Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bricks, Bethesda Style

Many areas undergoing re-development want brick sidewalks because they look nicer than concrete. Some people have come out against them because they are harder for disabled people to navigate, the uneven surface makes it harder to walk in high heels, and they are more slippery than concrete when wet.

The Silver Spring Penguin reports that the county council decided brick pavers for sidewalks are OK as long as they are done to the "Bethesda streetscape standard", which is "a concrete foundation, a schmear of asphalt on top of that, then an asphalt adhesive to hold the bricks together" Residents swing both ways on the issue. Some argue that the brick surfaces are slippery when wet, while others favor them because they give the place a signature look.

I do like the look, but don't think they are very practical. I've previously written about how water puddles up on them and just yesterday almost tripped on a paver that had come up at the intersection of Old Georgetown Rd and Edgemoor Ln, Betheda, MD. I took a picture of the area this morning (see above). Full disclosure: someone had put the loose brick back in place, I pulled it out again for the photo (and put it back when I was done). That whole section needs to be fixed, there are numerous loose bricks and most of the mortar between them is gone.

Update 2:20pm. After posting this I emailed Bethesda Urban Partnership about the broken bricks and right now there are people out there fixing them.

update 9:40pm. So this wasn't supposed to be a post about these particular bricks, but they are taking out the slim pavers and putting in full size bricks. It also looks like they are set in sand, not the concrete/asphalt/adhesive of the "Bethesda streetscape standard". They didn't get done today but the made a lot of progress.

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