Thursday, March 4, 2010

A bit more on bricks

Bricks are by no means a panacea, but they're a different idea. First, they're showing up in more places, such as on Grand Avenue just west of Snelling. (I don't know what happened to the bricks on the right side, but they've been ground up a bit.)


What's interesting here is that Macalester College funded the building of a median in the street a few years ago (you can see it at the top of the picture above) for the benefit of pedestrians: dorms are to the north (right) of the street and the dining hall and academic buildings are to the south. The street used to be three paved lanes with a striped median (it disappeared in the winter), and the new median entailed rebuilding the street—there are plans for one on Snelling as well (which we covered last year)—and tearing out the brick and rails. One wonders why they couldn't have kept the brick—there is little heavy traffic on the street except for buses. This is relatively new pavement that's already coming up.

Second, some crosswalks further down Grand (a mile east, at Lexington) were built with brick pavers, most likely for aesthetic purposes. What's illustrated here is that when bricks are uprooted—in this case, most likely by passing snow plows—they can be replaced piece meal. And, unlike asphalt, replaced bricks don't result in ugly patches that just rip back out, anyway (except where the patches in the brickwork are patched with asphalt, which is especially ugly and does rip right out).

1 comment:

  1. Bricks are an incredibly great street material; they last a very long time, and they decay "gracefully" unlike asphalt, and repairs are straightforward.

    Brick roads are good for 50 years under most conditions with minor repairs -- asphalt for less than 5.

    The smoother ride of asphalt is really only useful for expressways and long-distance roads.

    Unfortunately, it's very hard to get asphalt off of bricks properly if you've paved over the bricks; the brick surface tends to be badly messed up.

    I blame the oil lobby.

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