Last month, the city finally sent a crew over to my neighborhood to repair our crumbling sidewalks. We've been requesting this for years, so we were happy to finally get a result. But it turns out that it wasn't much of a result. The first bit of disappointment was learning that the city would be slapping a layer of asphalt over the sidewalks--if we're lucky, this will last five, maybe ten years before it needs to be redone. There's a section of asphalt sidewalk that was put in on Long Hill Road after a washout in 2008, and it looks like it won't last another winter, already bubbling up, cracking and otherwise showing that it is just about ready to be washed away again. Slapping a layer of asphalt on sidewalks is ultimately a waste of money. Carefully laid-out, professionally installed concrete sidewalks last decades. They are more expensive in the short run, but significantly less expensive over the long term.
We weren't pleased to be getting asphalt instead of concrete, but we figured it was better than nothing, would improve public safety, and would help us in our efforts to improve our neighborhood. Our next disappointment came when we realized that the city was not going to do a thorough job. Not every stretch of sidewalk needed to be repaved, but they completely missed numerous sections that are a wreck. The other week, I watched a small child ride his tricycle along the new sidewalk on Carpmill, but when he got to Wood Street, where the sidewalk was a disaster, he switched to riding in the street.
Here are a few examples of sidewalk that should have been patched but weren't. There are a lot more sections, some of which are far worse than these.