Let’s jump right to the heart of the issue this month. We’re talking about paving and we’re talking mostly to communities in Pennsylvania ”¦ where it snows ”¦ a lot. Need we say more?

Of course we need to say more! Now I’ll concede to all the arguments you will make about clearing sidewalks, frost heaving, black ice, and anti-skid/de-icers/salt. However, not all paved areas are main pedestrian thoroughfares and even though it feels like it in the middle of winter, the snow really doesn’t last forever.

So what is a community to do?

The key to paving in your community is striking a balance between utility and aesthetics, given the conditions in your area and the ebb and flow of community use.


Cobblestones, clay bricks, interlocking concrete pavers ”“ these all add such charm to a streetscape. Especially when they can be seen and navigated safely. If you are a community in a warm-weather climate, you can create some pretty amazing designs and enjoy them year ”˜round.

paving      paving

However, for us here in Pennsylvania, it is much more important to strike a balance. Maybe brick accents make more sense versus complete brick walking surfaces (pavers exist in many more shapes, colors, and textures now than they ever have before). Or reserving the creative and paver-centric designs for pedestrian plazas or sidewalk dining areas only. What about non-traditional treatments of concrete such as unique scored surfaces, differential broom finishes, or even surface staining. Additionally, urethane binders have created a new set of paving options utilizing recycled glass, rubber, and decorative stones, all of which have proven their worth in even the coldest climates the northeast has to offer.

paving      paving

With paving, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There is a lot of middle ground that can be manipulated to bring some design punch while standing up to the elements.

Conditions and Community Use

And speaking of the elements, consider weather patterns in light of the ebb and flow of community use. Then pair this data with your paving considerations. If you suffer through some snow in January and February, your approach will be different than if you are blanketed with the white stuff from mid-October through mid-April. If your downtown activity slows down significantly in the winter months ”“ and you’re OK with that ”“ then your tactics will be different than if your community kicks it into high gear when the snow begins to fall.

In all cases, think about how your paving decisions can support your community throughout the entire year.