Well I’m afraid it’s too late but wouldn’t it be cool if…
submitted by S McAdoo [Email address: mcadoo_mcadoo #AT# yahoo.com - replace #AT# with @ ]
It would be great to see the city consider these new rubber sidewalks for the SCB project. They seem especially ideal for this neighborhood where shifting soil can quickly crack up and misalign concrete sidewalks, and it’s environmentally better as well. (And as someone who has taken a spill on one of the current concrete sidewalks along SCB and experienced several weeks of pain as a result, the softer landing these promise sound good too!) From the Associated Press…
New Rubber Sidewalks Easier on the Joints
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By DERRILL HOLLY Associated Press Writer
July 25,2006 | WASHINGTON — Pounding the pavement is getting a little easier on people’s
knees in many cities around the country. For reasons of safety and
ease of maintenance, Washington and dozens of other communities are
installing rubber sidewalks made of ground-up tires.
The rubber squares are up to three times more expensive than
concrete slabs but last longer, because tree roots and freezing weather
won’t crack them. That, in turn, could reduce the number of
slip-and-fall lawsuits filed over uneven pavement.
The shock-absorbing surface also happens to be easier on the joints of joggers, and more forgiving when someone takes a spill.
And the rubber sidewalks are considered more environmentally
friendly: They offer a way to recycle some of the estimated 290 million
tires thrown out each year in the U.S., and they do not constrict tree
roots the way concrete slabs do.
"As our trees grow and mature sometimes the root systems begin to
pull up the sidewalks," said Michelle L. Pourciau, acting director of
the D.C. Transportation Department. "This is compromise between having
a beautiful and healthy tree and having a safe and passable sidewalk."
Rubbersidewalks Inc. of Gardena, Calif., manufactures the small
rubberized squares now being used on some sidewalks in more than 60
cities, including Washington.
Since 2001, Rubbersidewalks has been grinding thousands of old tires
into crumbs, adding chemical binders, and baking the material into
sidewalk sections that weigh under 11 pounds per square foot, or a
quarter of the weight of concrete. The panels are available in two
shades of gray and a terra cotta orange.
Many of the squares have been installed in areas where damage from
tree roots, weather and snow removal have required sidewalk replacement
or major repairs every three years, said Lindsay Smith, founder and
president of Rubbersidewalks. Rubber sidewalks are expected to last
seven years or more, Smith said.
The District of Columbia has spent about $60,000 to replace broken
concrete with the rubberized panels here and there in a residential
neighborhood northeast of the Capitol where towering willow oaks line
"Maybe we won’t have to worry about the cracks in the sidewalk when
the seasons change," Charlene Baker said as she walked with her
daughter. She added: "If this helps save the trees, that would be a
The panels are firmer than a running track or a rubberized playground, but far more resilient than concrete.
Dr. Frank Kelly, a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic
Surgeons in Macon, Ga., said people walking on the surface would be
less vulnerable to heel spurs and knee and back problems.
In 2004, the sidewalks in front of two homes in New Rochelle, N.Y.,
were replaced after roots repeatedly caused concrete cracking and
heaving. The rubber panels have withstood two winters of snow
shoveling, rock salt and repeated freezing and thawing.
"Some of these trees are close to 100 years old and we wouldn’t want
to take them down," said Jeffrey Coleman, New Rochelle’s commissioner
of public works.
About 100 feet of rubber sidewalk was installed in a town
square-style shopping area in Tallahassee, Fla., in 2003 as a temporary
measure after a major root pruning project.
"They wanted that to be in place for a year before we came back and
put the concrete in," said Tom Lewis, the city’s street maintenance and
construction supervisor, "but the rubber has held up so well, we’ve
just left it out there."
On the Net:
Rubbersidewalks Inc.: http://www.rubbersidewalks.com
Also, read this story about rubber sidewalks from NPR’s All Things Considered.