Los Angeles Tests Heat-Beating Streets

Reflective pavement rolled out to combat rising temps. 

(AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

Some cities — Denver, San Francisco, Philadelphia — are turning to green roofs as a way to mitigate summer heat. Los Angeles is looking lower and darker — at light gray streets that cool the air around them.

The “cool pavement” is really a reflective, paint-like seal, and on Saturday, it was spread over Jordan Avenue in the West Fernando Valley. It’s part of a pilot program that “officials say could cut public road temperatures, cool the insides of nearby buildings, lessen air pollution and reduce the threat of deaths linked to increasingly hotter heat waves,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

The paper reports:

The experiment will soon be duplicated in 14 other council districts before the end of June. If successful, city officials hope to encourage manufacturers to help develop cool pavement that could be incorporated into a multimillion-dollar drive to fix a backlog of L.A.’s failing streets.

As Henry Grabar wrote for Next City in 2015, the 50 largest cities in the U.S. are nearly one degree warmer than their natural environs in a year-round average.

“At night, or at certain times of the year, that disparity grows: Las Vegas in the summer, for example, is on average more than seven degrees warmer than the surrounding desert,” he wrote. “A 2014 report from Climate Central on U.S. cities recorded an incredible maximum urban heat island differential of 27 degrees.”

In Los Angeles, average temperatures have risen 5 degrees (10 in summer) in the past 100 years thanks to the of the heat island effect, according to the Daily News.

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian

Follow Rachel .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Tags: los angelesclimate change

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 954 other sustainers such as:

  • Anonymous at $5/Month
  • ROHIT at $5/Month
  • ROHIT at $5/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Solutions of the year 2022

    Donate $20 or $5/Month

    2022-2023 Solutions of the Year magazine

  • Brave New Home

    Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind