City asking Phoenix neighborhood for feedback following cracked ‘cool pavement’

The ‘Cool Pavement Program’ coating is meant to cool off the roads so there’s less of a “heat bubble” over the city when our temperatures surge in the summer.
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 4:22 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2023 at 5:20 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Phoenix neighborhood is going back and forth with the City of Phoenix after attempts to cool down their streets in the summer created a pretty big mess instead. The ‘Cool Pavement Program’ coating is meant to cool off the roads so there’s less of a “heat bubble” over the city when our temperatures surge in the summer.

“It was like an ooey gooey syrup,” said Peter Deise, following heavy rain in December. Arizona’s Family first came out to the neighborhood near 15th Avenue and McDowell Road in December after neighbors complained about the coating flaking and chipping away. Then, in February, the city had a power washing truck remove the existing layers.

They’re now turning to neighbors to determine if they’ll repave the road with asphalt or try the cool pavement coating for a third time. But people who live in the area have mixed feelings about how to move forward. “When it’s summer, they’re old houses; not all of them have insulation like the new ones built. Anything that helps with the heat control that would be the best for all of us,” said Ezgi Janicek, who lives in the neighborhood.

Megan Brooks also lives nearby but has a differing opinion. “The idea is there, we definitely need a solution to protect us from the summer heat, but that is not the solution,” she said.

During the summer last year, the city applied a seal coat treatment that didn’t stick to the road, so they say they added another coating on top of it. “The first coating was not good; it was very, very white and glary. And the city I guess decided to tone that down a bit with a second coat,” said David Wadsworth after the heavy rain last year.

A city spokesperson says the mixture of those two products and the rain caused both layers to chip away. “It was just like clay in the street, the color of clay running everywhere. It was a mess,” said Brooks, describing the roads last year.

On Wednesday, the city held a meeting with neighbors to discuss their options, going back to the traditional asphalt or trying the water-based, non-toxic product for a third time. “I think having this pavement on it is a positive step toward trying to prevent the worst of the heat,” said Deanna Ross, who lives in the area.

Matthew Riley, another neighbor, says he’d also be willing to try the treatment again. “Personally I liked the look of the gray covering, and yeah if it does cool off the neighborhood that would be fantastic,” he said.

The city’s website says the ‘Cool Pavement Program’ began in 2020, with 17 other neighborhoods receiving this type of treatment. So far, the city says no other locations have experienced this issue. They are now accepting feedback until March 3. You can find information on the program and the survey itself here. To see a map of the cool pavement projects, click/tap here.