04/15/2013 02:57 pm ET

Smog-Eating Cement In Chicago Used For Industrial Corridor Dubbed 'Greenest Street In America'

As warm-weather cyclists ready their bikes and the city moves forward with its bike-sharing program, Chicago is continuing to live up to its reputation as one of the nation's greenest cities.

Earlier this month, city officials reprised their claim that the Windy City is home to "Greenest Street In America," thanks to innovative urban planning and special smog-eating cement, according to

The bike lane and sidewalks along the industrial corridor in Pilsen have smog-eating pavement, wind and solar-powered streetlights, sidewalks made with recycled concrete and shrub-filled "bioswales" that keep storm water from overtaxing the city's poor drainage system, according to the American Solar Energy Society.

"Sustainability is critical for us," said Karen Weigert, chief sustainability officer for the city of Chicago according to "We think of it as a part of quality of life, about economic opportunity in terms of what kinds of jobs we attract and about stewardship of tax dollars."

According to Architecture News Daily, Chicago is pioneering the use of photocatalytic cement with the hope it will curb common air pollutants by 20 to 70 percent. The particular stretch of Cermak is a common truck route and passes by an inactive coal plant.

The city previously maintained to GRID Chicago that the Windy City is the first in the nation to use the smog-fighting technology.

City officials are continuing other greening efforts around Chicago in several of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's previously-announced "opportunity areas" as well as an expansion of the city's recycling program.

The stretch of Cermak Road in Pilsen between Halsted and Ashland (which also intersects with Blue Island) was first touted as the "greenest" street back in October when the city celebrated the completion of the first 1.5 miles of work of its $14 million sustainable streetscaping project, the Sun-Times reports.


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