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Brick Roads in Asheville?


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#1 macrocosim144

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 10:14 AM

Im just curious, given the age of the city; why are there no brick roads?
Are they just covered up; or were they never in use here?

I love brick because it slows down traffic, needs far less maintenance, lasts longer and frankly looks a lot better than the quickly degrading asphalt alternative.

In Orlando FL they spent many millions in the 80's covering them all up; recent years have seen millions more uncovering them! lol!

 

#2 orulz

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 09:53 AM

Asheville really isn't that old. No older than any other cities in NC anyway.

But regardless, N. Market Street downtown between Walnut and College is one brick street, check it out on google maps.
Wall Street was turned into a Woonerf with some brick pavement in early 1980s (google maps). I bet at least some of the other streets downtown have bricks beneath the asphalt, but some of the bricks have probably been torn up as well.

#3 hauntedheadnc

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 09:47 PM

Asheville really isn't that old. No older than any other cities in NC anyway.

But regardless, N. Market Street downtown between Walnut and College is one brick street, check it out on google maps.
Wall Street was turned into a Woonerf with some brick pavement in early 1980s (google maps). I bet at least some of the other streets downtown have bricks beneath the asphalt, but some of the bricks have probably been torn up as well.


When they were repaving Haywood Street a few years back, they scraped all the asphalt down to the bricks and trolley tracks. I'd bet that quite a few streets have the same bricks and trolley tracks under the pavement.

#4 macrocosim144

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 01:03 PM

Well I'm sure Orlando is not as old as Asheville and we have red brick streets everywhere; they have reinstated them in all the old neighborhoods and in the urban core which really helped with keeping the traffic slower and bringing back the old world charm. That and if your house is on a brick street its easily worth 20 grand more than their asphalt laden brethren.

It would be awesome to see more of them return on some streets here in Asheville, IMO they are much better for many reasons.

Trolley tracks you say, now that would be awesome to see a return of trolley cars and the like; much better than those gas guzzling hideous buses. We had trolleys in orlando in the early 1900's but they were mule drawn! lol

Thanks for the google streetview links ... im so happy we finally have that here now!
I guess ive yet to walk down market street ... ill have to go check it out, looks lovely.

#5 Lootles

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 01:26 PM

When they were repaving Haywood Street a few years back, they scraped all the asphalt down to the bricks and trolley tracks. I'd bet that quite a few streets have the same bricks and trolley tracks under the pavement.


Probably more streets than you imagine were originally brick and have most of the brick under the asphalt. Years ago, Macon Avenue was worked on and most of the original brick and trolley tracks were taken up then. I forget if the trolley tracks are still under the pavement on Charlotte Street. This summer when all the water line work was being done in the River Arts District the brick streets were exposed. Roberts Street was mostly brick before it was repaved. Clingman down past Odyssey had exposed brick. The problem is that a lot of the brick is missing where excavations have taken place over time so it wouldn't be that easy to restore. It would likely have to all be taken up and a new base laid down to support today's traffic.

#6 macrocosim144

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 08:14 PM

Probably more streets than you imagine were originally brick and have most of the brick under the asphalt. Years ago, Macon Avenue was worked on and most of the original brick and trolley tracks were taken up then. I forget if the trolley tracks are still under the pavement on Charlotte Street. This summer when all the water line work was being done in the River Arts District the brick streets were exposed. Roberts Street was mostly brick before it was repaved. Clingman down past Odyssey had exposed brick. The problem is that a lot of the brick is missing where excavations have taken place over time so it wouldn't be that easy to restore. It would likely have to all be taken up and a new base laid down to support today's traffic.



That's part of the brilliance of the brick streets even if many are damaged or gone, the process makes it easy to restore. In Orlando they would first remove the asphalt, then the bricks go to be cleaned and recycled.. meanwhile they redo the road with a mixture of recycled and new bricks. I think the greatest benefit comes when work needs to be done on the underlying utilities, bricks come up easy and instead of the hideous scars with asphalt, simply lay the bricks again.

#7 AsheVid

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 01:56 PM

Yes, probably most of the streets in Asheville have brick underneath, or granite in some places. Clingman Ave is actually Granite in many places and the whole neighborhood has granite curbstones. (Except for where they have been replaced by poured concrete.) When the city pulled up the granite slabs in the WECAN neighborhood two years ago the neighbors found out that the slabs were being relocated to Montford. After some back and forth with the city they were allowed to keep their granite for use in neighborhood projects (but not allowed to keep the granite in place at the street!) You can see some of the large slabs in the Owens Bell Community Garden.

Here is a photo taken on Roberts street during a repaving job over the summer:


Posted Image


The brick is remarkably well preserved under all that asphalt. It would be nice for the streets to be restored, but until the River District neighborhoods are no longer home to heavy trucks that come through at breakneck speeds they are probably safer under that asphalt.

#8 orulz

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 08:00 AM

That's part of the brilliance of the brick streets even if many are damaged or gone, the process makes it easy to restore. In Orlando they would first remove the asphalt, then the bricks go to be cleaned and recycled.. meanwhile they redo the road with a mixture of recycled and new bricks. I think the greatest benefit comes when work needs to be done on the underlying utilities, bricks come up easy and instead of the hideous scars with asphalt, simply lay the bricks again.


There are some other possible drawbacks to bricks though, including several that you wouldn't have to deal with in Orlando. For example, I would think that bricks are harder to plow for snow. It doesn't happen very often in Asheville, but every once in a while the streets do have to be plowed, and running a plow over bricks might tear them up completely.

In addition, many of the main streets through downtown Asheville are owned & controlled by the state. Broadway & Biltmore actually carry US 25, for example. This touches on AsheVid's point that heavy truck traffic can often be found on many of the historic streets in town.

#9 macrocosim144

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 02:49 AM

There are some other possible drawbacks to bricks though, including several that you wouldn't have to deal with in Orlando. For example, I would think that bricks are harder to plow for snow. It doesn't happen very often in Asheville, but every once in a while the streets do have to be plowed, and running a plow over bricks might tear them up completely.

In addition, many of the main streets through downtown Asheville are owned & controlled by the state. Broadway & Biltmore actually carry US 25, for example. This touches on AsheVid's point that heavy truck traffic can often be found on many of the historic streets in town.


Well surely if you scraped asphalt hard enough it degrades. That said, there must be plows that dont tear up the surface as much? Afterall the North is replete with brick roads and tons more snow than we get here. And being that all the roads here were brick at one time they must have figured something out; one would hope. I dont think the heavy trucks made a difference in Orlando, we had all kinds of heavy traffic on our 100 year old streets with no damage; that and repairs are very easy and cheap comparatively speaking.

Im not advocating bricks are appropriate everywhere but on residential and largly pedestrian streets where you want to keep traffic slow they far exceed asphalt.