History, economics drive decisions on brick streets

Monday, November 7, 2011 | 4:42 p.m. CST; updated 8:01 p.m. CST, Tuesday, November 8, 2011
The bricks on Short Street gleam after rainfall on Oct. 12. The bricks date back to the early 1900s and the Historic Preservation Committee wants the city to keep the brick as well as uncover more brick streets downtown.

COLUMBIA — At the corner of Fifth and Cherry streets, where the curb meets the red brick street, a peculiar brick sits, half-broken, surrounded by weeds, gravel and debris. With a close look, you can make out half of three words: FALO, LO KAN, OCK.

A bit west, toward Flat Branch Park, several other bricks stand out from the rest,  imprinted with the rest of the puzzle: BUFFALO, BUFFALO KAN, ROCK.

The brick surface of Cherry Street is nearly 100 years old, made from bricks  manufactured by the Buffalo Brick Co. in Buffalo, Kan. Between 75 and 100 men began producing bricks there in 1902; it became the largest brick factory west of the Mississippi River.

These bricks, scattered throughout downtown Columbia's historic brick streets, were laid in the early 1900s by J.A Stewart's Columbia Paving Co.

Today, Cherry Street's only visible bricks extend from Fourth to Seventh streets. A hodgepodge of pavement and globs of asphalt have been poured over spots where the brick has worn down. The section leading to Flat Branch Park has been completely paved over, making the confluence of the asphalt and brick look like an oil spill.

Cherry and Short streets are among eight remaining brick streets in Columbia that have weathered horse-drawn carts, automobiles and a century of foot traffic.

Plans call for removing and salvaging the bricks from Short Street next year as part of the redevelopment of the Regency Hotel and the construction of a new parking garage. The Historic Preservation Commission wants Short Street repaved with modern bricks and hopes the original bricks can be used on Cherry Street.

The decision on whether to repave Short Street with bricks or asphalt could depend on economics. While brick streets cost more to install than asphalt, two Midwest cities with experience restoring brick streets believe their longevity makes them economical in the long run.

Brent Gardner, vice chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission, said the lifespan of brick streets provides more value than asphalt.

"They're cheaper to maintain in the long run," he said. "Critics of these streets, who say now is not economically the best time to talk about extra expenditures, are shortsighted."

Gardner would like to restore all of the original brick streets in downtown Columbia that are just beneath the pavement. He sees brick streets as an intrinsic part of Columbia’s history, and has led efforts by the Historic Preservation Commission to preserve brick streets.

"They add a historical accent, slow traffic and act as a natural drainage system by having water run through them rather than over them," Gardner said.

Tony St. Romaine, assistant city manager, said the demolition of Short Street is set to begin in December.

The Public Works Department has not decided whether to use asphalt on Short Street or repave it with bricks, spokeswoman Jill Stedem said.

Dave Parmley, developer of the DoubleTree Hotel that will replace the Regency, is responsible for financing the deconstruction of Short Street; the city will be responsible for repaving it.

Parmley said he doesn't have a strong opinion about whether to keep Short Street brick. 

"I know there’s been a push to repave Short Street with bricks, and that's for the city to decide," he said. "I would imagine that would be pretty expensive, but it's not my money."

A Public Works report sent to the Columbia City Council on Friday estimated the cost to mill and repave an asphalt street built on top of a brick street at $30 per square yard.

Paving with historic bricks would run about $190 per square yard compared to $165 per square yard using modern brick pavers. A concrete street would cost about $95 per square yard.

The report did not address the long-term costs and benefits associated with maintaining each of these street surfaces.

The arrival of brick streets in Columbia

According to early accounts in the Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia's roads were made either of dirt or a compact gravel called macadam before 1907, when brick streets rolled into town along with the automobile.

Columbia's first brick street was Broadway, between Sixth and Tenth streets, which was constructed after four years of Columbia residents calling for paved streets.

Ed Watson, the publisher and editor of the Tribune at that time, also wrote editorials praising those who were putting up money for brick streets and admonishing the city for having muddy, unpaved roads.

When the city was considering using brick or macadam to pave Rollins Street, Watson published one of many editorials in the Tribune that favored brick:

"The residents along Rollins will rue having favored a macadam street when the limestone rocks have disintegrated into dust and the hot winds from the South blow the white particles into the front doors and windows of their homes."

It's only fitting that Columbia's first speeding ticket was issued on Columbia's first brick-paved street. As reported in the Tribune on June 25, 1909, officer E.E. Beasley issued the ticket to Ray Dunlap — "an early automobile enthusiast" — for exceeding the eight mile per hour speed limit on Broadway in "one of his new machines." Dunlap was fined $5.

Two Midwest cities invest in brick

At about 100 years old, most of Columbia's brick streets have already been around five to 10 times longer than asphalt streets, which Stedem said are milled and repaved about every 10 years on heavily trafficked roads and about every 20 to 30 years on others. 

The last brick street that required significant maintenance was $83,265 in repairs to Bouchelle Avenue in 2006, Stedem said. City records indicate it was the first significant maintenance on the street since it was first paved with bricks in 1909.

Other cities in the Midwest, such as Champaign, Ill., and Lawrence, Kan., have invested quite a bit in restoring and maintaining their historic brick streets.

Bill Holland, a construction manager and engineer in Champaign, Ill., said his city spends $250,000 to $300,000 a year to maintain nine miles of brick streets. That amounts to about 10 percent of the city's $3 million annual budget for streets and pavement.  

Holland said the city justifies this expense because brick streets typically last longer than asphalt and concrete and because they reflect the city's history. "Our brick streets were laid at the beginning of the 20th century, so you're talking 85 to 90 years old," he said. 

In 1981, Champaign, Ill., designated the nine miles of brick streets as a historic district. Holland said the only negative feedback he hears about the streets comes during winter, when ice forms over some of the brick streets that have poor drainage.

Dave Cronin, a city engineer for Lawrence, Kan., was involved in restoring several blocks of brick streets in old neighborhoods.

The city used salvaged bricks from other roads and hired local contractors to lay the bricks. He said the city justified the expense of restoring and keeping the streets bricked "because we knew we wouldn't have to pay as much to maintain them over the long-run. Bricks do hold up longer." 

Cronin estimates that the city spent $200,000 to $300,000 per block to repave streets with recycled brick compared to about $100,000 to $150,000 for a block with asphalt.

About 80 percent of the original brick streets in Lawrence have been paved over with asphalt, Cronin said.

"About 50 or 60 years ago, the city decided they needed to create a smooth surface on the roads, but now the asphalt has warped more than the brick and has caused more problems," he said. "I guess back then they thought it was a cheap, easy solution."

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Bill Fisher November 7, 2011 | 6:38 p.m.

Brent Gardner apparently hates or, at the very least, doesn't care about cyclists. The two sections of brick streets we have downtown are nearly impossible to ride a bike on. Bringing back full brick streets to all of downtown would basically make cycling impossible through the entire area.

They also "slow traffic" as they destroy cars' shocks and struts, no matter how slowly you drive over them. And whether they have natural drainage or not, bricks are always more slippery than other pavement types when wet.

(Report Comment)
Ken Geringer November 7, 2011 | 6:44 p.m.

Let's get the pros from Dover in here and figure this out. The more bricks downtown, the better. Bit at a time if that's the best way. Ninth and Eight streets from Walnut to Elm would be awesome.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin November 7, 2011 | 8:28 p.m.

So Bill Fisher, stay off our very few brick streets with your bike. Pretty simple. And no, they don't destroy shocks and struts. I've driven on a brick street almost every day for the past 9 years with no problems in four different cars.

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum November 7, 2011 | 8:55 p.m.

Man, the "downtown parking = the Trials of Job" crowd is going to have a field day with the brick streets!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 8, 2011 | 6:16 a.m.

Properly made, paving bricks will last a VERY long time. However, reconstruction of a brick street, alley or large driveway, when it becomes necessary, is labor intensive.

So the tendency is to pave over brickwork with asphalt. From an aesthetic standpoint, restoring a brick street seems preferable, but how much can we afford to spend on aesthetics?

Old brick streets become uneven or develop sink holes due to problems with the BASE under the bricks, not the bricks themselves.

In our neighborhood growing up all the streets were brick, initially laid in the very late 19th Century. I've seen sections of a brick street washed out because water ran through the sand base. The bricks were mostly there, sunken, but the sand that had been under them was gone.

I'm sure long time Columbia residents will recall when there was an operating brickyard here, and it did make pavers.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 8, 2011 | 7:35 a.m.

Bill Fisher wrote:

"The two sections of brick streets we have downtown are nearly impossible to ride a bike on."

I don't find them such, but I ride a mountain bike. Perhaps they'd be tougher on a road bike.

I don't even find Bouchelle a problem.


(Report Comment)
Corey Parks November 8, 2011 | 8:30 a.m.

"Properly made, paving bricks will last a VERY long time. However, reconstruction of a brick street, alley or large driveway, when it becomes necessary, is labor intensive."

This could be the exact time of project the last Stimulus was designed to help out. Everyone knows that it would not create that many jobs in building bridges and highways as they are machine constructed. However this "labor ready" job of placing bricks one by one by hand and maintaining sections will put a lot of people to work. At least 15 alone to do a city block.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin November 8, 2011 | 8:46 a.m.

You gents are making WAY too big a deal of this. They're talking about bricks on Short Street, named for its size -- short! We're not talking about repaving the entire downtown with bricks.

IMHO, downtown Columbia reflects this peculiar sensibility that aesthetics aren't worth much. It's dull, frankly, but less dull than it was just a few years ago.

It's only been since John Ott and a few historic-preservation minded people started restoring old buildings, removing the concrete canopy, and saving a lot of history falling into ruin that downtown Columbia started looking healthy and vibrant, rather than like another dead little mid-Western rust belt town.

In the same spirit, Brent Gardner and the Historic Preservation Commission are trying to save one small brick street.

(Report Comment)
Kaleb Rippstein November 8, 2011 | 1:41 p.m.

@Mike Martin: "You gents are making WAY too big a deal of this. They're talking about bricks on Short Street, named for its size -- short! We're not talking about repaving the entire downtown with bricks."

From the article: "Gardner would like to restore all of the original brick streets in downtown Columbia that are just beneath the pavement."

(Report Comment)
Thomas Dillingham November 8, 2011 | 4:56 p.m.

There are more brick streets in Columbia than just downtown. Some years ago, there was discussion of paving over the bricks on University Avenue between College and William. The entirely bogus claim was floated that the streets were expensive to maintain. I had lived for twenty years on University Avenue and NEVER ONCE saw any city maintenance work on our street, nor have I seen it since then. Yes, for the past year there have been a couple of very rough bumps that we would like to see levelled off, but the labor to take care of that would be the first labor on our street in more years than people can remember--so the idea that it is too expensive to have brick streets is total nonsense. And by the way, I see bicyclists riding on University Avenue nearly every day.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 9, 2011 | 7:30 a.m.

First, no one more than I would like to see tons of face and paving brick, glass, and Portland cement (as the active ingredient in concrete) used here in Columbia. Would you care for a list of suppliers?

As for brick streets, they can go for decades without requiring maintenance, but when they do require maintenance it's labor intensive. The ones requiring most attention are usually on a slope. Take a look at our brick street between 4th and 5th on Cherry Street. As I've already said, this is due to shifting or loss of the base, not to the bricks*.

Remove the asphalt and re-expose the brickwork underneath? I wonder what that would LOOK like. Remember, bricks, like most ceramics, are strong in compression but brittle. The newly-exposed brick surface might not look too spiffy.

But there's a quick way to find out: select a test patch and remove the asphalt! One trial is worth 1,000 theories.

*- Many of the streets I mentioned where I grew up had been in service 50 years by the time I graduated from high school, but they started failing 10-20 years later, in some cases rather spectacularly, due to failure of their non-brick bases.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin November 9, 2011 | 8:30 a.m.

Here's how it's done, Ellis. One of many ways, in fact. Orlando has been doing this for 24 years, as you'll see in the letter at the end:

Brick Street Restoration in Orlando, Fla.

Columbia is behind the times on this.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 9, 2011 | 8:42 a.m.

When I built my home 30 yrs ago, the massive amount of rock displaced for my sewer line seemed too expensive to have hauled so decided to create a "rock garden" at a side of the lot, rather than plant grass which I have never been able to grow properly. A damaged red brick was apparently turned up with the rock and I kept it in the "garden" (the term is used loosely here). Printing on the brick still visible is 'souri indicating the word Missouri was there, with OO K or R near the bottom. Smaller print is in middle and is imprinted while larger print is raised. I've always wondered where the brick came from. Was not our old "brick plant" named Columbia Brick and Tile?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 9, 2011 | 10:54 a.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ray Shapiro November 14, 2011 | 12:52 p.m.

("Kaleb Rippstein November 8, 2011 | 1:41 p.m.

@Mike Martin: "You gents are making WAY too big a deal of this. They're talking about bricks on Short Street, named for its size -- short! We're not talking about repaving the entire downtown with bricks."

From the article: "Gardner would like to restore all of the original brick streets in downtown Columbia that are just beneath the pavement.")

At a recent Disabilities Commission meeting, Brett Gardner told me that a brick was only 25 cents.
After that, I gave him my 2 cents.
I was also told by Gardner to think that his project was like removing carpeting, only to discover a beautiful wood floor underneath.
Me thinks that these bricks were covered for a reason and will probably look more like rotting masonite.
Nevertheless, if city hall plans to tear up streets/roads in the district, it would be more appropriate to use some global universal design standards and models then return to the Fred Flintstone rock quarry/gas light era of days gone by.
Cobblestone is not child-friendly, elder-friendly or disability-friendly.
Ambiance, more money being spent by tourists and locals and slower moving vehicles can be achieved by more modern approaches than road bricks.
Just like the Historical Society failed to realize that rebuilding the burned down MapleWood Barn Theater was not just about recreating exactly that which turned to ashes, without considering ADA and more modern needs of its users, so too does digging up the roads and streets of The District by our city government.
Is that civil enough for you, Gardner?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 14, 2011 | 1:05 p.m.

"Cobblestone is not child-friendly, elder-friendly or disability-friendly."

What are those folks doing in the street? That's what sidewalks are for. If some or all streets are (re)turned to brick, maybe the crosswalk areas could be done in some material that looks like brick but is easier for kids, the elderly and the disabled to use. Now if the city were considering closing some streets (e.g., Ninth) to vehicular traffic, I could see your point.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 14, 2011 | 1:15 p.m.

People are "in the street" all the time.
Jaywalking runs rampant downtown.
If universal design was adapted for downtown street/road construction, brick roads/streets would not be the best way to go.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 14, 2011 | 1:36 p.m.

Here's two examples:
Complete Streets:
Guidelines for design of streets and roads

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 14, 2011 | 1:51 p.m.

"People are 'in the street' all the time. Jaywalking runs rampant downtown."

There's a reason why most cities have ordinances against jaywalking: It's dangerous. If brick streets help the slower-moving among us to use crosswalks, then that helps make the case for them.

BTW, I don't have feelings either way about brick streets. I just don't find some of the arguments against them to be compelling.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 14, 2011 | 1:54 p.m.

Please note:
Pavers (or paviours), generally in the form of pre-cast concrete blocks, are often used for aesthetic purposes, or sometimes at port facilities that see long-duration pavement loading. Pavers are rarely used in areas that see high-speed vehicle traffic.

Brick, cobblestone, sett, and wood plank pavements were once common in urban areas throughout the world, but fell out of fashion in most countries, due to the high cost of labor required to lay and maintain them, and are typically only kept for historical or aesthetic reasons.[citation needed] In some countries, however, they are still common in local streets. Likewise, macadam and tarmac pavements can still sometimes be found buried underneath asphalt concrete or Portland cement concrete pavements, but are rarely constructed today.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin November 14, 2011 | 2:43 p.m.

Jimmy's right. Wheelchairs and pedestrians shouldn't be forced to be in the street.

Adequate, ADA-friendly sidewalks should take care of that issue (and we don't nearly enough of them here). Sidewalks are separate from a discussion about restoring brick streets, but any restoration efforts should involve installation of ADA-compliant sidewalks.

As far as jaywalkers go -- like Jayhawks, they take their chances here in Tiger Town.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 14, 2011 | 3:03 p.m.

Martin referenced an article, above, concerning brick paving in Florida. Here is a source someone interested in the subject might check out:

Brick Industry Association
1850 Centennial Park Drive
Suite 301
Reston, VA 20191-1542

At the very least they can provide you a list of potential suppliers in this geographic area, as well as a Boy Scout brochure about the industry and its products. Bricks are dense; you are limited as to how many you can put on a flat bed trailer, so if you are talking about a lot of them you can't afford to truck them very far. (On the other hand, the trucking company will love you!)

I realize that a Columbia project would involve re-using brick that are now there, but some replacement bricks might be needed. For a price they can color match the existing bricks.

The main United States facility for brick research is:

National Brick Research Center
100 Clemson Research Blvd.
Anderson, SC 29625

Clemson University has for ages been associated with structural clay products. MS&T not so much.

Ray: Precast concrete blocks are definitely used for paving, but they are NOT bricks. There are ASTM and other specifications defining bricks, which are made from clays, shales, or mixtures of the two, and [this is the most important part] fired in kilns to temperatures of 1,800 deg. F and above.

Paving bricks are made to different specifications than bricks used for facing buildings, homes, etc. For one thing, they are denser and more resistant to water absorption.

I doubt that anyone would make a street out of concrete blocks. Why not just pour a concrete street. Then you have few seams (other than expansion joints).

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 14, 2011 | 3:19 p.m.

As for me, just looking at the spaces between brick road demarcations makes me dizzy/throws off my balance and becomes distracting/disoriented whether walking or driving while surrounded by them. So regardless of any benefits of brick roads under our city streets I'm going to be hard to sell on digging up city streets to get at some "buried treasure" for someone else's idea of ambiance and means for profit.
Sorry, but the whole premise of paver roads is hard for me to accept.
Post speed limits to slow traffic, offer a variety of goods and services, have benches and artwork. Make it safe and accessible.
That's enough for me.
A few street artists/musicians wouldn't hurt either.
Neither would a few push carts and places for children to play.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 14, 2011 | 4:05 p.m.

@Ray Shapiro:

If you read my posts on this topic (from the top) I am not in favor of any "restoration" project, but I thought that if someone just HAS to do it I'd supply some information.

I would only favor spending money on such a project if first all the non-brick streets and sidewalks in Columbia were brought up to snuff - and we both know that's not going to happen in our respective lifetimes. :)


(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 14, 2011 | 4:11 p.m.

I'm skeptical that the old bricks can be salvaged, especially at a price we can afford. (Don't forget those unfunded pension liabilities.) What is the process, and what does it cost per mile?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 15, 2011 | 5:59 a.m.

I know there will be some breakage. See my above posts. Bricks, like many other ceramics, are excellent in compression (load bearing) but when you either start removing them - or worse, trying to remove asphalt that's been put down over them - you are going to lose some of them.

That's why I included references for obtaining more bricks.

Cost per mile? How about cost per city block? Cost per mile would doom any project.

Are you aware that there is a section of US 63 where the original highway was paved with bricks on one of the two lanes? Bricks are still there, paved over. This is between Moberly and Macon, and the brick surface was still visible in the early 1950s. How was the surface? Pretty smooth, but at highway speeds you had moderate vibration. What do you think it would cost to hand lay those bricks today, even at minimum wage?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 15, 2011 | 8:03 a.m.

"Cost per mile? How about cost per city block? Cost per mile would doom any project."

Whatever metric you prefer to use. I suggested miles because 1) that's typically the length used for road projects and 2) it doesn't take many blocks to add up to a mile, especially when "Gardner would like to restore all of the original brick streets in downtown Columbia that are just beneath the pavement."

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 15, 2011 | 8:39 a.m.

For those enamored of bricks, I still suggest a nice brick mural:

Endicott Clay Products
Fairbury, NE 68352

Ask for their paver and brick mural brochures (or all their brochures, if you wish). They're free.

I don't know whether Endicott has any Bengal tiger murals as stock items (bison and eagles, they have), but they could custom make one. How about a nice Jayhawk mural? No? What have you got against Jayhawks?

(I do not receive commissions from Endicott.)

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin November 15, 2011 | 9:52 a.m.

For heavens sake -- if people want information about brick street restoration, just Google "brick street restoration."

I appreciate all of Ellis' references, but sending letters to all these groups or phoning them up for a brochure seems like a stone age approach that's as out of step with the times as this discussion generally condemning brick street restoration in Columbia.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 15, 2011 | 10:45 a.m.

You can get religious brick murals too. How about "Our Lady of Perpetual Indebtedness," a popular export item to both Greece and Italy?

Martin, don't you know when you're having your leg pulled?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 15, 2011 | 11:29 a.m.

Ellis Smith wrote:

"How about "Our Lady of Perpetual Indebtedness," a popular export item to both Greece and Italy?"

I imagine it sells pretty well here too. Just put it on the MasterCard. 180 months to pay at only 15% interest...


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 15, 2011 | 11:37 a.m.

("Jimmy Bearfield November 14, 2011 | 1:05 p.m.

Now if the city were considering closing some streets (e.g., Ninth) to vehicular traffic, I could see your point.")

Navigating down Waugh Street can be pretty dicey.
And, during festivals and special events streets/roads downtown are open to pedestrians only.
For instance, Roots and Blues provided safe streets/road routing for attendess who had problems with brick roads west of Flat Branch to the front of the old YouZeum building.
Also, what happens if "The District" eventually restricts automobile traffic from downtown to create the "ambiance" of pedestrian malls as they fill up the parking garages surrounding "The District."
Will we be covering up those expensive/dangerous unneeded bricks on an as-needed basis?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 15, 2011 | 11:40 a.m.

In those cases, they could still use sidewalks. If they need to venture into the street, such as during a festival, then they'll have to do the best they can. But whether there's a festival or a pedestrian mall, the sidewalks are still a viable way to get around.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 15, 2011 | 12:18 p.m.

No, Jimmy, the measure of everything these days in Columbia is whether it suits bicyclists; pedestrians and motor vehicles are decidedly secondary.

(So there's no confusion, I am in agreement with you.)

BTW bicycles reminds me of former mayor "Hinie." Endicott could do a brick mural of him with a bicycle, but he might have to go to deepest, darkest Fairbury, Nebraska to pose for their artist. Fairbury is a pretty scary place: a modern brick plant and nothing much else.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 15, 2011 | 12:30 p.m.

In one regard, cyclists and drivers are on a level playing field: In many places, the sharrows and bike lanes are now as faded as the rest of the traffic markings.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 20, 2011 | 2:00 p.m.

Gee that brick street looks awfully slippery.
Is that why it also appears to be abandoned?
No cars. No people.
Is that how we want "The District" to look?

(Report Comment)
Ken Geringer November 20, 2011 | 3:39 p.m.

Ray is back. Please don't mess with him.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 20, 2011 | 5:43 p.m.

I "get" the blank verse, Ray, but it prompts a couple of comments. If that's the block on Cherry Street I think it is, at night there's little traffic. Two open businesses (if it's not Sunday) are Cherry Street Wine Cellar & Bistro and Flat Branch Brewery (around the corner on Fifth Street).

Bricks and cobblestones (someone previously mentioned them) become slick during rain, ice and snow, but then so does asplhalt under the same conditions. Once I turned a VW Karmann-Ghia coupe end-for-end on wet cobblestones in Europe. No damage except to my pride. Never brake sharply driving a rear-engined car while in the middle of a turn.

(Report Comment)
Gerald Shelnutt November 20, 2011 | 11:00 p.m.

I brick streets will discourge bike riders then I am for brick on every street. Bike riders are such a sorry lot when it comes to good street manners and obeyng the law I am for anything to get them out of the way.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 22, 2011 | 12:45 p.m.

Here's what the people of Topeka had to say when someone saw a money making opportunity to sell bricks as fools' gold to that town....
("Topeka to introduce plan for brick roads")

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 30, 2011 | 12:32 p.m.

("Brick roads don't always lead to Oz.
...It amazes me that, at the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, such a design escapes the scrutiny of the public works department. My suspicion is that it will be replaced before long, and at a far greater cost than it would take if it were mere concrete...")

(Report Comment)

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