Downtown Silver Spring encompasses a heat island. Dark impervious surfaces such as streets, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, on-street parking, and parking lots are getting hotter each year due to climate change and extreme temperatures. In fact, Silver Spring’s high impervious surface ratio, low tree canopy cover, dark-colored street surfaces, and lack of shaded open spaces or shaded refuges further exacerbate the extreme heat urban environment.
The Cool Streets Guidelines include an analysis of different surface materials, textures, colors, and absorption rates. It also identifies various surface material options with the lowest radiating heat emissions rates and right-of-way design interventions, such as improved paving materials, landscape and vegetation, shading, solar orientation, and evaporative cooling.