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Bring back bricks!

I know the city has a lot on its hands right now, but this decision was made pre-flood. Maybe a fraction of a percent of rebuilding money can go toward buying a couple of bricks, because this looks awful.

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26 Comment(s)

  1. Berv, which are you more emphatic about? Bring back bricks! or Need Fun!

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 19, 2012 | New Comment
  2. I’ve been seeing them laying bricks in a few places this summer. It looks like a slow, painstaking process. In fact, I think I may have seen one guy teaching another how to do it yesterday, so I’m guessing they’re not throwing in the towel on the bricks.

    Karasu | Jul 19, 2012 | New Comment
  3. I was under the impression that the ugly asphalt patches were only to prevent people from tripping during Grandma’s Marathon, but that a long term brink replacement plan was in place. It just takes longer than pouring asphalt. At least that’s what I heard -- I hope it’s true!

    pats | Jul 19, 2012 | New Comment
  4. I empathize with Berv. If we only place value on doing things as quickly and cheaply as possible, then Duluth should just annex itself to Superior.

    Codie | Jul 19, 2012 | New Comment
  5. I am sure it will eventually get patched with bricks. But the road crews are a little busy with other roads right now.

    Dorkus | Jul 19, 2012 | New Comment
  6. If we place value on having a balanced budget, rather than hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, we could do worse than annexing ourselves to Superior.

    Ramos | Jul 19, 2012 | New Comment
  7. The brick streets are at the end of their projected life span and are due for replacement in the next few years. The decision needs to be made to replace the brick streets or go with asphalt paving. It’s going to be expensive either way. I hope they decide to keep the bricks.

    Shane | Jul 19, 2012 | New Comment
  8. Didn’t they already decide on going with the bricks?

    Tom | Jul 19, 2012 | New Comment
  9. Duluth needs a Tiger Stone machine.

    Zeito | Jul 19, 2012 | New Comment
  10. Superior Street must be fully reconstructed in the next 5 years. It is likely already 5 years past it’s prime and the road bed is in such bad shape that our significant maintenance efforts (which are very expensive) are not holding up well.

    At this point, I am looking at 2014 as the start of a multi-year reconstruction project. In the next 6-9 months we will have a series of public meetings as we start a community-wide discussion about design and material options for this project.

    Just a sample of the decisions that will need to be made:

    1) concrete vs. bricks
    2) street scape options
    3) on-street parking alignment
    4) opportunity to convert from steam to a more efficient hot-water system
    5) sidewalk width
    etc

    All of the decisions have tradeoffs -- for example -- wider sidewalks vs. on-street parking. Cost of the bricks vs. maintaining the unique feel. Public involvement and input is going to be key in making these design decisions.

    So here’s the rub on the ugly patches… Do we commit to expensive brick repair projects when these streets will be torn up in two or three years? I don’t think that’s a good use of limited resources. Or do we use blacktop patches in the next few years while we prepare for the full reconstruct?

    Of course we would all rather not have the blacktop on the bricks -- it looks terrible. But in the short term, it might be the most responsible approach.

    Don Ness | Jul 20, 2012 | New Comment
  11. What amazes me is, another politician smearing blacktop on our streets, I would consider damaging our community in the name of tea party nonsense.

    But when Don Ness does it, I feel it’s responsible, effective, and darn it, I want to hug him. How do you do it?

    rhetoricguy@gmail.com | Jul 20, 2012 | New Comment
  12. He does it, Rhetoricguy, by being honest, sincere and really thinking about doing what’s best for the city. What you’ve missed from the usual political type is that self-serving attitude. Don Ness is the real deal! Lucky Duluth.

    pats | Jul 20, 2012 | New Comment
  13. Darnit Don, this is not how politics works.

    You are supposed to feed us rhetoric, hobnob with mucky-mucks and occasionally fornicate with underlings.

    You give a bad name to politicians everywhere.

    Dorkus | Jul 20, 2012 | New Comment
  14. Maybe we as Duluthians can buy a few bricks each and donate them to the cause.

    Dorkus | Jul 20, 2012 | New Comment
  15. Any chance of dark red-colored tar/patch material. It would at least blend in better. Yes I know tar is inherently black. That’s why I added “/patch material.” It would still save some money and look a little prettier. Just a thought.

    Les F | Jul 20, 2012 | New Comment
  16. In the old days they added taconite tailings to the asphalt, the roads and patches would rust but it would probably look good downtown.

    llinmpls | Jul 20, 2012 | New Comment
  17. The aesthetic appeal of bricks only seems to last a few years, followed by many years of ugly, expensive patching. So I’d like to see blacktop on Superior St., despite the initial beauty and charm of bricks. Please don’t count this comment as whining about Duluth’s streets.

    DaVe | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment
  18. Back here in Maryland, they put in some pretty traffic circles that ‘appeared’ to be bordered by bricks. Actually it was blacktop that had been scribed and colored. After about a year of Md drivers cutting the circle too tight and riding up on the ‘bricks’ the coloring wore off as it was only a thin layer of red. Avoid that kind of quality work. I guess it would have been fine if no one actually drove up on them. (English & grammar police, I am still on my first cup of coffee).

    Les F | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment
  19. If the bricks are replaced with more bricks, I’d like to see a better design plan for the parts where the lines are painted. When the bricks first went in in the 80s, the were designed without painted lines. This turned out to be illegal and the lines were put in later. Of course Superior Street didn’t have diagonal parking then either, and the diagonal lines were added in the 90s.

    In the West End, Superior Street has junk like this jutting out into traffic. No one uses stuff like this and it takes up so much space — that huge arc of brick is apparently there so crowds can gather round and read the fascinating information posted on that kiosk. Once again I’d like to see better design, creating spaces that people will actually use.

    Barrett Chase | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment
  20. Obligatory blast-from-the-past via News Tribune Attic.

    Barrett Chase | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment
  21. I find those glorious wastes of space on the West Side something I wish our downtown had more of. It’s awkward to wait for the bus under shelters half the size they should be (in front of the antique shop on Superior) or under the Medical Arts building awning, blocking people coming and going. It’s awkward not to have a space just to stop walking and rest as I enjoy our downtown (but I am, of course, a 300 pound man — younger folks may not have this problem).

    Parking downtown is not a problem, as far as I can tell. Let’s make Superior even more pedestrian friendly, even if it costs us more parking spots.

    rhetoricguy@gmail.com | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment
  22. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be spaces. I’m saying they should be thought out better. This space is nowhere near a high-traffic bus shelter. That’s what I meant when I said, “spaces that people will actually use.” I think they had a “if we build it they will come” attitude while constructing these spaces. It obviously didn’t work in these cases. I’m all for beautification, and I’m all for creating ease for bikes and pedestrians, but these spaces simply aren’t being used. You need to know the neighborhood if you want to improve the neighborhood.

    Barrett Chase | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment
  23. I would guess those glorious wastes of space were intended to be traffic-calming features, and I’m inclined to agree with rhetoricguy in general.

    The Big E | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment
  24. Even if they are traffic calming features, I’m saying they should be placed in areas where they will be more aesthetically effective. These have a feeling of “we’ll just put this here and people will use it.” Well, no they don’t. They absolutely don’t.

    Once again, I’m not saying they should be removed. I’m saying they should be placed in better areas so that pedestrians will actually use them. Maybe some better features — something other than an unused information kiosk — should be added to make them more attractive. Certainly bus stops would be better. Can’t traffic-calming features be also attractive and useful? I think they can.

    Barrett Chase | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment
  25. I have faith that one day somebody in Duluth will need to post information about something. On that day, the kiosks will be waiting.

    Ramos | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment
  26. emmadogs | Jul 22, 2012 | New Comment

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