Office workers at the Wellesley Office Park in Wellesley Massachusetts can now enjoy attractive outdoor areas with comfortable seating and get right out into nature as they stroll along the new 800-metre long Wellesley Office Park footpath.
To protect the ecologically sensitive area, the path was installed with 2,000 square metres of Porous Pave XL – an eco-friendly green building product made in the USA. Porous Pave is a highly porous, durable, and a flexible pour-in-place paving material, providing a comfortable and safe path through the woods without compacting the underlying soil, or increasing runoff to the river.
“The Wetlands Protection Committee, the local conservation commission in Wellesley, had to approve plans for the path,” says Dan Driscoll, director, Recreation Facilities Planning and Design, Department of Conservation and Recreation. “They required a pervious material that allows rainwater to drain through its surface to minimize runoff.”
“The path is only 15 to 23 metres from the river, and sections are in a flood zone,” says Horace Aikman, senior associate, CRJA-IBI Group, Boston, MA, the landscape architecture firm that designed the path. “In addition to permeability and walking surface comfort and safety, we needed a strong paving material that can hold up against periodic flooding.”
Porous Pave XL is made from 50% recycled rubber chips and 50% chipped granite aggregate. Storm water flows through Porous Pave at a tested rate of 22,000 to 24,000 litres per hour per square foot, leaving no puddles on the surface even during heavy rains. With its recycled rubber content, the material is freeze and frost-heave resistant for durability and provides significant traction. It is tough enough to be shovelled in winter for snow removal, and residual melted water permeates down into the material rather than freezing and forming ice on top.
“In July 2016, we installed two inches of Porous Pave on a base of 15cm of 2cm crushed gravel,” says Trevor Smith, lead designer, Land Escapes Design Studio, Belmont, MA, the landscape company that installed the path. “The brown colour selected for the project harmonizes the paved path with the natural landscape.”
“If we want people to care about nature, they need opportunities and places to experience it,” Smith says.
“The challenge is giving people access to natural areas with minimal disruption. The Wellesley Office Park Walking Path accomplishes that. It turned what had been a beautiful but isolated section of land along the Charles River into an accessible natural area with little or no effect on the area’s delicate hydrology.”
“Scrap tires are shredded and processed into chips of recycled rubber that go into our product,” says Dave Ouwinga, president, Porous Pave, Inc. “The Wellesley Office Park Walking Path is the biggest installation of Porous Pave to date in New England. The amount used for the half-mile long path includes rubber recovered from about 5,000 – 6,000 old tires. That is a bonus benefit for the environment.
Pictures courtesy Porous Pave Inc