I live on one of the many “save the swales” streets in Vienna. It has sloped grass-filled ditches (swales) instead of sidewalks. I believe this was a fairly common cost-saving move back in the 1950s, which is why you find this layout in some of the older neighborhoods in Vienna.
This is not only picturesque as all get-out (compared to concrete sidewalks), but is also modestly more environmentally friendly than standard curb and gutters. The swales and culverts slow down the rainwater runoff.
This also makes it a pain to walk anywhere. Basically, you have to walk in the road, particularly on the spots where there is literally no ground or no level ground to walk on. And if that’s not bad enough, one portion of the pavement has been in terrible shape for years.
The oddball thing about it was that, as road surfaces go, it wasn’t in bad shape to drive over. There were no deep potholes, just a whole bunch of small shallow holes. Just enough to twist an ankle on.
But as a sidewalk, it really stank. And if weren’t for the fact that we have to use the road surface as our sidewalk, the condition of the pavement would hardly be worth mentioning. But, as it stands, I’ve taken a couple of falls in the past few months by stepping into those potholes while walking at night.
Which brings me to the point of this post. A few days ago the Town of Vienna Department of Public Works filled and smoothed over the key section of broken asphalt. I finally walked past that this morning on my way to Madison High School. This little bit of pothole filling is a vast improvement for pedestrians trying to get from my neighborhood to Maple Avenue.
I certainly complained about it enough when it was in poor shape. I figured it was only fair to say “thanks” now that it has been fixed.