Segmental Concrete Pavement for Multiple Benefits

Curated by David R. Smith

David R. Smith is the Technical Director of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI), a trade association for the segmental paving industry, which includes concrete pavers, permeable pavers, and paving slabs. While paved areas play an essential role in transportation, they often have low or even damaging environmental and social performance. Here, David highlights exemplary projects where segmental concrete pavement is part of a human landscape system that provides environmental, social and economic benefits. When appropriately designed, constructed and maintained, segmental paving can create vibrant social spaces, manage stormwater, mitigate the urban heat island effect, increase safety, and save on capital and maintenance costs.

  1. Case Study Brief

    Canal Park-After

    Canal Park

    Washington, District of Columbia

    “The park used 60,000 sf of concrete pavers instead of poured concrete. While the initial materials cost of concrete pavers was slightly lower than the cost of poured concrete, the future maintenance costs of pavers will be at least half that of repairing/replacing concrete due to damage or underground utility repairs.”
  2. Case Study Brief


    Charles City Permeable Streetscape Phase 1

    Charles City, Iowa

    “Now with some 27 blocks of permeable pavement, this solution wasn’t initially part of the City's plan to replace aging water, storm and sanitary sewer infrastructure in this 80+ year-old neighborhood. Fortunately, the neighborhood soils had a high infiltration rate thereby enabling permeable pavement for the streets, which eliminated the need to upsize the storm sewers. Besides saving almost $400,000 compared to monolithic pervious pavement, the slightly narrower, permeable interlocking concrete paver roads preserved 192 street trees.”
  3. Case Study Brief

    Park US 50-After

    Park Avenue/US 50, Phase 1 Redevelopment

    South Lake Tahoe, California

    “The sidewalks in front of retail shops use heated interlocking concrete pavement to increase pedestrian safety and to decrease liability and deicer use. Besides reducing the amount of damaging deicers that run off into Lake Tahoe, the unit paving system helps facilitate faster maintenance and repairs, which reduces business interruptions.”
  4. Case Study Brief


    Ravinia Festival South Parking Lot

    Highland Park, Illinois

    “Persistent local flooding that reduced parking and regularly flooded neighbors’ basements was eliminated with permeable interlocking concrete pavement and underground storage/infiltration chambers. The hydrologic performance has been exceptional, proven by 8 inches of rain over two days with no standing water. By managing the stormwater under the parking lot itself, the design avoided $1.8 million in land acquisition costs for surface detention ponds.”
  5. Case Study Brief


    Erie Street Plaza

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    “Renovation of this derelict land included removal of 13,000 sf of existing asphalt, which was replaced with plantings and lighter colored concrete pavers. This reduced surface temperatures on the hottest days by an estimated 5°F.”
  6. Case Study Brief


    The Morton Arboretum: Meadow Lake and Permeable Main Parking Lot

    Lisle, Illinois

    “Besides preserving and enhancing adjacent Meadow Lake, this flagship permeable pavement project transformed designer perceptions. Prior to construction, the prevailing view of landscape architects, civil engineers and municipalities was that frozen permeable pavement would heave and break its surface in the winter. The Morton entry and 500-car parking lot remained unmoved for three winters, dispelling fears of heaving winter and early spring damage. By 2010, the City of Chicago, several Chicagoland municipalities and institutions successfully built millions of square feet of permeable pavement projects in parking lots, green alleys and streets.”
  7. Case Study Brief

    Malibu Lumber Yard

    Malibu Lumber Yard

    Malibu, California

    “This 2.7-acre shopping and artist center sets the environmental performance example for larger strip and regional shopping malls often notorious for excessive runoff, urban heat islands, and minimal landscape design. With 70% of the asphalt replaced with permeable interlocking concrete pavement, the surfaces create cooler temperatures while reducing runoff. With creative landscape design, the center attracts higher rents than adjacent retail leases.”
  8. Case Study Brief

    Ann Arbor-After

    Ann Arbor Municipal Center

    Ann Arbor, Michigan

    “With 87% less runoff than before the renovation, this ~2 acre site uses permeable interlocking concrete pavements to manage stormwater, setting an example for private development. A 24% lower 30-year life-cycle cost was estimated for the permeable segmental paving compared to conventional impervious concrete pavement.”
  9. Case Study Brief


    Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Patient Tower

    Park Ridge, Illinois

    “With a building expansion came the opportunity to create stormwater gardens and healing gardens for patients, visitors and staff. These therapeutic places incorporate permeable interlocking concrete pavements that store 90% of rainfall events on site. The rooftop-to-surface-to-subgrade-storage design provides multiple paths for managing stormwater.”
  10. Case Study Brief


    Port of Los Angeles Wilmington Waterfront Park

    Wilmington, California

    “This huge linear park incorporates approximately 23,000 sf of concrete pavers and planks along a pedestrian promenade. It also includes a 500 sf vertical test panel coated with titanium dioxide, a surfacing that can remove nitrous oxide, an ingredient in photochemical smog. Originally developed in Italy, this material has been applied to concrete pavers placed in dense, European cities and in Mary Bartleme Park in Chicago. We hope to see this material tried on concrete pavers in this Los Angeles community landmark in the near future.”

Stormwater management, Temperature & urban heat island, Operations & maintenance savings, High-albedo materials, Permeable paving

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