In an effort to clean up its city streets, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has set out to create the “greenest street in America” and short of closing off the road all together and turning it into a park, they seem to have done just that.
Officials from the deparment have completely transformed a two-mile stretch of Cermak Road and Blue Island Avenue in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood, an industrial section of the city that is frequented by trucks passing through.
To start, the street’s pavement has been replaced with a new variety that actually cleans the surface of the road while removing pollution from the surrounding air. Photocatalytic cement removes nitrogen oxide gases from the air through a catalytic reaction driven by UV light, according to CDOT. In addition, a slew of recycled materials were blended into both the street and sidewalk's pavement.
Bioswales, rain gardens, and permeable pavements were also incorporated into the street's design to filter storm water in order to relieve Chicago’s sewer system and keep polluted water out of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The city’s officials estimate that the system will divert 80 percent of the average annual rainfall from the sewers.