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Porous Pave walkway project opens isolated area along Charles River
Jill Odom | November 21, 2016
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CRJA-IBI Group based in Boston, Massachusetts designed the Wellesley Office Park Walking Path.
Photo: Porous Pave

Porous Pave was found to be a sustainable option for the landscape architecture firm that designed the Wellesley Office Park Walking Path in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

The new path was constructed with the financial support of the John Hancock Real Estate Finance Group on land owned by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The path is in an ecologically sensitive area and runs adjacent to the Charles River. Because the path is only 50 to 75 feet from the river at certain points, sections are in flood zones and a durable material was needed to withstand periodic flooding.

“The Wetlands Protection Committee, the local conservation commission in Wellesley, had to approve plans for the path,” said Dan Driscoll, director of Recreation Facilities Planning and Design at the Department of Conservation and Recreation. “They required a pervious material that allows rainwater to drain through its surface to minimize runoff.”

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The walking path runs adjacent to the Charles River in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Photo: Porous Pave

By choosing Porous Pave XL, the designers could ensure that stormwater would drain instead of increasing runoff to the river. Porous Pave is made from 50 percent recycled rubber chips and 50 percent chipped aggregate.

“Scrap tires are shredded and processed into chips of recycled rubber that go into our product,” said Dave Ouwinga, president of 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.”

The paving material can handle freezes and is frost-heave resistant. It is durable enough to withstand being shoveled or plowed and the residual melted water can permeate to the soil below instead of freezing and forming an icy layer.

Land Escapes Design Studio, based in Belmont, Massachusetts, installed 2 inches of Porous Pave on a base of 6 inches of ¾-inch crushed gravel along the half-mile trail, totaling 20,000 square feet of permeable paving.

“If we want people to care about nature, they need opportunities and places to experience it,” said Trevor Smith, lead designer for Land Escapes Design Studio. “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.”

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