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.