Are brick streets worth it? Residents question cost of Orlando repair project

Lake Davis project shows cost of maintaining brick vs. paved streets

ORLANDO, Fla. – John Abbott has lived in the south downtown Orlando neighborhood near Lake Davis for 14 years.

Last August, he was one of the residents who complained about the lack of maintenance on the brick roads around the lake.

"You'll see the curbs are deteriorating so badly, that there’s actually chunks of the curb falling into the street and they have been like that for such a long time," he said.

Lake Davis is surrounded by beautiful homes, but Abbott said the crumbling curbs and the buckling bricks had not only become unsightly, but also unsafe.

"Over the years. it’s just gotten a lot of neglect," he said.

When News 6 went to the city, we were told the $100,000 project would start within a year and it is now well underway.

It's no easy task. First, the old curb has to be removed, then tree roots have to be trimmed. The new curb has to be poured and the bricks replaced.

"I'm assuming that this is quite expensive," said Susan Hodgin, who lives in the area and questions whether it's too expensive.

"I just don't know if it was necessary," she said. "Is it a good use of city funds?  I'm not sure."

The Lake Davis project raises a real question.  Are brick streets worth the expense?
Lisa Henry is the city of Orlando's streets and storm water division manager. 

"It's absolutely more expensive to maintain brick streets than it is for paving," she said. "Tree roots are going to constantly push up the bricks so it will be a constant thing that we will have to monitor and maintain."

"Brick streets offer a natural traffic calming, as well as the aesthetics of it and the charm and the historic feel for it," she said.

Even though some are questioning the price of maintenance, residents shouldn't expect to see paved streets in the area anytime soon.

"They both have their place and we're not planning on pulling up bricks in that area any time soon," Henry said. "At least not within my lifetime."

The Lake Davis street maintenance is an eight-week project. City officials said they expect it to be complete in three weeks.

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