Watch video and interview here. An operator high atop a pneumatic asphalt paver was assisted by two "back men" (otherwise called a screed or back end operators) at the rear of the machine on a little platform slightly above street level and by a crew of about 10 holding rakes, "lutes"and shovels laying down new street "mat" in northwest Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill. One back man who has been with the streets department since 1997 explained how this new half a million dollar computer-enabled paver is much superior to the 1996 model he originally worked with. He can monitor the job on a 7 inch display as the paver lays down what appears to be a couple inch thick layer of hot steaming asphalt and smoothly seam in a new section to an existing one, in automatic or manual mode turning the levels. It's important to regulate the speed, depth of material and and create a proper crown proper sloping down to the curb edge for rainwater to drain off. And a good back man, he says, makes less work for the foot crew who finish off the leveling work.
Our immediate neighbors' leaf blower landscape man is our bane. I know when he and his crew has visited: our front side and back walk areas are much covered in grit and leaves. We live in very modest size twin houses on an urban street graced with large sycamore maple trees. We have very little land area and about 15 feet between non-adjoined houses. The landscaper makes heavy use of a gas powered leaf blower
At times we are unfortunate enough to be at home when he comes. The blower creates a roar from which he is protected by large ear muffs- but not us. On his last visit, I left the house and he was blasting away plant and soil specks more than an hour later when I returned. In addition to being gratingly loud, the blower stirs up a large amount of particulate dust which may contain mold, bird feces and what not, a definite health hazard, which is why some communities have banned them. See New York Times article. I wrote about the issue for WHYY Newsworks back in 2010; click here.
Clockwise from top left. Teens from Wordsworth Academy, a special needs school assist children in making recycled bottle planters. An activist with Sea Shepherd talks about the group's efforts to save endangered porpoises and whales. From the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ, a horseshoe crab. FEMA is ready to assist in disasters, this representative from the flood mitigation unit assures. Evergreen Lane farm sets up aquaponics systems.