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Chicago Department of Transportation

Winner in: 2007

CDOT’s Green Alley Program is reinventing the Chicago alley. Created with a porous, light-reflecting surface that requires far less maintenance (including snow removal) than existing alley pavements, these new alleys allow water to drain into the ground instead of into the sewer system and can be made with recycled materials like tire rubber. In fact, a standard Green Alley uses over 600 recycled tires. This Green Alley Program’s new and sustainable solution to the problems of impermeable urban terrain has attracted the interest of paving companies and municipalities both locally and nationally. This methodology has spread to at least 12 or 13 other cities including municipalities in Michigan, British Columbia, and Virginia. Sister agencies are following suit, and Chicago has a storm water ordinance encouraging similar storm water best management practices in both public and private developments.