Ellen and I recently returned from a week in the Pacific Northwest. We traveled to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. While I travel I always like to look at construction practices and how other people solve problems. When we stopped for ice cream in Hood River, on the shore of the Columbia River, I discovered you don’t really need a huge place to sell a good ice cream cone….
This shop is only about 10′ by 10’….you see all of the shop in the photo. As I looked at it I wondered if it would be permitted to sell food in Minnesota—-most liely not. On the right side of the building is a small china sink with a cold water tap, and Dixie cups for drinking. It allows you to clean off sticky hands after a good ice cream cone and get a drink of water to walk away with.
Right in front of the store is the fairly busy main street. There is a good concrete sidewalk on the far side of the street. But, lots of people want to access the shop from the same side of the street as the shop is located—-and there is no sidewalk on that side of the street. The grade is tight and it drops away quickly from the street. The solution? An elevated metal grate sidewalk extension….
As you can see, the metal sidewalk extension is bolted to the side of the curb, creating a walking path of about 20″ in width. At the end of the walk you step down onto a small set of concrete steps that put you at the grade of the ice cream store. A sturdy iron railing is included to allow pedestrians to steady themselves while traversing the elevated metal grate sidewalk.
I’m not advocating for metal sidewalks like this with steps at the end. I just really like the ingenuity and ‘can do’ attitude that I see used in areas where communities work cooperatively to “get the job done.” When a common goal is shared by many people, whether it is an ice cream shop or a park, issues can be worked out to make it happen.