There are some things one sees at the roadside that make you wonder how common “common sense” actually is. Here’s something that was pointed out to me the other day:
Perfect for really short firemen, right? Perhaps. And damned inconvenient to uncap and get the bulky hoses onto it. Heaven forbid there be a foot of icy snow on the ground.
How does something like this happen? Surely it started out life at a decent height off the street.
Let your mind’s eye historically deconstruct Upland Street for a moment. At some pre-ADA moment in history, someone decided that a very narrow raised area for pedestrians was needed. So they installed a lovely asphalt curb edge which is now backfilled with decades of road sand, stones & miscellaneous gravel. This probably raised the surface level five inches or so. The curb and the current road surface are most likely laid on several other layers of old asphalt, since not all former incarnations of the DPW were as conscientious as today’s crew. If you mentally remove a few old layers of asphalt, you’re probably now down another 10 inches or so. We can now imagine this hydrant about a foot higher off the surface than it is now.
If I had to rely on this hydrant to save my family & home in a fire, I’d be one very nervous neighbor. I’d also be very angry that Worcester is wasting all sorts of money replacing legible street name signs instead of addressing safety concerns like this one.