A look at how Phoenix's 'Cool Pavement' program is doing to cool down heat islands

From a neighborhood in south Phoenix a year ago to another one in north Phoenix in 2020, the city’s "Cool Pavement" program is rolling along.

"We have close to 5,000 miles of city streets. Of those, about 4,000 of those miles are neighborhoods, so residential streets. Our cool pavement program is focused on those residential streets," says Kini Knudson, director of street transportation.

A special coating applied to asphalt reflects the sun's rays and absorbs less heat. The goal is to reduce the heat island effect in the city.

"When you have that urban heat island impact, the real impact of that is that the hard surfaces, your pavement surfaces, retain that heat and don't release it," Knudson said.

In the early afternoon of Sept. 7 in Phoenix, it's about its about 100 degrees.

The asphalt on a portion of non-residential 40th Street rang in at 149.5 degrees. On a residential road, just a few feet over that was treated with Cool Pavement, it rang in at 144.8 degrees.

"I haven't walked out there without shoes on, but I feel it has made a difference in the temperature," Teresa Belmonte, a neighbor, said.

The city expects 11 more neighborhoods to get the treatment next year.


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