Recently, I drove through the service window of the BB&T Bank and circled back to Laurel Avenue in Damascus, Virginia. At all corners of the intersection, in the roadbed, long cement ramps have been installed. Similar construction has been duplicated at the next intersection of Laurel and Shady avenues.
Scarce parking spaces been lost: the ramps themselves create a monumental and dangerous hazard to traffic, pedestrians and bikers. Stormwater has easy access up the ramps and into all buildings.
The Town applied and received a grant through the American Disabilities Act to build handicap ramps … whether they were needed or not.
Cement has adversely impacted portions of the Friendship Path and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy walk. One hundred ninety-four bricks have been removed from the Friendship Path and more from the ATC walk on the opposite side of the street. It must be noted that the sidewalks belong not to the town but to VDOT.
The Friendship Path began as a community project in 1996. Colorful glazed-fired, hand painted, brick were set between plain bricks for the entire block. The Path became a permanent and meaningful record of events and people having a connection with the Town. Hundreds of bricks were engraved for the ATC walk in the next block. Those who paid for bricks in both walks had every reason to believe their memories would be lasting.
And so did I!
Fortunately, all saved bricks will be reset into the walks, preserving memories.
Just now a 22-minute downpour has brought ankle-deep water onto the sidewalks. Stores are flooded as the new ramps funnel water directly into them. One can only imagine future damage brought with a more serious storm! Grant money may have been free, but water management and damage may cost town taxpayers a great deal more.
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