Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rubber Sidewalks Anyone?


Tires help urban sidewalks bounce back
Rubber panels withstand tree roots, weather better than concrete

-- 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 United States, 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 a compromise between having a beautiful and healthy tree and having a safe and passable sidewalk."

Rubbersidewalks Inc. of Gardena, California, manufactures the small 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 less than 11 pounds a 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 at least seven years, Smith said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Whayyda say gang? Rubber sidewalks cost more but last longer and need fewer repairs. Should future sidewalks in Encinitas be rubberized?


  1. Rubber sidewalks last 7 years and cost more than cement? The nation, and especially California, have a glut of used tires. They can't be put in landfills. The tires mounds catch on fire releasing toxic chemicals.

    Good cement sidewalks will outlast rubber by 30 years.

    Watch out. Box cereals are next for crumb rubber addition.

  2. Rubber sidewalks in areas where the trees are causing problems, like by Potato Shack, might be good.

    I don't get anonymous' last paragraph!

  3. The article refers to sidewalks on the east coast that take a beating when snow and ice is scrapped off. Maybe rubber sidewalks are a good way to use our old tires. I like to make my old tires into sandals.

  4. So they cost three times as much as concrete and only last one fifth the lifetime, but at least they weigh less than 11 pounds a square foot, or a quarter of the weight of concrete.
    I've been very concerned about all the weight we place on our dear planet and am glad there's at least SOME lighter weight for earth to carry!

  5. The price of rubberized sidewalks may currently be higher than concrete, but that may not always be true. Special asphalt to reduce road noise used to be priced at a premium above standard asphalt. During this year's Council budget session, the City Engineering Department reported that the sound absorbing asphalt, which is made by adding ground tires to the mix, is now cheaper than standard asphalt. It would be reasonable that a similar price inversion might happen IF rubberized sidewalks catch on.

    This, of course, does not address any difference in durability or lifetime.

  6. This rubber would be perfect for Leucadia and 101 since these environmental friendly rubbers are NOT made from petroleum byproducts which will NOT flow to our oceans and will NOT increase the temperature of our environment from the Sun's heat absorbtion. And to top it off it is an east coast idea perfect for all those new folks coming here from Jersey and the like where all tires are made. Then we can use the steel belting to create artificial street trees.

  7. I read in the Coast News that the Del Mar racetrack is switching to a synthetic soil made out of ground up rubber tires. It's supposed to be easier on the horsies.

  8. I suppose these rubber sidewalks have a little bounce to them, that will help with any head trauma I might experience when I fall from being so drunk!!!

  9. ...and yer crack pipe won't break, either.

  10. My skateboard will hate them. Rubber is made for contraception, not sidewalks.

  11. Dear weightlessssss.........

    Explain why the sidewalks weigh more than the concrete, rock and sand after it has been placed in Leucadia? Are you really that stupid or is your brain just weightless?

  12. Dear "Anonymous" if that's who you really are. I see your hater comments all over this blog. You don't love mother earth, and you don't love Leucadia. Who are you really, James Bond or Lawnmower man or something?
    By the way, my name is "weghtloss, not weightless you moron! You can't even get that right and you could've copied! Is this why you flunked 7th grade english? Failure to copy accurately? Who's weightless now oh stupid one!
    Go back to Aviara and leave us alone.

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  15. Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.


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