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Columbia Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission supports brick streets resolution

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 | 9:57 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A policy resolution regarding the maintenance of Columbia's brick streets was supported by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission at its Wednesday night meeting. 

The resolution, created by the Historic Preservation Commission, outlines plans for maintaining Columbia's historic brick streets and potentially uncovering brick streets that are now paved. It was drawn up at the request of Public Works Director John Glascock, who wanted a set of guidelines for road workers to follow when working on brick streets.

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The commission passed a motion to support the resolution, with the recommendation that any future brick streets built or improved with neighborhood funds be included in the "core brick street zone." Bricks in the core zone are protected from being moved or covered. 

Brant Kassel, member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission, likes the long-lasting and unique quality of the brick streets. Although Kassel rides his bike to work, biking on the bricks doesn't bother him, he said.

"The whole idea is, if you're going to have a brick street, properly surface it," Robert Tucker of the Historic Preservation Commission said. 

In November, the City Council tabled the policy resolution after some members said they felt they were moving too quickly on the issue. More input from the city's Human Rights, Disabilities, and Bicycle and Pedestrian commissions would help them make a better decision, they said.

Brick streets are more expensive to install than asphalt and concrete, but they pay off in the long run, according to a report by the Historic Preservation Commission. Asphalt streets must be repaved every 15 years or so, while a brick street built with new materials can go without repair for more than 150 years, the report said.

Both the Disabilities Commission and Human Rights Commission have said the expansion of brick streets would pose accessibility challenges for people with disabilities, according to a report from the Human Rights Commission.

The City Council is scheduled to look at the issue again at its meeting Feb. 17.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.


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