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Guided tours: Eco-friendly driveway and parking lot

Original post made by Katie Pilat, another community, on Mar 14, 2007

Want to make your driveway or parking areas more eco-friendly? Join the San Francisquito Watershed Council for a free guided tour of two demonstration sites that might give you some ideas! Runoff from driveways, parking lots, and streets causes pollution and erosion in local creeks. These sites showcase permeable materials and techniques that direct rainfall to areas where it can soak into the ground. More info at Web Link.

Sat March 24 (10am – 12noon) OR
Sun March 25 (1 – 3pm)

LOCATION: Meet at 735 Homer Avenue, Palo Alto

Tour covers two sites – (1) 735 Homer, Palo Alto, and (2) public parking lot, between Santa Cruz and Menlo Ave at Crane St, Menlo Park. Transportation required between sites (2.5 miles).

RSVP: Katie Pilat 650-961-1035 x305,

Presented by: San Francisquito Watershed Council

Comments (2)

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Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2007 at 9:23 pm

Hmmmm... an eco-friendly parking lot sounds like an oxymoron to me. Cars drip oil and shed nasty particles from their brake linings. An "eco-friendly parking lot' is like a "lung-friendly coal mine". The only way to make a parking lot eco-friendly is to eliminate the cars, in which case it is no longer a parking lot.

Like this comment
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!


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