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Dumbo's cobblestone streets may be removed due to lack of accessibility

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The city is looking for way to make the streets compliant while preserving their original character


The cobblestone streets in Dumbo only add to the beauty of the neighborhood, already complemented by its close proximity to both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge, not to mention its views of the East River and Manhattan skyline. But the Brooklyn neighborhood is set to lose its historic cobblestone streets after a study found that they don’t comply with federal regulations, reports Crain’s.

The Historic Districts Council found that the Belgian block streets do not comply with the American Disabilities Act, which prohibits “discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.” The council is now seeking ways to make the neighborhood’s thoroughfares compliant while preserving as much of the original character as possible.

Back in 2011, the city began replacing the stones on Washington and Water streets with flat-top granite blocks that were supposed to resemble the original cobblestone street that it would replace. But after their installation, preservationists argued that they did not resemble the historic material at all.

The council has determined that roads can be repaved with the original stones, however, crosswalks and sidewalks would need to be repaved with a smoother surface. For now, the council is weighing several recommendation that are being examined as the best way to preserve the integrity of the Belgian blocks while bringing them up to code with the ADA.