Sadly, 36 percent of workers suffer from work-related stress, causing U.S. businesses $30 billion a year in lost workdays, the Harvard Gazette reports. But just one small change in a worker’s day could help combat this, since even small bursts of physical activity can help improve mood, produce energy and calmer feelings and lower symptoms of anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic.
So there’s no doubt the office workers at the Wellesley Office Park on Williams Street in Wellesley, Massachusetts, will benefit from strolling on a new half-mile path along the Charles River. Constructed on Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation land with support from the John Hancock Real Estate Finance Group, the path was installed with 20,000 square feet of Porous Pave XL, an eco-friendly green building product made in the U.S. The ecologically sensitive area called for the highly porous and flexible pour-in-place paving material so as not to compact the underlying soil or increase runoff to the river.
“The Wetlands Protection Committee, the local conservation commission in Wellesley, had to approve plans for the path,” says Dan Driscoll, director of recreation facilities planning and design with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. “They required a pervious material that allows rainwater to drain through its surface to minimize runoff.”
Because the path is only 50 to 75 feet from the river, and sections are in a flood zone, the permeability of Porous Pave XL — made from 50 percent recycled rubber chips and 50 percent chipped granite aggregate — was needed. “In addition to permeability and walking surface comfort and safety, we needed a strong paving material that can hold up against periodic flooding,” says Horace Aikman, senior associate of CRJA-IBI Group, the Boston landscape architecture firm that designed the path.
“If we want people to care about nature, they need opportunities and places to experience it,” says Trevor Smith, lead designer with Land Escapes Design Studio of Belmont, Massachusetts, the landscape company that installed the path. “The challenge is giving people access to natural areas with minimal disruption.
“It turned what had been a beautiful but isolated section of land along the Charles River into an accessible natural area with little or no effect on the area’s delicate hydrology.”