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City Council Panel To Move Ahead With Plan For Concrete-Alternative Sidewalks

LOS ANGELES ( — A plan to transform the way the city of Los Angeles designs and repairs sidewalks could take a big step Wednesday toward becoming law.

A City Council committee will review a proposal by Councilman Bob Blumenfield for alternative materials that will withstand damage from tree roots and absorb less heat to be used in fixing sidewalks.

Blumenfield introduced the measure in February (PDF) instructing the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) to model the program - which would use concrete alternatives including rubber panels, recycled mixed plastic materials, and poured rubber materials - after a similar plan in Santa Monica, which launched its own sidewalk repair program in 2000.

Since then, Santa Monica has installed approximately 20,000 square feet of rubber sidewalk, according to Blumenfield's office.

Implementing alternative materials would cost taxpayers between $24 and $32 per square foot, according to Blumenfield's motion. City officials estimated about 4,600 miles of sidewalks need repair.

Blumenfield told KNX 1070's Dick Helton the cost of replacing traditional concrete will ultimately save taxpayers money.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield

"These alternative materials are always cheaper when you talk about maintenance," Blumenfield said. "The question is, you gotta look at the price along the life of the sidewalk, and technology has changed to the point where they're cheaper along the life of the sidewalk."

Over 100 cities nationwide have rubber sidewalk programs, each square foot of which is estimated to divert one passenger tire from landfills, according to Blumenfield.

The Committee on Public Works and Gang Reduction is scheduled to vote on the proposal at 2 p.m.

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