Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nobody Walks in Vienna, VA

Or at least nobody who was in any way involved in the design of the sidewalks! Or they certainly don't walk in winter.

I first moved to Vienna, VA in fall of 2002, just in time for a snow storm. Sometime prior to that, in an effort, not doubt, to beautify the downtown, they installed red brick sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks. And they do look spiffy, that's for sure. They're also frighteningly slick and slippery in winter! Apparently, compared to the more typical concrete sidewalks, brick ices faster and thaws more slowly, leading to really treacherous conditions when snow or sleet or freezing rain fall.

It's bad enough that the sidewalks are deadly... but in their infinite wisdom someone decided it would be a great idea to do crosswalks in intersections in brick as well. Woo hoo! So, while the asphalt warms up pretty readily and melts the snow and ice, the strip pedestrians must navigate is slicker than the proverbial pig excrement! Sheesh. Irony of ironies... just a few months ago, the swankier town of McLean just invested a big pile of money to replace a big section of their sidewalks with brick as well. Did no one there think to check on how it was working out in Vienna? Apparently not.

But maybe it does boil down to my title... it's rare that I see anyone actually walking on the sidewalks in all of northern Virginia, so maybe it's less of an issue than I'd think. But this time of year I tread very cautiously. Wish me luck!

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