Downtown Berkeley Getting the Permeable Pavement Treatment

The city of Berkeley is undergoing a pilot installation of permeable pavement for a road calming project by Berkeley High School. The pilot has better storm water drainage, a smaller carbon footprint, and less maintenance than traditional asphalt.
Mike Boucher / Flickr

Construction for the new pavement continues on Allston Way along a 0.1 mile stretch adjacent to Berkeley High School and Berkeley City Hall. According to Charles Siler at Berkeleyside, "the new permeable interlocking concrete pavement will absorb water, rather than redirecting it to a storm drain the way traditional asphalt does... [and includes] better heat dispersal and cleaner runoff water." The new permeable pavement also decreases the city's storm drain system load during heavy rains.

Permeable Pavement Explanation

 Permeable paving explanation. Photo: SF Streets Blog

In addition, permeable pavement "has a lifespan 3-5 times longer than that of traditional pavement, which is expected in the long run to offset the 50% to 60% greater cost of construction", and a reduced carbon footprint than traditional paving materials. Due to the colors and material used, there is also less solar heat gain associated with permeable pavement.

According to Siler, "a city spokesman stressed that the project is a test run for the new paving material." However, permeable pavement projects have already been constructed in other parts of the Bay Area such as San Francisco and Oakland.

Full Story: Berkeley installs first permeable pavers downtown

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