As suburban towns evolve, residential development emerges in central business districts, bringing more vehicles and pedestrians. Lawrenceville, Georgia, is one such suburb, 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, where you can see this happening. And forward-thinking urban planners are adding amenities like Pine Hall Brick clay pavers to enhance the downtown quality of life. (Photo: Matheus Fernandes)

The process involved milling down the existing asphalt while keeping the road base in place. Then four inches of concrete was poured for elevation. Pavers were set in mortar on top of the concrete.

Lawrenceville 2045, the Lawrenceville, GA, long-range planning report is laced with words like “mixed-use” and “walkable.” With a population just over 30,500, Lawrenceville is following the trends of once-sleepy bedroom communities growing into self-sustaining small cities to make their environs more appealing and engaging.

A recently completed clay paver speed table intersection adjacent to a mixed-use development and walkable amenities marks a bold indicator of nice things to come.

Traffic volume and safety are important considerations in the growing city. The Seminary Street project, as it is called, is attractive and it also functions as a traffic table to help regulate speeds in the area.

“There used to be very few people living downtown, but more folks are moving into town and working here instead of commuting to Atlanta,” said engineer Eranildo Lustosa. “We have over 10,000 vehicles per day heading downtown now, only at South Clayton Street.”

The new three-way intersection uses Pine Hall Brick Red and Buff pavers to demarcate pedestrian crossings and to help frame a new mixed-use complex.

“With the recent development of nearby Southlawn, a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Lawrenceville, increased foot traffic is on the rise,” said Steve Sappington, Senior Planner with Precision Planning who designed the intersection. “The need for safely crossing the street has caused the city to look at traffic calming solutions such as this raised crosswalk.

Our job was to beautify the area by adding some color and flavor, as part of the city’s effort to get more people accessing the businesses downtown.

Matheus Fernandes

Chief Operating Officer, Peachtree Pavers

Mixed-use community Southlawn benefits from the new street improvement. (Photo: Matheus Fernandes)

A commitment to safer traffic patterns, an investment in downtown quality of life

“This is a prototype project for the city, and it will be studied for its effectiveness,” said Sappington, “If successful, the city will repeat this in other nearby areas.”

The South Clayton Street and Seminary Street intersection was installed by local company Peachtree Pavers.

“Our job was to beautify the area by adding some color and flavor, as part of the city’s effort to get more people accessing the businesses downtown,” said Matheus Fernandes, chief Operating Officer of Peachtree Pavers, a prominent installer in Greater Atlanta which handles both residential and commercial hardscapes. “The Seminary Street job used about 2500-square feet of pavers.”

Peachtree Pavers was chosen by the project’s general contractors, Lagniappe Development Company, Inc.

Why Pine Hall Brick clay pavers? Function, colorfast, and aesthetics were key, but also history. Sappington went back to some of the town’s earlier hardscape projects – sidewalks and streets – and found pavers still looking as good as the day they were installed. That’s how the color was chosen.

“The project shows the City of Lawrenceville’s commitment towards a walkable and safe downtown area.”

Eranildo Lustosa

Engineer, City of Lawrenceville

After milling down the asphalt, the roadbed provided a solid base for concrete and pavers. (Photo: City of Lawrenceville)

Project progress slideshow

After milling down the asphalt, the roadbed provided a solid base for concrete and pavers. (Photos: Eranildo Lustosa)

“Downtown Lawrenceville’s first streetscape project was implemented in the late 1980s to the early 1990s, and this project used Pine Hall Brick Red clay pavers with buff mortar,” said Sappingon, “It has held up well over the course of time and has become a city standard.”

Engineering was a little more complex than simply laying pavers because it had to function as a speed table. The original street was scraped down several inches for a bed of concrete to raise the intersection.

Of course, the pavers also had to stand up to a heavy vehicular load.

“We put a lot of thought into this during the design process,” said Sappington. “The clay pavers are installed atop a thick concrete base, interlocked with mortar, and edged with an integrated concrete border – a stable traffic-rated foundation for the clay pavers.”

Engineer Eranildo Lustosa managed to keep traffic flowing with no accidents and minimal complaints.

Peachtree Pavers made installation easier on traffic

Fernandes and his team at Peachtree Pavers coordinated with Lustosa to make the project go smoothly one side of the street at a time. This way traffic was never fully stopped on the intersecting streets. It worked well.

“We had no traffic accidents during the installation,” said Lustosa, “and barely any complaints.”

Now the Seminary Street intersection creates a pleasant visual connection between the Southlawn community, businesses and one of the largest parks in the city.

Lustosa and Sappington are looking forward to more installations like Seminary Street. Looks like more clay pavers are coming, too.

“Both contractors did an excellent job in executing the project, and we hope to work with them again,” said Sappington. “We will continue the use of clay pavers, as it is a classic staple of the city’s-built fabric and helps us achieve that timeless look that ties older streetscapes into some of the newer contemporary streetscapes and developments.”

Lawrenceville gets a colorful makeover, one intersection at a time. (Photo: Matheus Fernandes)