Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Committee Amends Brick Paver Resolution

Yesterday the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee modified my proposed Resolution to prohibit the use of brick pavers in the construction of streets, sidewalks and other public rights-of-way.

The committee, which I chair, amended the Resolution so that it would ban further use of cobblestones and stamped concrete from public rights-of-way but would permit brick pavers if they are installed according to specifications that are in accordance with the Bethesda Streetscape Standards. The brick pavers only would be allowed in urban districts charged with maintaining them or where there is a permanent maintenance and liability agreement in effect that provides for their maintenance.

We worked hard on this Resolution to include the interests of various stakeholders. With the amendments we have been able to ensure access to public facilities for people with disabilities while at the same time maintaining many options for aesthetics and creative design.

I originally proposed the Resolution in response to recommendations from the Commission on People with Disabilities and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation.

The Commission on People with Disabilities noted that wheelchair users and others with limited mobility find uneven surfaces to be extremely difficult to navigate. The Commission stated that these pavements create barriers for people with mobility and visual disabilities.

The County Department of Transportation has reported that brick-paver surfaces are more difficult and costly to maintain than concrete or asphalt surfaces. People who push baby strollers also have indicated the brick pavers cause difficulty.

The full Council will take action on the resolution Tuesday, April 21.

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