Letters to the Editor

Back to brick

June 26, 2008


To the editor:

I was very pleased and surprised when the city replaced an asphalt strip on Seventh Street with brick to match the existing street. Perhaps the intersections will get the same treatment eventually?

As I drive around the older parts of Lawrence these days, I see patches of brick showing where the blacktop has deteriorated. Would it not make sense for the city to pull up the blacktop to expose the existing brick? The brick doesn't get potholes, allows water to sink in rather than all run off, can be disassembled for excavations and reassembled, needs less repair, doesn't contain petroleum that I am aware of, and is an integral part of historical Lawrence.

The streets in Old West Lawrence particularly were a delight to see until the later '60s when they were paved over against the residents' wishes.

Gay Doudoroff,


igby 9 years, 11 months ago

Gay! Your wrong about everything you know about cobblestone streets accept for the looks. They look good and nothing more. Every other utility of brick street are bad. Thery'e not friendly to bikes, skateboards or anything that rolls, not even a horse and buggy.First, water soaks in and softens the sand under the bricks. Then, a 4 thousand pound car or truck comes and pushes the bricks down making a sinkhole. Brick streets were made for horse and buggy, not 4 thousand pound cars and trucks. Even the buggy drivers hated them, they're rough and hard on a wagon and hard on the horses hooves and shoes. But they're better than mud and dirt streets. Anyone who wants a brick street is just selfish and only cares about how the street looks and not how they serve the community at large. These people only think that the bricks increase their homes value when in fact, no one wants the live with the noisy and rough ride, nor can anyone afford the manpower it takes the restore the bricks; not the home owner or the tax payer. So why would you want to pay more for less utility value just because you think they look good and are historic? Why?But thats ok!I don't care if you like the way the bricks look. The ride on bricks .....suck!

jafs 9 years, 11 months ago

I don't know about the maintenance issue, but driving anything on brick streets is much less comfortable than driving it on asphalt.They do look nice, though, and presumably slow traffic down because of the above.

mom_of_three 9 years, 11 months ago

Igby, have you had your morning coffee yet?Yes, bricks might make sink holes, but not pot holes. (and sink holes are pretty few and far between compared to the amount of pot holes made by blacktop. In my hometown, many of our side streets are still brick. There seems to be less maintenance because of less potholes. I don't remember seeing too many people out there replacing them, either and the roads are still in great shape. And Igby, any blacktop, cement road is hard of horses legs, not just brick.

Bossa_Nova 9 years, 11 months ago

burn the bricks! down with the bricks! off with their heads!

number3of5 9 years, 11 months ago

Well said igby. Anyone with back pain will not voluntarily ride down a brick street. They will avoid it like the plague. the constant vibration causes severe pain and spasms, I know. So while they look good, they are a pain in the back.

ukillaJJ 9 years, 11 months ago

If you go to any European city you will see cobblestone/brick streets that are in great condition. Sure, they do require maintenance to keep in good shape, but so do aspahlt/cement roads, and I can tell you first hand that most of the over-seas cobblestoned streets are a hell of a lot smoother than Lawrence's main roadways.

OnlyTheOne 9 years, 11 months ago

Brick streets do two things quite well:1) Since most people can't stand the slightly rough ride - they avoid them which means less traffic.2) Since most people can't stand the slightly rough ride - they drive slower which means less danger.If the brick ride shakes you or your auto apart - buy a better vehicle!If you can't learn to handle a bicycle or motorcycle on a brick road you NEED to learn how to ride better!Love 'em!

Richard Heckler 9 years, 11 months ago

New brick streets are not only nice to look at,smooth to ride but also have an average life of 50 years. Asphalt is a true waste of money.The growing interest in brick streets has spawned a new wave in urban and suburban design and, in some cases, helped boost local economies. Architects and builders now market the "main street" of old American towns, designing new developments and in reviving the appearance of older cities. Cleveland, Tampa and Annapolis, Md., have turned to brick streets in an attempt to rejuvenate neglected downtown areas. Architects say that they are using bricks in new open-air shopping centers that are designed to replicate the feel of old downtowns.To keep up with the demand, a few companies have begun making clay and even concrete bricks that match the quality and style of old pavers. Winter Park goes to one of the companies, Pine Hall Brick in Winston-Salem, N.C., when it comes up short. Pine Hall makes bricks to match the ones laid in the city during the 1920s.A handful of suppliers, like John Gavin, stick to the old bricks. His Historical Bricks Inc. of Iowa City scours dumps across the country for bricks. Gavin says he's shipped bricks everywhere from the Caribbean to Long Island to Beverly Hills. "And we're proud to say 40 to 50 million pounds have been reclaimed in three years," he says.Most brick roads were built around the turn of the 20th century. They made for a less dusty ride for passengers in Model-T Fords. But by the 1950s, concrete and asphalt had largely replaced brick roads because they made for a smoother ride. Brick thoroughfares were often paved over."They last. With a little repair they'll go another 100 years," says Eric Schallert, senior engineer in the Davenport, Iowa, Public Works department.Brick streets last about 50 years, and repairs can be done by replacing only damaged bricks. Concrete has a similar life span but is more prone to potholes. Asphalt roads require resurfacing about every 15 years. (except in Lawrence,Kansas....maybe about 3-5 years)Bike designed for comfort:http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/07/cusa/recreation/comfort/model-7CS.html

Tammy Copp-Barta 9 years, 11 months ago

And what lottery did you win to pay for this task and donate to the city? VERY expensive and a waste of time!

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