These bright blue lines appeared on our street this week. The lines look they might be an art project, or a way of marking off parking spaces, or an effort to turn our street into a hockey rink, but I’m concerned they mean trouble ahead instead.
The blue lines point to blue metal lids — like the one you can see on our sidewalk, just above the fence — that mark where water lines can be accessed. The blue lines appeared at a time that Columbia Gas is doing work in our neighborhood involving the relocation of certain gas meters. (The gas lines have bright yellow metal lids, which give the sidewalks a kind of dappled effect.) I’m fearful that the blue lines mean that our quaint brick-paved street is going to be ripped up as part of some big project. I’m hoping that is not the case, because once you tear up old brick streets they never look quite the same again.
Is there every a case where paint markings on a street don’t mean bad news ahead?
We got several inches of snow last night. That means we’ll be living with a snow-covered street for the next few weeks, because forecasts are for temperatures with highs in the 20s, or below, for the foreseeable future.
It’s not that Columbus has inadequate plowing resources; in fact, the city’s road crews are pretty good. No, it’s because our street, like most of the streets in German Village, is paved with brick. Brick streets and snow plows don’t mix — unless you like plows hurling bricks from the road bed into parked cars, passing traffic, and pedestrians.
So we’ll have to wait to dispose of the snow the old-fashioned way . . . by melting.
Morning walks around German Village can be a feast for the senses. On days like today, where lingering traces of pre-dawn fog hug the ground and leave a glowing sheen on the brick roadways, you feel like you might just live in a mystical land.
Those bricks look great on these kinds of mornings, but be wary — they’re death when sleet or freezing rain come to town.
They’ve been working on a number of roads here in German Village lately. When you are talking about working with German Village streets, that means you are talking about bricks — lots and lots of bricks.
What labor-intensive work this is! Someone must individually remove each existing brick and pile them somewhere, then perform the patching work for the surface underneath the bricks, then replace the bricks, one by one. And it’s a job that can’t really be done by a machine, either. Although someone in Australia has invented a robotic machine that creates 3D prints of brick and then lays them, in German Village authenticity is crucial, which means that the original brick must be reused. Only a human bricklayer will do.
When you see the piles created by even one of the smaller brick repair jobs, you’re amazed at how many bricks there are — and then you realize with a start how many people must have been needed to lay the brick streets of German Village, and for that matter, most of downtown Columbus and the areas surrounding German Village, too. It must have been a staggering job that kept squadrons of workers busy for months. No wonder the employment statistics of those days were better than they are now.
If we want to nudge back toward full employment, maybe the answer is to get rid of asphalt and concrete and go back to brick-laying our streets — without the assistance of 3D-printing, brick-laying Australian robots.