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Uphams Corner Sidewalks in Terrible Condition

The City of Boston's Public Works Department is in the midst of a $3M infrastructure improvement project in Uphams Corner along Columbia Rd from Hancock Street (Strand Theatre) to Dudley Street (main intersection in Uphams Corner). All City public areas in this block-long section are slated for upgrade from the street lights to the sidewalks, curbs, street, median strips, banners, new landscape areas and more.

Long a sore spot with most residents and visitors, if Public Works can come up with an aesthetically pleasing design that requires less maintenance, the community would be grateful.


Current Conditions (Early 2013)

For decades, Uphams Corner has suffered the same conditions as exist today. The sidewalks are pedestrian and transport UNfriendly with holes left by missing bricks, loose bricks scattered in the walkway and trip hazards due to unexpected changes in the height of adjacent bricks, not to mention the overall shabby aesthetics. The state of the sidewalks more befits a community under demolition than one that is thriving and growing.

Brick Sidewalk Repairs in Uphams Corner
Bank of American driveway
Columbia Rd
Brick Sidewalk Repairs in Uphams Corner
Sovereign Bank driveway
Columbia Rd
Brick Sidewalk Repairs in Uphams Corner
Multiiple heights - undulating - trip hazard
Dudley Street

Brick Sidewalk Repairs in Uphams Corner
Deterioration of 2nd Repair
View contractor Work in 2011
Brick Sidewalk Repairs in Uphams Corner
Asphalt to repair sidewalk instead
of brick. Columbia Rd.
Brick Sidewalk Repairs in Uphams Corner
Creatively designed tree pit

Brick Sidewalk Repairs in Uphams Corner
Universal Church driveway - Dudley St
Brick Sidewalk Repairs in Uphams Corner
Curb hazard - Columbia Rd


Uphams Corner News has been publishing articles about the condition of he sidewalks - existing conditions and repairs that have been made. When the City sends in contractors to to perform a "makeover," sometimes the repairs last. But especially on surfaces subject to vehicular traffic, they don't last.

Our elected officials (city councillors) might do well to ponder the City's public works strategy.
Is brick sidewalk repair an effective use of tax dollars and limited city resources?

Nov 2012
Letter to Public Works via UC News
If you are going to spend a lot of money repairing sidewalks, please make sure they are not brick because it is hard to repair them, they are uneven, trash gets in between them. Repairing the sidewalks and streets is a waste of money if people are going to come along (like they did on Thanksgiving) and set the trash barrels on fire (4 of them).

There should be some enforced rules through educating people not to litter, or set the trash barrels on fire. The businesses should be responsible to clean every single day the side walk,and the curb in front of their shops. The public work management should be doing a better job cleaning, repairing etc. Yes we need better side walks, but with that comes a lot of civilized responsibilities to make our city and community shine.

Read More

Aug 2012
Contractor repairs sidewalks
Sidewalk brick repairPublic Works was hard at work repairing trip hazards and areas of missing brick on the Uphams Corner sidewalks in the business district on Tuesday, August 14, 2012.

A cheerful lot, the crew was most willing to pose for photos and discuss their project. Supervisor Thomas Hanlon thought the Uphams Corner area looked pretty good - not a lot of trash in the streets and the weeds? A naturalist's setting to be enjoyed.

They had a list of all problem spots as called into the Mayor's Hotline or via Citzens Connect. The areas to be repaired have to go through the proper procedures. The Public Works Department can't randomly respond to residents who walk up to them over the course of the day.

Read More

Dec 2011
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk Through
Sidewalk repairSome people talked about replacing the brick sidewalks. Others simply wanted the sidewalks repaired and repaired well.

For example, this summer the City came by and filled in some of the areas with asphalt while repairing others with brick. Why the difference? The asphalt gives a shabby look to the otherwise unique brick layout.

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Note: Recent photo above shows this section completely deteriorated.
Nov 2010
Trip hazard repair at Cushing Ave and Columbia Rd
Brick repairThe crew from K. DaPonte Construction Corp was fun, energetic and friendly with the residents walking by. The granite curb grades down as it meets the concrete, probably because that was the original ADA lip. The brick was graded down in the same way. Just replacing one portion of the sidewalk created the problem.

So this time, the repair attended correctly to the brick but NOT to the curb. To adjust the curb height, they created a form and poured concrete on top of the curb.

The proper way to repair this would have been to replace that section of the curb.

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Note photo above showing how this section has deteriorated.

Nov 2010
Strand Theatre Sidewalk Repair November 2010
Side walk repair at StrandIt may seem unusual to feel happiness, excitement and enthusiasm over a crew showing up to "repair a sidewalk." Every little bit counts, especially if the ugliness has been around for months and it's right in front of the Strand Theatre, a showcase for Upham's Corner.

We recall when the Mayor held a homelessness fund raiser at the Strand. Several days before that, the activity of the Street Lighting Department was apparent and close at hand. Every street light had to be perfect before the event occurred.

Now for months a large patch of asphalt has graced the facade of the Strand, as if it were a dark shadow from a spotlight,shouting out the question: Does anybody care?

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Posted: June 5, 2013 Nancy J Conrad


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