This issue of sidewalks brings me to another point. While I am a huge advocate for sidewalks I also worry about the ever expanding asphalt and non permeable surfaces in our urban areas. As we live on the edge of Long Island Sound I think New Rochelle needs to be particularly aware about runoff, both the amount (there is a limit to what our storm drains can handle) and what is in it that ends up in our waterways. One option is to increase the amount of permeable paving on our streets and in our car parks. I spoke with someone at City Hall last year who said there has been some use of permeable paving but I don't know how many places it has been tried, where it is currently, or what the results have been. Wikipedia has a lot of useful information about options and lists managing runoff, pollutants control and better growing environments for trees as some of the advantages but is also quick to say that it is only one partial solution to a complex issue when it comes to run off and that no one knows for sure if trees really benefit. I am also unsure how costs compare between permeable and non permeable. Still, it is a start. And as William McDonough and Michael Braungart, creators of Cradle to Cradle put it - we need to start where we are and seek continuous improvement. For anyone unfamiliar with Cradle to Cradle principles I urge you to take a look. It breaks everything down into 'food' either biological or chemical. The aim is to be as abundant as nature while making sure that nothing is wasted, that everything is endlessly reused even as it changes form. I don't yet know if there is a permeable pavement that has Cradle to Cradle certification but if not, it is something for us to work toward. What I particularly like about Cradle to Cradle is it is not just about the environment. It is about a "triple top line" Equity, Ecology, Revenue Generation, and companies are finding that by using C2C design they are saving money while making products that are not just 'not bad' but are beneficial - adding value to the planet and to society.