Sunday, October 25, 2009
Recently sidewalks in the Mission District have been breaking out in white paint spots, like the one shown above.
Occasionally other colored spots showed up too.
Eventually property owners got letters from the City. We were ordered to replace the marked squares of sidewalk -- those marked in white had been declared hazardous -- or have them replaced by the City and be billed for the cost of this improvement. Other colors meant various agencies would have to be responsible. (Blue meant the Water Department had to do the work.) The City gets the take from the required building permit fees; small-scale contractors get small jobs; City residents get smoother sidewalks.
Fortunately we could afford the repairs, so we quickly hired a contractor to replace six squares. Three hard working gents turned up the next day to begin to cut away the damaged blocks.
After the saw came the hammering.
We were pleased to see that the fellow working the hammer wore earplugs. When I did that work, I used ear protectors designed for shooting ranges. But most guys didn't wear anything.
Disposal of broken sidewalks was low tech -- they trucked the stones away to some landfill. As "clean fill," there is probably a small market for broken concrete.
When all the squares were cut out, the guys wet down the earth underneath. Then they trucked in concrete and filled the squares.
Giving concrete a smooth finish is something of an art -- it requires multiple passes with different tools at succeeding stages of the curing process over several hours.
The results are satisfying to contemplate.
Knowing the neighborhood as we do, we were not surprised to see several of our new squares had been tagged within a few hours. So it goes. It would have taken a security guard to avert the drive many feel to make their neighborhood their own. I'd rather just live here...