When office workers at the Wellesley Office Park on Williams Street in Wellesley, Mass. want to get outside, they can enjoy attractive outdoor areas with comfortable seating. Now they can also get right out into nature and take in views of the Charles River as they stroll along the new half-mile long Wellesley Office Park Walking Path. 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 accessible to the public as well. To protect the ecologically sensitive area, the path was installed with 20,000 square feet of Porous Pave XL. An eco-friendly green building product made in the U.S.A., Porous Pave is a highly porous, durable and flexible pour-in-place paving material. It provides a comfortable and safe path through the woods without compacting the underlying soil or increasing runoff to the river.
“The Wetlands Protection Committee, the local conservation commission in Wellesley, had to approve plans for the path,” said Dan Driscoll, director, Recreation Facilities Planning and Design, Department of Conservation and Recreation. “They required a pervious material that allows rainwater to drain through its surface to minimize runoff.”
“The path is only 50-75 feet from the river, and sections are in a flood zone,” said Horace Aikman, senior associate, CRJA-IBI Group (Boston), the landscape architecture firm that designed the path. “In addition to permeability and walking surface comfort and safety, we needed a strong paving material that can hold up against periodic flooding.”
Porous Pave XL is made from 50 percent recycled rubber chips and 50 percent chipped granite aggregate. Stormwater flows through Porous Pave at a tested rate of 5,800 – 6,300 gallons per hour per square foot, leaving no puddles on the surface even during heavy rains. With its recycled rubber content, the material is freeze and frost-heave resistant for durability and provides significant traction. It is tough enough to be shoveled or plowed in winter. After snow removal, residual melted water permeates down into the material rather than freezing and forming ice on top.
“In July 2016, we installed two inches of Porous Pave on a base of six inches of ¾-inch crushed gravel,” said Trevor Smith, lead designer, Land Escapes Design Studio (Belmont, Mass.), the landscape company that installed the path. “The brown color selected for the project harmonizes the paved path with the natural landscape.”
“If we want people to care about nature, they need opportunities and places to experience it,” said Smith. “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.”
“Scrap tires are shredded and processed into chips of recycled rubber that go into our product,” said Dave Ouwinga, president, 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.”