight times longer than traditional paint, allowing them to better withstand the plows and road salt of snowy Connecticut.

The pattern and color combinations of the interconnected sheets gave the designers flexibility to create the beach’s unique identity, and anti-skid elements distributed evenly throughout the material provide enhanced slip resistance. TrafficPatterns colors also exhibit a high degree of ultraviolet (UV) resistance, ensuring long-lasting color stability.

Flawless installation

Based on the success of previous joint projects, the city and PPG’s Traffic Solutions business had total faith that the Rocco Iadarola Company could install the 5,400-square-foot walkway. A five-person crew completed the project in four and half days using 1,350 pre-printed thermoplastic sheets measuring 2-foot-square and 125-mil thick that were installed with sealer, a reciprocating infrared heater and a vibratory plate compactor.

“The layout work and application went smoothly, and we had no issues with keeping a straight line for 300 feet,” said Rocco Iadarola, owner of the Waterbury, Connecticut, company. “I highly recommend TrafficPatterns products not because my company is a certified installer but because I don’t think there’s anything out there that’s as cost effective, easy to install and durable. This walkway is going to be here for years.”

The walkway opened to beachgoers in May 2023.

“In person, the imagery exceeds the expectations of the architectural sketch,” said Stanton. “This was not a situation of overpromising and underdelivering. It’s the exact opposite of that.”

To learn more about the TrafficPatterns interconnected surface system, visit
the Ennis-Flint website or call 1-800-331-8118.

TrafficPatterns Sealer
Sealer is applied prior to the TrafficPatterns preformed thermoplastic sheets being placed.

TrafficPatterns Sheets
Workers lay out the individual sheets according to the design.

TrafficPatterns Heat
A reciprocating infrared heater bonds the material to the pavement and seals the sheets together for a seamless finished product.

Medallions with seascape imagery create visual interest and offer spots for beachgoers to meet up.

The finished walkway extends 300 feet.