Monday, April 16, 2007

Paving standards reviewed

It’s great that the Sunday press take up the important issues confronting our city…but if you are wearing high heels and take a tumble in Martin Place then you would appreciate that this problem has been raised and acknowledged by Council. I have received several complaints from women about tripping over on our granite paths and after yesterday’s coverage more have come forward including an MP. It is a serious issue with the potential for a life long injury caused by falling hard onto the unforgiving granite. What this issue does highlight is the variation in standards for laying granite around our city streets.

There are different specifications for various projects around town. Not only are the gaps and joints different but also some areas are cemented down and others layed on a weaker sand and cement mix. The result of this is that on some streets we can lift out granite paving stones, sit them aside and then relay them when work is completed eg Oxford street. In other areas contractors have to cut and jackhammer out the granite and then lay new stone to make the paving repairs. An example of this is William Street. People stand shaking their heads as they watch the new granite cut and ripped out by telecommunications contractors. Not a very ‘sustainable’ use of resources.

Council officers are very aware of my consistent concerns about this wastage and are in fact attending a national conference on ‘street paving and openings’ where issues like this and the authority of utilities to open foot ways without consultation with Councils will be discussed.

Martin Place a hazard for heels

By Ellen Connolly April 15, 2007 12:00

Sydney City Council has to undertake essential repairs to Martin Place - because of women's shoes. Each week, scores of women are getting their heels caught in gaps in the deteriorating granite paving. Not only are they ruining expensive stilettos, the risk of injury has heightened.

"It has become dangerous,'' Sydney City councillor Shayne Mallard said. "Women could break their wrists - never mind breaking a $100 pair of shoes.''

Lord Mayor Clover Moore agreed, and last week ordered urgent repairs be carried out. Ms Moore told a recent meeting she also wanted a review of construction standards for granite paving. Anna Farrow welcomed the council move because it would reduce her shoe bill.
"My shoes get caught most days and I'm always getting them reheeled,'' the 21-year-old bank worker said.
The paving was laid in 1998 as part of a $15 million facelift of Martin Place. But the rubber joint filling has deteriorated, creating 10mm gaps. Anna Balashova, 25, said her heels were often getting stuck.
"I'm very conscious now when I'm walking. I'm quite tall and it's a very high fall for me. It's every girl's concern.''
Councillor Mallard said the issue was of public safety as women had reported falling over. "A woman contacted me and said her heel got caught she fell over, face forward and broke her shoe,'' he said.
"The gaps are just too wide. It could lead to a lifelong injury.''

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