Do You Dig the New Sidewalks in Columbia Heights?


I think they look pretty sweet. Certainly better than the previous concrete. And somebody mentioned in the comments last week about the abrupt stoppage just short of Newton:


Mark me down on the side that thinks it should be completed all the way to the corner.

25 Comment

  • What’s particularly funny is that the break is right in the middle of a building… they didn’t even go to the property line.

    They look nice now, but they should have gone with a dark grey brick. The blackened gum wads will be springing up in five… four… three…

  • I do like them, but I wish they had taken the time to carefully cut the bricks to fit nicely around the lamp posts (thinking of the ones near the Heights and Chipotle). It look really crappy there, with huge gaps full of ugly dark grey cement.

    I mean, they were able to do it along those dark grey brick accent ‘paths’, so why not at the light posts?

  • never been a fan of brick sidewalks – way too slippery in the rain

  • Looks nice, but I always do my best to avoid mixing heels and brick sidewalks!

  • Looks nice, but when those bricks start to shift, they’ll be a nightmare to walk over in a pair of heels!

  • It should be taken out and redone, not extended.

    This is not a sidewalk improvement that will endure, a waste really, because over time it will have to be done again.

    The slope is not consistent throughout. It will pond.

    The poorly cut pavers and gaps will grow weeds and grass.

    Wrong choice of paver. Wrong choice of contractor.

    Unprofessional by the city, really.

    The street and its taxpayers deserve better.

    • I agree…it seems the bricks were poorly laid (bad contractor & sloppy work. Why did this take so long? It’s very annoying to have traffic cones and ugly orange plastic fencing around for at least 7 months!

  • Most of the concrete pavers I saw go in EM went in over concrete. I assume they would do the same here since it’s the construction standard now. There’s little chance that they will buckle or shift when they’re placed over concrete and have concrete curbs.

    I also don’t recall a slipping problem with this block material in the rain over at EM. I would be surprised if they weren’t concrete pavers as opposed to clay bricks.

  • You may have talked about this before, but what are they doing at the Colombia Heights Metro Station and how long until they are finished?

  • You may have talked about this before, but what are they doing at the Columbia Heights Metro? When will it be completed?

  • What about that gum?
    It is particularly disgusting at the Mall pavements.
    Don’t the merchants usually clean the streets?
    Can’t someone tell them about the gum scrapers?
    I nominate the Prince of Petworth to do it.

  • i just can’t believe how many times they have put them down and then torn them up. my count is 3x at least on 14th and Iriving corners (by petes and CVS). and at least 2x at the plaza area (b/w kenyon and park).
    how about some long term planning.

    such a waste.

  • I believe the original plan called for permeable pavers, and these were laid over sand, not concrete, so they might actually be. I know it is good for reducing storm run off, but I can’t help thinking of all the dirt and general disgusting effluvia building up in them like a dirty kitchen sponge. And the gum is already disgusting – especially outside CVS.

  • I think these are pretty cool

  • The bricks themselves are fine, a gigantic improvement over what was there before. I sort of wish they were darker in order to hide the gum and grime better but I’ll take it.

    Remember that the light posts in the middle of the sidewalks and such are there temporarily until the permanent ones can be installed. There’s a lot that’s not done yet with this project. For instance, 14th is about to be dug up and resurfaced. There’s still 3+ months left for this project. Parts of Irving and Park Roads are going to be redone as well. An impressive amount of basic infrastructure was replaced or improved like water mains and sewer pipes.

  • I just want my f’ing bike lanes back for this stretch of 14th, but my guess is it will be a mishmash of one block of bike lane/one block without like DDOT did with Adams Morgan. I’d love to be proven wrong.

  • This is from Columbia Heights Newsgroup:

    Thank you for the Street Scape Project and its progress so far. The sidewalk is looking great. I have two questions.
    1. I noticed that the sidewalk installation on the East side of 14 street ends 1/3 of the way before reaching Newton Street. I respectful request that the paves should be implemented all the way to the south side of Newton street for consistency. Not only the remaining side walk small portion in relation to the rest of the work done, it is also a damaged sidewalk.
    2. Are the the old light-posts that are in the middle of the sidewalk (Monroe to Irving) going to be moved to the curb and or removed?

    Thank you,
    Thanks for your email. I agree that it would be nice to have a consistent design for the whole block. At the same time I want to be certain that the construction is complete as soon as possible – a number of our local businesses are really suffering as a result of all of this road work.

    I am including Director Gabe Klein who can make sure we get a response on both of your questions.

    Jim Graham’s Office

    CM Graham, DDOT’s original plans for Newton Street were to only address 2/3 of the block, as it relates to sidewalks. However, we have asked our engineers to revisit this and add the remaining portion. In regards to the old light post, yes, we plan to remove ALL of the old light post where power has been official cut off.


  • I appreciate that everyone has opinions of these pavers, and no one’s right or wrong, but man. The pavers are going to hold up for years, as they do in many other cities around the world. They’re a HUGE improvement and they were done on the cheap during the biggest recession in…well, ever. In 15 years, when Columbia Heights is a booming neighborhood, we can revisit. In the meantime, I think the changes to the neighborhood are awesome and that Alero’s arrival is going to really liven up the area in between Park and Monroe.

    As for the bricks stopping halfway to Newton, these things are about budgets, permits, plans submitted, etc. The long-term plan is to pave all the way up to Spring, I believe. Temporarily, I’m shouting WHEEeee!! I’d like them to finish, and finally repave 14th St. nice and smooth, but patience is a virtue.

  • It looks a WORLD better than it did but it won’t last long. Look at the other side of the street in front of DCUSA to see how it will weather, same bricks, same layout.

    It looks like crap, black joints from the scum, spit and black gum wads everywhere, you can’t sweep it. pavers have shifted and split and the sand underneath has washed out making dips. I trip up daily walking through that side in dress shoes.

    Great idea, wrong method, huge waste of money, more funds please!

  • Screw dress shoes, have you ever tried to push a sleeping baby in a stroller over uneven brick? Like those beautiful brick sidewalks in Capitol Hill that are a f-in bumpy roller coaster? I used to love they way they looked, now I pray for a smoooooth ride.

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