More options – sustainable ones – for city sidewalks

If you need a new or replacement sidewalk in front of your home or business, you no longer have to use concrete.

City Council Thursday passed an ordinance that allows the use of sustainable products and materials.  The new language added to the rules on sidewalks is pretty short: “The Streets Department shall permit the use of sustainable products and materials for the construction of sidewalks, wherever practicable,” it says.

At-Large Councilman James Kenney, who introduced the bill with Councilwoman At-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown and First District Councilman Frank DiCicco, said while many materials will be allowed, he has a favorite. “I’m hoping for rubberized sidewalks,” he said. “That’s my favorite option. They are recycled, they last forever, you don’t have to keep breaking them up, and they are permeable, allowing water to reach tree and plant roots.”

Permeable paving surfaces get a big thumbs up from the city’s water department, because they lead to less storm-water runoff, which can overwhelms the city’s sewer system.

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