Posted by Katie, a resident of another community, on Mar 19, 2007 at 11:33 am
Thanks for your comment, Richard – and we agree that the idea of an “eco-friendly parking lot” does seem like an oxymoron!
Unfortunately, it’s true that this project can’t stop cars from dripping oil and shedding brake lining. Given the amount of water pollution caused by cars, we wish we were in a position to solve that problem, too.
However, the new parking lot does change the ultimate destination of oil, metals and other pollutants from the parked cars. In a regular asphalt parking lot, rain washes pollutants off the surface and into stormdrains that empty into a local creek and eventually into the Bay. In this parking lot, runoff and the pollutants it carries go into either the permeable concrete or to the landscaped strips. Some pollutants are broken down by microbes in the soil and the rest bond to the concrete, crushed rock base, or top few inches of soil under the base.
In collaborating on this project with the City of Menlo Park, we all saw an opportunity to reduce negative impacts of existing infrastructure: the parking lot needed to be resurfaced, and this was a chance to do it in a more environmentally friendly way.
I hope you’ll be able to join us for one of the tours, and please feel free to call or email me if you have any other questions about the project!