As attractive as the downtown streetscape improvements have been here in our Bull City, the crosswalks have raised their fair share of grumblings, too -- particularly from bicyclists and pedestrians, who've reported a number of slip-and-fall situations in the wintertime when the stamped concrete pavers themselves got iced over.
(And its not just the two-legged and two-wheeled commuters who've run, or make that slid, into problems. There were reportedly several vehicular accidents on the pavers, too.)
Word from the City, via Durham's always-active Bike & Ped listserv, is that this issue has made it to the desk of the venerable Ed Venable, who's planning his own Mr. Freeze assault against the freezing. Says Venable:
We have been working to make Durham as safe as possible. Two departments respond when there is ice reported. The Street Maintenance Department will mobilize to place salt and sand on icy areas and have a route that incorporates the stamped concrete downtown. General Services will also respond and will place sand and salt on the downtown sidewalks where there are pavers. Our direction is to anticipate the ice event if possible and place salt and sand. As always we will respond to any reported icy surfaces. We currently use a device to measure the temperature of road surfaces to anticipate the need for salt and sand.
According to Bike & Ped Advisory Commission member Diane Daniel, the City has no plans to add any new surface treatment to the pavers, a request that some observers had made, given that Durham's investigation of the matter found these materials to be "are industry standards widely used."