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LA Councilman Has Idea To Turn City Sidewalks Into Rubber

LOS ANGELES ( —  A LA City Councilman on Wednesday proposed that Los Angeles find an alternate to concrete to rebuild city sidewalks.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield believes sidewalks should be replaced with rubber, decomposed granite or other alternate materials.

Concrete sidewalks do not "hold up to tree roots or allow water to seep into underground basins," Blumenfield said.

"If we're serious about greening the Valley and beyond, there's no reason we shouldn't be looking towards a more sustainable and cost effective mix of paving materials as we tackle our city's unique infrastructure challenges," he said.

More than 100 cities have rubber sidewalks, according to Blumenfield's motion.

If approved by the City Council, the motion would allow the Bureau of Street Services to set up a pilot program to lay down sidewalks made of alternate materials that are permeable, such as a mixture of crushed asphalt, granite and concrete.

The idea is similar to one adopted in 2000 by Santa Monica, which has since replaced 20,000 square feet of sidewalk using rubber made out of recycled car tires.

Rubber sidewalk panels, porous concrete and other materials already tested by the Bureau of Street Services would cost between $24 and $32 per square foot, according to the motion.

Sidewalk repairs using the traditional "Portland cement concrete" material cost $20 to $35 per square foot, with the majority of those costs generated from removing broken concrete and fixing driveways and sprinklers damaged during repairs, the motion said.

City officials estimated about 4,600 miles of sidewalks need repair.

In an effort to speed-up repairs and avoid costly liability claims, the council recently voted to waive hundreds of dollars of fees normally charged to property owners who want to pay for sidewalk repairs themselves.

The council is also weighing a $10 million sidewalk repair plan and developing programs to split repair costs between the city and property owners.


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