Six miles of city streets in Peoplestown, Mechanicsville and Summerhill are being torn torn up and replaced with red brick roads. No, Atlanta is not aspiring to mimic the cobblestoned streets of Europe or to fashion some faux historic district. Nor is anyone filming a Wizard of Oz sequel near Turner Field. The real reason for the $15.8 million project is flood control.
After the area experienced severe flooding in 2012 and lesser floods involving both rainwater and raw sewage every time Atlanta gets significant rainfall, the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management devised a plan. Part of that plan is controversial and involves forcing long-time residents to move from their homes so that a retention pond can be built.
The other part involves converting streets to permeable paving — a technique involving loosely spaced bricks over a layer of filtration rocks that has been used since the Roman Empire. According to a report from WABE, cities such as Portland, L.A., Chicago and Philadelphia have embraced the practice but Atlanta's project, which should wrap up by next summer, is the largest in North America. About a mile of the permeable pavement has been installed with five miles to go. WABE also featured video of the new surface in action after recent rain. It was less impressive than one would hope for nearly $16 million.
· Atlanta Is Home To Largest Permeable Pavers Project in US [WABE]
· Permeable Pavers FAQ [AtlantaWatershed.org]