Fresh bricks

Working yesterday and today, a crew laid down new brick at Centennial Park on the north side of Mass. Ave.

Bricks patch the hole at Centennial Park North. Looking north from Mass. Ave. March 6.

Centennial Park is the small landscaped area on the Arlington side of the Alewife Brook. It’s where the new Greenway path joins Mass. Ave. The brick there had all but disappeared, as this second photo from a year ago shows.

Before: Centennial Park North, Spring 2011

I think this work was probably routine maintenance by the Town. However it may have been in connection with the Greenway path construction, which still has some rough spots though it is now walkable end to end.

It is not part of the scope of the Mass. Ave. project, which will not break ground until next year.

This post lets me finally unite Mass. Ave. with my very narrow documentation of the Greenway work near my house, but it is also interesting for another reason too.

Brick pavement, once the darling of urban revival, has lost its cachet. In Arlington I am tempted to say there is an emerging consensus against it. It’s tough on people in walkers and chairs and it does not hold up well over time, though it is easy to replace.

For the Mass. Ave. project, still in its 75% design phase, brick is out, except possibly for a decorative strip at the outer edge of the sidewalk. Even that would be anchored in concrete (unlike the Centennial Park treatment, which rests on sand), or even just red concrete stamped to look like bricks.

So are fresh bricks a step forward or back? This is certainly an improvement over a gaping hole. Any change in materials will have to wait for a redesign of Centennial Park.

By the way, here is my previous Greenway post, and here is the first in that whole series. Update: And the next.


1 comment so far

  1. Mark Kaepplein on

    This is not on Arlington property. Its DCR property or possibly Cambridge. Greenway money was most likely used.

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