What do I do the first day back in Forest Hills after returning from 12 days of vacation? I take a walk to find out what is happening with many of the projects going on in our neighborhood.
It was curiosity about the smell of tar wafting through my open windows that first drew me out. It seemed to be coming from the rear of the house, and noise of heavy equipment seemed to coming from that direction, as well. So I walked over to 31st and Brandywine to find DDOT had been resurfacing 31st Street. The crew was wrapping up for the day, and they would have to come back the following day to finish up because of a parked car blocking access to one patch of the road. They were not happy about this.
From there, I walked on to Soapstone to find three downed trees, two of them blocking the trail. One was near the path going up to Linnean. I had to weave in and out of the branches to continue on the trail.
I found another downed tree after the first stream crossing heading toward Broad Branch Road, but that looked like it had been there for awhile. At first I thought a beaver had gouged out part of the trunk, but on closer inspection it looked like someone had taken an ax to it, and then given up.
Another massive trunk had fallen across the stream, blocking one of the crossings just before Broad Branch.
At first I thought about giving up on this one. But after studying the situation a bit, I realized I could get over the massive trunk about mid-stream if I was willing to get my feet wet. Since my sandals could bear getting wet, it was quite silly not to see what was on the other side. Besides, I wondered whether the new path by Peirce Mill, which had been washed out in a previous storm, had held up under last Tuesday’s downpour. I made it over the trunk and found it had survived intact.
Next, I hiked back via Soapstone and up the path to Linnean to the 2800 block of Davenport to see if there was any progress on a new sidewalk. And yes, there was quite a bit of progress on an interesting design, to say the least. It’s macadam for the most part. Only the owner at the corner rated a real curb. I wondered how long the rest of the madacam sidewalk will last without a curb.
Then I moved on to the Broad Branch and Linnean Playground stream daylighting projects. Among the first things I noticed at Linnean were that the smell of decay had abated, and the contractor had tucked in tree-trunk benches along the way.
I also encountered a bioretention cell (designed to remove pollutants from stormwater) with a newly built “bubbler.” This valve reduces the force of stormwater flowing through during heavy rain storms by forcing the water into a vertical pipe, which emerges just under the roof of the structure.
And yes, the ducks were there, paddling around in one of the cells and looking as content as could be.
Crossing the street and not expecting to find much new with the Broad Branch Stream project, I did find a new bricked up pipe for Linnean Playground streamwater emptying into Broad Branch.
Then my eye caught lots of bubbles creating ripples in one of the bioretention cells. Steve Saari, the head of the project for the District Department of the Environment, had mentioned this was a good sign; that biologic processes at work would break down pollutants in the water.
The last stop was at the Forest Hills playground. There I could see the new layout, including the sandbox and entrance, taking shape.
On the southern end of the playground, they still were working on digging out the half basketball court.
It is good to be back home in our bustling neighborhood.