City pushes forward with cool pavement pilot program as summer in San Antonio heats up

The city finished paving parts of 12 streets with this treatment, has plans to expand the program if data comes back positive

SAN ANTONIO – Casey Holton has had to change the way he does business.

“Between 11 a.m. and 8 to 8:30 p.m. at night is literally a siesta for me as far as dog walks,” Holton said.

Holton runs Bark Dog Walking Services. He’s lived in Texas and walked dogs here for about 15 years, and he said this summer is especially hot.

“It’s very dangerous,” Holton said. “If there’s any hotter weather, we have to cut it short.”

Friday marks the 14th consecutive day with temperatures in the triple digits across San Antonio. The city is working to bring down the temperature of some streets with cool pavement.

Just last week, crews finished paving the 12 streets selected to test this treatment through the city’s new Cool Pavement Pilot Program.

“If it can cool down the neighborhood by a couple of degrees, it’s really helpful,” said Murray Myers, a San Antonio senior sustainability manager.

Cool pavement is a water-based asphalt treatment that can reflect some solar radiation, reducing potential spikes in temperature. Myers said the goal is to reduce asphalt temperatures with this treatment by 10 to 15 degrees. He said that based on current data collected by UTSA, he’s seen a decrease of around seven to 10 degrees.

As for costs, Myers said this cool pavement costs around 35% more than black asphalt, but he also said it lasts longer.

“Cool pavement is one arrow in the quiver of heat mitigation tools,” Myers said. “If these results end up being positive, what we’ll do is we’ll look at cool pavement in these most vulnerable census tracks or neighborhoods, and we’ll add cool pavement trees and cool pavement roofs to see if we can cool down neighborhoods.”

With these 12 streets paved, Myers said UTSA will continue to collect data on this treatment and then present that information in December for the city to decide the next steps.

About the Author:

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!