Some mistakes can prove positive

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dmitting you’ve been wrong is a hard thing to do, especially when you’re doing it publicly.

That is why it was refreshing, and surprising, when at their last meeting RiverCenter officials said they may have made a mistake in laying bricks on Broad Street Plaza.

As drivers and pedestrians in Red Bank know, the plaza is the lumpy, bumpy intersection of Broad and Front streets. Here the bricks that make the crosswalks have an uneven surface and are rocky in spots. RiverCenter said that at the outset of the streetscape project, which lined the Broad Street sidewalks with bricks, the bumpy bricks for the crosswalk seemed like a good idea.

In fact, they hypothesized that their surface might even mitigate the slippery conditions of winter.

Visitors and downtown employees can attest that it didn’t work out that way. In fact, winter walking may have even been made worse by the bricks. And so far not even bumpy bricks have slowed down drivers.

For the able-bodied, the undulating terrain may only mean spilled coffee as they cross the street. However, for the disabled the bricks tend to be a difficult obstacle. Either way, consensus seems to be they’re annoying and not worth having in their present bumpy state.

Now RiverCenter’s new board chair, Ingeborg Perndorfer, says the downtown business alliance recognizes the problem and is thinking about grinding the bricks down to a smooth surface or turning them over to their smooth side.

In the past RiverCenter has bristled at any criticism, as if it shouldn’t come under the same scrutiny given to towns, schools and businesses that affect the public’s way of life. However, this admission of trying and failing at something, even on a seemingly small issue, may in fact be heralding a new attitude for the alliance — one where constructive criticism has a place.

There isn’t a town or organization that doesn’t make mistakes. But it’s the ones who do so gracefully and honestly that win the public’s affection.

Perndorfer appears to be taking the business district in a positive, pro-active direction, and that, in this paper’s opinion, is a welcome change