Details, details

As sidewalk construction winds down in my neighborhood—and tears through the heart of the business district—I’m noticing the little things.

No curb cut at this curb cut on the western corner of Henderson St.

No curb cut at this curb cut on the western corner of Henderson St.

There’s no curb cut at the western corner of Henderson Street and Mass. Ave. where the sidewalk was poured just last week.

There’s a detectable warning strip (the orange bumpy thing) set into the sidewalk, but the pavement does not slope down into the street.

The reason for this surprised me.

When I first noticed the anomalous curb on the morning of July 2, I thought I might have spotted a mistake. Fortunately someone from Lynch, the construction contractor, was on the street.

He told me that at that location the street pavement would be raised “almost like a speed bump” to prevent rainwater runoff from Mass. Ave. from flowing north down Henderson St. Today this flow can aggravate flooding and drainage problems.

As of right now there is a short asphalt ramp (not shown, temporary) at the curb to ease the way off the sidewalk until the final version is built in the fall.

There’s no indication of this raised half crossing that I can see on the construction drawings, so perhaps this was design change that postdates the 100% plans.

Raised crosswalks, anyone?

Some of the members of the Mass. Ave. Review Committee had asked that side-street crosswalks in the business district be raised, so that for instance the walk across Chandler Street at Mass. Ave. would be level with the sidewalk.

Raised crosswalks are more gradual than speed bumps but similarly serve to cue drivers to proceed cautiously. They also make pedestrians more visible and provide a more accessible and, arguably, pedestrian-friendly experience.

Henderson East

There’s a normal curb cut on the east side of Henderson St.

This request went nowhere, however, probably because of drainage issues. Even at Henderson Street there will be some accumulation of water on the Mass. Ave. side of the bump.

The bump at Henderson Street will only be on the west side of the intersection. The east side of the street is higher and the sidewalk dips as usual to join the street.

More details

Add sidewalk. Wait 50 years. Remove sidewalk. (Teel St. looking north.)

Add sidewalk. Wait 50 years. Remove sidewalk. (Teel St. looking north.)

In the same neighborhood, Teel Street boasts some magnificent old oak trees. One of these is in the construction zone and has been suitably bundled in wood for protection.

The removal of the old sidewalk gave a brief peek at how trees can adapt to the urban environment.

On the south side of Mass. Ave., sidewalk work has extended  as far as Melrose Street (skipping for a time the short Lake-Chandler Street block).

The north side is largely poured except for a few gaps and temporary asphalt patches.

Click here for recent construction news.

granite blocks

Labeled slabs of granite labeled awaiting use across from the East Arlington Post Office on June 24.



2 comments so far

  1. Charlie on

    There actually is a slight grade change at the curb ramp in question. When completed, the pavement will line up with the ramp, but there are additional layers of pavement to be laid still, which is why there is a gap between the pavement and the ramp.

    • Adam Auster on

      Thank Charlie. I have to say it isn’t obvious, and that the street will have to rise considerably to be level with the sidewalk “ramp” there.

      It also looks to my eye that unlike every other curb ramp this one does not angle Mass Ave–ward, though there is such an angle indicated in the 100% drawings.

      It’s present in the opposite corner but not here; as you can see in the photo the lines of the sidewalk slabs are straight as railroad tracks.

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