City puts the brakes on throwback brick roadway


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The hopes of some residents in one Buffalo neighborhood to preserve the vintage brick pavement on their street have been dashed–the city has decided to cover the brick back up.

A street crew discovered the historic pavers last week on Blaine Avenue, and some people were hoping the city would restore the brick road. Some folks even took to the street, and scraped up pieces of the old asphalt pavement, themselves, but that optimism has turned to disappointment.

Blaine Avenue is part of the Hamlin Park historic preservation neighborhood, so the sudden discovery of the old brick surface–exposed in the course of a re-paving project by the city–caught the imagination of many of the homeowners.

They wanted to keep the old brick, just like residents on Ardmore Place did two years ago, which has enhanced that West Side neighborhood–boosting home sales and civic pride.

But Buffalo Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak said there are subtle differences between the two streets, such as utility lines under Blaine, that took preservation off the table.
“It is cost prohibitive. To restore that roadway would be over $300,000 as opposed to about $48,000 to resurface that roadway.”

Stepniak revealed there were other critical complications, “All the driveway approaches–where people pull in their driveways–they would all have to be adjusted, and there are 130 of those on Blaine, so that is a lot of work there.”

“The utilities are in the main part of the roadway, so any time utility work would have to be done, whether it is water or sewer, we would have to excavate and rip those up. Also those manhole covers would all have to be adjusted and lowered.”

Stepniak added, even the costs for preserving Ardmore Place continue to climb, two years later: Ardmore is not finished–about a quarter of the street has not been preserved. Many of the old bricks still have to be replaced, and that won’t be cheap.

Back over on Blaine Avenue, Commissioner Stepniak said they plan to get back to work with the repaving project immediately–as early as Tuesday.

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