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Percy Street goes porous | South Philly Review

joint initiative between two City departments chose a Bella Vista block as the first of many potential permeable streets.

By Joseph Myers| Posted May. 18, 2011

Mayor Michael A. Nutter applies water to the newfangled block. The space

is playing a huge role in making Philadelphia America's greenest city.

Photo by Greg Bezanis

Summer has many water-related constants, among them Italian ice, swimming pools and thunderstorms. Keen on keeping residents’ attention on enjoying the first two and not dreading the third, the City’s Streets and Water departments took an early measure May 10. They unveiled the 800 block of Percy Street as the first porous green block, a title that will rely on unique asphalt to check stormwater runoff and to curtail basement flooding.

The tiny street’s occupants hosted City officials for their space’s coronation as a chief element of the Water Department’s Green Cities, Clean Waters initiative. With water balloons and containers nearby, they listened as their guests explained how the objects’ contents and any offering from the clouds will not hinder their stretch.

“Wow, what a block!” Mayor Michael A. Nutter said as he stood behind a podium in the middle of the street. “Percy Street neighbors, we destroyed your spot. The least we could do is to make something creative out of it.”

The ingenuity beneath his feet will exclude the inhabitants from having to worry when Mother Nature weeps. As a result of extensive work from January through April — at a cost of $330,000 — their block contains eight inches of porous asphalt, a material

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