SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A proposal by one Salem city councilor is looking to improve the city's sidewalks brick by brick.
The proposal, filed by Councilor-at-large Ty Hapworth, would require that all sidewalks in the city's historic districts be made of brick and call for the use of brick sidewalks in other areas of the city's downtown, like the business district.
In non-historic areas, sidewalks made of concrete or asphalt would be permitted, but if a sidewalk is already made of brick, the proposal would not allow it to be replaced with other materials. Hapworth spoke to WBZ's Brooke McCarthy about the proposal, which he said was necessary to help pedestrians feel comfortable in the city.
"We want them to feel comfortable walking around but our sidewalks are not in great shape in a lot of places," Hapworth said. "I think having some standards around what we maintain and how we maintain them is important."
The proposal also seeks to make the sidewalks more accessible for people with disabilities or mobility issues while also making sure concrete and asphalt sidewalks are repaired faster. One resident said she hopes the city's sidewalks will be maintained better because she suffered an injury while walking in Salem.
"I ended up in the emergency room," she said. "I wish they would take better care of the sidewalks in Salem."
Not all residents are thrilled with the idea of more brick sidewalks. One resident said he thinks brick sidewalks can be too slippery, while another said she likes the idea but isn't sure if it would work in Salem.
"Brick sidewalks are great if they're maintained," she said. "But we have not demonstrated the ability to do that."
The proposal will go before the disabilities commission sometime in May for feedback.
WBZ's Brooke McCarthy (@BrookeWBZ) reports.