Surface Test Patch — Blackstone Blvd Path

Good news for walkers, joggers, and babies in strollers — it looks like the Blackstone Boulevard walking path is getting some work done. In certain stretches heavy rains have carved out gullies, and natural weathering has exposed stones and roots. Most of the path is okay, but I seem able to find an uneven surface with unerring precision. The text on the sign in this image is as follows:

The Blackstone Parks Conservancy and the Parks Department are trying out a new and sustainable porous material in this 30-foot stretch of path. How does it feel underfoot? Please let us know.

This test patch is at the Upton Avenue intersection. My immediate thoughts are: The color and texture are excellent. The material looks very natural and does not draw attention to itself. The surface also seems to stay put without flicking up bits of clay that burrow into my sock and grind against my ankle. (Am I the only person who has this happen? I never see anyone else taking off and shaking out their sneakers.)

You can email the organization with your thoughts at There is also a QR code on the sign.

I can’t find any specific details on a planned resurfacing project, but presumably something is in the works. The following was posted on the organization’s Blackstone Boulevard page over a year ago:

Now the Boulevard Committee and Chairman Colgate Searle, a landscape architect on sabbatical from RISD, are working to strengthen the historic park’s future.

In addition to creating an online master list of trees, Searle is studying the soil in the badly worn path in order to recommend workable improvements to the Parks Department.

And if you haven’t seen the improvements made to the Blackstone Park Conservation District along the Seekonk River, get over there. Park your car on River Road and walk up and around the hill. Fences have been mended, trails rehabbed, unwanted plant material has been rogued out, new native plants added. Judicious pruning and thinning, by people who know what they’re doing, have created lovely views in all seasons. (Go here to download map.) You can find other entrances to trails at Parkside Road, Irving Avenue, and Paterson Street. It’s beautiful over there after a snow.

I know how rewarding these rehabilitation projects can be, but it is also very hard work. A big thank you to all these folks. Go here to join or donate.

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