LOS ANGELES — It’s barely 10 a.m. on an August day in Hollywood, and the heat is already becoming oppressive. The temperature’s only in the mid-80s, but in the direct sun it feels hotter—and it’s getting worse by the minute. Part of the reason is the ground. The black asphalt of this side street off Sunset Boulevard is sucking up the sun and radiating its heat back out. An infrared thermometer shows the surface temperature to be 112 degrees. By mid-day, it’ll rise above 150.
That’s why a crew of workmen are out here, giant squeegees in hand, spreading a thin coat of liquid over the asphalt. It’s an oil-based sealant, the kind that prevents roads from cracking and potholes from forming. But unlike most street sealants, this one has been specially formulated with a light colored pigment, and within 20 minutes the crew has effectively turned the street from black to white. With the first coat barely dry, the surface temperature’s already dropped nearly 15 degrees...Read More