Surface treatments – a disutility from utilities.

In the minds of urban designers, the footpaths are designed and built with a particular material. On day 1 it looks lovely. But some utility needs to be repaired, and works need to be done, so the bricks in the footpaths are ripped out. They are never properly restored, asphalt is somehow sufficient replacement. And the lovely footpath becomes a public shame. Some photos below from walks in Parramatta and Merrylands, but this problem is pervasive throughout Sydney.

Brand new footpath (Merrylands) (leading to a treated pedestrian crossing, along with appropriate sidewalk bumps to improve accessibility for the blind), but spray painted utility markings indicate it won’t be this nice for long. (And that spraypaint will take years to wash off, won’t it).
An otherwise excellent raised junction, with an all-way pedestrian scramble (Merrylands), but the diagonal pedestrian “walk signal” face is missing.
The utility works did not restore this footpath (Merrylands) to its original state
A gorgeous new footpath (Parramatta)
A nice older footpath that has somehow survived this far. It won’t last long, the spraypaint indicates the utility people are coming for you. (Parramatta)
Utilities have had fun with these once nice pavement tiles, “let’s just backfill with asphalt.” (Parramatta)

The utilities are responsible for the footpath destruction, why are they not responsible for restoration?

Update: The obscure NSW Streets Opening Coordination Council (SOCC) is responsible for setting standards, generally local councils are supposed to agree with utilities about this. It is unclear who is obligated to pay based on a naive reading of the Guide to Codes and Practices for Streets Opening.

Published by David M Levinson

Prof. David Levinson teaches at the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Sydney, where he leads TransportLab and the Transport Engineering group.

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