Blumenfield Permeable Sidewalk Proposal Advances

Committee moves forward program to utilize innovative paving materials for City sidewalks.

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield speaks in support of his measure to utilize innovative permeable paving materials at a Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee meeting, on June 18, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA – The City Council’s Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee today voted to move forward Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s proposal to utilize innovative permeable paving materials for City sidewalks.

“Concrete is about as innovative as the chiseled wheel,” said Blumenfield, who spoke in support of his measure at Committee today. “In order to be a modern city, we need to utilize more modern materials that will benefit our environment, reduce maintenance, liability and other costs, while significantly improving the quality of life for all Angelenos.”

The Bureau of Street Services (BSS) has experimented in the past with alternative sidewalk materials including rubber panels, recycled mixed plastic materials, poured rubber materials and porous concrete. Decomposed granite is another option, though it has not been studied by BSS.

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

Councilmember Joe Buscaino, who chairs the Committee, noted that with an estimated 40% of City sidewalks failing, Los Angeles must look for alternatives to fix and sustain our sidewalks and roadways.

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.

The proposal will now go to the full City Council. City departments will then work together on evaluating options for permeable paving materials and recommend preferred sidewalk materials to meet the dual goals of sustainability while providing a durable surface.

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