While the world seems to be headed down the drain in many complicated ways, I had a question the other day about a much simpler and straight-forward type of drain.
Strolling along the newly reconstructed Ninth Avenue in Albany’s Broadway Neighborhood, I noticed the drains from the new curbs into the swales designed to store rainwater. Drains normally point down, don’t they? But these are tilted up in the direction that the rainwater is supposed to flow.
How come? Was this some kind of mistake?
Not at all, as I learned from Chris Cerklewski, the engineer in Albany Public Works overseeing this and many other street projects over the years.
First of all, they are not drains. In the lingo of street designers and engineers, they are “splash pads.”
“Those splash pads in the curbside swales,” Chris further explained, “slope backwards slightly to help trap leaves and sand from the street before they get dispersed into the the rest of the swale. This makes it easier to periodically remove the material and extends the life of the facility.”
Makes perfect sense once you know the answer. To see how it works in practice, I guess I’ll have to wait for the first heavy rains this fall. (hh)