Sunday, January 13, 2013

For Whom the Excavator Tolls...

Once upon a time, away back in 2007, I wrote a post about the sidewalk corners here in North Portland and how cool they are.

The coolness, what there is, comes from the metal curb covers, artifacts of the horse-drawn wagon days when a sensible municipality provided some protection from the hard wear of the metal wagon-wheel rims at the most likely place for those rims to run up over the softer concrete curbs.

But in these gentler days the need for protection from steel wheels is much less than the need for people who can't walk to get up and down from the sidewalk to cross the street. Hence the gradual replacement of the old steel-rim corners with ADA-standard ramp corners.

The City of Portland has been working its way northwest over the past several months, and just last week we saw the first indication that our old corners are not long for this world.

My kiddos, slaves to the wheel that they are, are very excited about this change for the ease it will provide for cycling and scootering.

I'm resigned but still a trifle saddened. I understand why the change is a good idea but will miss the steel guards, a piece of the physical reality that was Portland in the Teens and 1920's, a steel-and-concrete artifact that have seen almost a century of the people and their passage that make up the city I love.

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