Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brick Streets

Moline expected to choose more expensive brick street repair option -QCOnline

This is somewhat related to Dave Barrett's blog post of a couple weeks ago about a street near his home in Moline. The city of Moline is going to repair a brick street using bricks, rather than just take the easy way out and slap some concrete or asphalt down instead. I knew that Davenport also mandates that certain streets are left as brick, but I was curious as to the cost over time. It seems like brick streets last forever compared to blacktop or cement. I did some Google searching, and found this page on WalkableStreets.com with a USA Today article from 2003. As I read it, I was surprised to see these excerpts:

Winter Park's brick restoration program is one of the most extensive in the country, but the city is not alone in its effort to preserve or bring back a method of paving that had all but disappeared during the last half century. Exactly how many towns and cities are returning to brick streets isn't known. But the trend seems to be going on in all parts of the country:

* Champaign, Ill., and Davenport, Iowa, are among dozens of cities that ban paving over brick streets with other materials. Both cities spend nearly $100,000 a year to maintain brick streets.


But some cities say the cost is worth it.

"They last. With a little repair they'll go another 100 years," says Eric Schallert, senior engineer in the Davenport, Iowa, Public Works department.

So apparently our brick street program isn't as common as I would have assumed, or at least it wasn't in 2003. The article seems to have differing opinions on whether brick is cheaper or more expensive in the long run. Below is a picture taken back in 2006 of High Street in Davenport near Genesis East and Golick's.
While Davenport's brick streets may not be the quietest, smoothest, or flattest, they definitely have character. I'd be curious to see the cost/benefit of cement vs asphalt vs brick over a 100 year period. I'd think that if Davenport's brick streets could still be around as old as they are, that with modern roadbed technology a "new" brick street could last even longer. On the other hand "new" sidewalks don't seem to last nearly as long as old ones. Something to think about.


Anonymous said...

Brick streets don't make that much noise. I love the sound they make. Now, with them not being the smoothest, there may be problems with snow removal. As someone who has a brick sidewalk, it can be a problem. Still, I prefer it over cement.


Anonymous said...

I had no idea we had that policy, but I'm glad to hear we do.

Anonymous said...

with the winters we have had lately I'd like to start putting in brick drive ways and walks. Concrete keeps cracking no matter what you do when this frost starts getting underneath it

Anonymous said...

One problem with brick is that it will rise and fall. I have a tree close to the sidewalk and the roots have pushed a portion of it up. I think you may have the same thing with the ground freezing. It's a pain to scoop when you keep hitting the raised spots, but you don't get the cracking.

Still, the brick looks cool.


Anonymous said...

Rock Island has had a Brick Steeets Plan for some time, identifying streets that merit restoration over time, versus those that can be resurfaced. Those that fall in the middle are reviewed by the City's Preservation Commission. The Plan is at http://www.rigov.org/citydepartments/ced/tourlandscape.html#Brick%20Streets%20Plan

In addition, the City has allocated a portion of the annual street maintenance budget to restoring historic brick streets (about 10%). The Highland Park Historic District was first; we are now doing 13th Avenue west of 30th Street.

Finally, a few years ago, Council approved the additional cost of a brick repair (13th Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets) versus concrete. This was part of a special assessment where the City pays for 80+% of the costs and the homeowners paying the remainder.

Hope this is useful.

Alan Carmen
City of Rock Island