Blumenfield Pushes for Innovative Alternative Sidewalk Materials

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield urges City to explore feasibility of rubber and decomposed granite material for Los Angeles’ sidewalks.

LOS ANGELES – Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today introduced a measure that instructs the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) to develop a sidewalk repair program using environmentally friendly sidewalk paving materials rather than conventional portland cement concrete.

“Concrete is about as cutting edge as the wheel,” said Blumenfield. “It doesn’t hold up to tree roots; it doesn’t allow for groundwater recharge. If we’re serious about greening the Valley and beyond, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be looking towards a more sustainable and cost effective mix of paving materials as we tackle our City’s unique infrastructure challenges.”

BSS has experimented with alternative materials to cement concrete including rubber panels, recycled mixed plastic materials, poured rubber materials and porous concrete. The City of Santa Monica implemented a sidewalk repair program using rubber sidewalks in 2000 and has since installed approximately 20,000 square feet of rubber sidewalk.

In fact, over 100 cities have rubber sidewalk programs. It is estimated that each square foot of rubber sidewalk diverts one passenger tire from the landfill.

Both decomposed granite and rubber are ADA accessible and allow us easier access to grind tree roots. Sidewalks made from permeable pavers reduce harmful runoff and act as a natural filter for solids and pollutants.

Earlier this month Councilmember Blumenfield proposed a citywide pilot sidewalk repair program that would rely on cost-sharing to stretch the public dollar while making crucial investments in sidewalk infrastructure.

“Failed sidewalks can be found in every corner of the City and are one of the most common complaints heard from our neighborhoods. We want to explore every option on the table with the goal of not merely repairing, but drastically improving our City’s sidewalks,” concluded Blumenfield.

The proposal has been referred to the Committee on Public Works and Gang Reduction.

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