Another contracted job was to remove the old railing and put a new one up that matched the deck. They ripped the old railing down (which was pretty much just nailed into concrete and not sturdy at all) and discovered that the reason it was put in like that is because there's no easy way to secure a railing to the piece of crap concrete around the back entrance.
The lead guy has some ideas. Frankly, we told him if it was secure, within code and reasonably non-ugly, nobody would notice as they would be too busy gazing at the beauty of the deck.
So, deck not done, gate gone, railing gone, leash walking 4 huskies in the heat and humidity... Priceless.