City Green: Innovative Green Infrastructure Solutions For .

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EPA 230R16001May 2016www.epa.gov/smartgrowthCITY GREEN: INNOVATIVE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURESOLUTIONS FOR DOWNTOWNS AND INFILL LOCATIONS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThis report was prepared with the assistance of Horsley-Witten Group.EPA Project Leads: Lisa Hair, Office of Water, and Melissa Kramer, Office of Sustainable CommunitiesIf you have questions about this publication, please contact:Melissa KramerOffice of Sustainable CommunitiesU.S. Environmental Protection Agency1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (MC 1807T)Washington, DC 20460Tel [email protected]:Lynn Desautels, Chitra Kumar, and Megan Susman – EPA Office of Sustainable CommunitiesKatelyn Amraen, Leah Germer (ORISE Fellow), and Jamie Piziali – EPA Office of WaterTrish Garrigan and Rosemary Monahan – EPA Region 1Rabi Kieber and Maureen Krudner – EPA Region 2Dominique Lueckenhoff – EPA Region 3Anne Keller and Christine McKay – EPA Region 4Robert Newport – EPA Region 5Suzanna Perea – EPA Region 6David Doyle – EPA Region 7Stacey Eriksen – EPA Region 8Carolyn Mulvihill and Luisa Valiela – EPA Region 9Jeremy Chadwick, Alan Fody, and Jessica Noon – Philadelphia Water DepartmentGeorge Grinton – City of Aiken, South Carolina, Engineering and Utilities DepartmentDavid Misky – Redevelopment Authority of the City of MilwaukeeMercy Davison – Town of Normal, IllinoisMark Doneux and Anna Eleria – Capitol Region Watershed District (Minnesota)David Pike – City of Santa Fe Public Works DepartmentKen MacKenzie – Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (Denver, Colorado)Tracy Tackett – Seattle Public UtilitiesCover photo credits (top to bottom, left to right): Joe Mabel via Wikipedia Commons, Wenk Associates,La Citta Vita via flickr.com, Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects/Scott Shigley.Regional context map credits (on the first page of each case study): National Geographic, Esri,DeLorme, HERE, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, increment P Corp.Content may not reflect National Geographic's current map policy

TABLE OF CONTENTSExecutive Summary . iI.Introduction . 1II.Waltham Watch Factory . 8III.Queens Botanical Garden . 14IV.Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School . 19V.The Radian Complex . 25VI.Sand River Headwaters Green Infrastructure Project . 30VII. Menomonee Valley Industrial Center . 34VIII. Uptown Normal Circle . 40IX.The Metro Green Line . 45X.Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza . 50XI.Stapleton Greenway Park . 55XII. Mint Plaza . 60XIII.Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel . 66

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Communities of all sizes and in all climates areusing green infrastructure to manage stormwaterwhere it falls using the natural processesassociated with soils and vegetation to capture,slow down, and filter runoff, often allowing it torecharge ground water. Green infrastructuremanages stormwater to control flooding fromsmall storms and improve water quality andoffers a wide range of other environmental,economic, public health, and social benefits. This publication is for local governments, privatedevelopers, and other stakeholders who helpshape redevelopment projects in downtowns andinfill locations where development has alreadyoccurred. It provides inspiration and helpsidentify successful strategies and lessons learnedfor overcoming common barriers to using greeninfrastructure in these contexts. The examplescould encourage cities to adopt policies thatwould expand the number of projectsincorporating similar green infrastructureapproaches.Though green infrastructure can be morechallenging to implement in redevelopmentprojects compared to projects in undevelopedareas, the barriers are usually surmountable.These case studies help counter real andperceived obstacles to using green infrastructurein downtowns and infill locations by providingsuccessful examples showing that: Twelve case studies showcase projects fromaround the country that have overcome manycommon challenges to green infrastructure atsites surrounded by existing development andinfrastructure. In these cases, space is at apremium, and soil conditions are often unknownor unsuitable for infiltration. The case studieshelp identify successful strategies and lessonslearned for overcoming common problems. Thecase studies are: The Sand River Headwaters GreenInfrastructure Project, Aiken, South Carolina.The Menomonee Valley Industrial Center,Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The Uptown Normal Circle, Normal, Illinois.The Metro Green Line, St. Paul, Minnesota.Stapleton Greenway Park, Denver, Colorado.Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza, Santa Fe,New Mexico.Mint Plaza, San Francisco, California.Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel,Seattle, Washington. The Waltham Watch Factory, Waltham,Massachusetts.Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing, NewYork.The Kensington Creative and Performing ArtsHigh School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Radian Complex, Philadelphia,Pennsylvania. iCareful site planning and selection ofpractices allow green infrastructure to workon contaminated sites and sites with poorsoils.Historic properties can incorporate contextsensitive green infrastructure compatiblewith the historic fabric.Green infrastructure fits into highly spaceconstrained sites.Municipalities are removing regulatoryobstacles to allow green infrastructureprojects.Green infrastructure can provide effectivestormwater management in arid climates andareas where water rights are a concern.Green infrastructure can be a cost-effectiveapproach to stormwater management andcan help drive economic development.Long-term maintenance can be addressed bythoughtful upfront planning and innovativeapproaches.

I. INTRODUCTIONCommunities of all sizes and in all climates areusing green infrastructure to managestormwater where it falls. Techniques such aspermeable pavement, bioswales, rain gardens,and green roofs use the natural processesassociated with soils and vegetation to capture,slow down, and filter runoff, often allowing itto recharge ground water. 1 Other techniqueslike rain barrels and cisterns collect and storewater for future use. 2 Green infrastructuremanages stormwater to control flooding fromsmall storms and improve water quality. It alsooffers a wide range of other environmental,economic, public health, and social benefits(Exhibit 1). As developers and localgovernments recognize the multiple benefits ofsite-scale green infrastructure, they areincreasingly incorporating it intoredevelopment projects in downtowns and infilllocations.Exhibit 1. Potential benefits of greeninfrastructureGreen infrastructure can make the most oflimited funds by producing multiple benefitswith a single investment. These benefitsinclude: This publication is for local governments,private developers, and other stakeholders whohelp shape redevelopment projects indowntowns and infill locations. Twelve casestudies showcase projects from around thecountry that have overcome many commonchallenges to green infrastructure at sitessurrounded by existing development andinfrastructure. In these cases, space is at apremium, and soil conditions are oftenunknown or unsuitable for infiltration. The casestudies help identify successful strategies andlessons learned for overcoming commonproblems. In addition, by documenting themultiple benefits of green infrastructure,particularly in the redevelopment context,these case studies provide inspiration for localgovernments and private developers who wantto use green infrastructure strategies. The casestudies could encourage cities to adopt policiesthat would expand the number of projects Improved water quality.Reduced municipal water use.Ground water recharge.Flood risk mitigation for small storms.Increased resilience to climate changeimpacts such as heavier rainfalls andhotter temperatures.Reduced ground-level ozone.Reduced particulate pollution.Reduced air temperatures in developedareas.Reduced energy use and associatedgreenhouse gas emissions.Increased or improved wildlife habitat.Improved public health from reduced airpollution and increased physical activity.Increased recreation space.Improved community aesthetics.Cost savings.Green jobs.Increased property values.For more information about achieving multiplebenefits from green infrastructure, see: EPA.Enhancing Sustainable Communities with GreenInfrastructure. 2014. ble-communities-greeninfrastructure.incorporating similar green infrastructureapproaches. The case studies are: 12For a complete description of different greeninfrastructure approaches, see: EPA. “What is GreenInfrastructure?” n-infrastructure. Accessed Apr. 12, 2016.The Waltham Watch Factory, Waltham,Massachusetts.Green infrastructure also encompasses larger-scalemanagement strategies, including preserving or restoringflood plains, open space, wetlands, and forests. However,this document focuses on site-scale practices.1

Exhibit 2. Locations of profiled projects. infrastructure in downtowns and infill locationsby providing successful examples showing that:Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing, NewYork.The Kensington Creative and PerformingArts High School, Philadelphia,Pennsylvania.The Radian Complex, Philadelphia,Pennsylvania.The Sand River Headwaters GreenInfrastructure Project, Aiken, SouthCarolina.The Menomonee Valley Industrial Center,Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The Uptown Normal Circle, Normal, Illinois.The Metro Green Line, St. Paul, Minnesota.Stapleton Greenway Park, Denver,Colorado.Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza, Santa Fe,New Mexico.Mint Plaza, San Francisco, California.Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel,Seattle, Washington. Although green infrastructure can be morechallenging to implement in redevelopmentprojects compared to projects in undevelopedareas, the barriers are usually surmountable.These case studies help counter real andperceived obstacles to using green 2Careful site planning and selection ofpractices allow green infrastructure towork on contaminated sites and sites withpoor soils.Historic properties can incorporatecontext-sensitive green infrastructurecompatible with the historic fabric.Green infrastructure works in highly spaceconstrained sites and can even be a betterchoice than conventional stormwatermanagement approaches.Municipalities are removing regulatoryobstacles to allow green infrastructureprojects.Green infrastructure can provide effectivestormwater management in arid climatesand areas where water rights are aconcern.Green infrastructure can be a costeffective approach to stormwatermanagement and can help drive economicdevelopment.Long-term maintenance can be addressedby thoughtful upfront planning andinnovative approaches.

A.CAREFUL SITE PLANNING AND SELECTION OF PRACTICESALLOW GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE TO WORK ONCONTAMINATED SITES AND SITES WITH POOR SOILStechniques that posed no contamination risk,such as underground storage for stormwater anda green roof. Together, these approachesallowed the site to reduce runoff and pollutionentering the combined sewer system.In many infill locations, developers suspect thatsoils might be unsuitable for infiltration or thatpast industrial and commercial activity haspolluted the soil and water. However, with early,careful planning to reduce the potential ofcontaminating ground water with suspectedpollutants, green infrastructure can help thesesites become attractive assets to the community.Often testing reveals either no or only partialcontamination of a site, and site planners can layout the development to ensure that greeninfrastructure practices will not mobilizecontaminants. Designers can also select practicesthat function without infiltrating stormwater intothe soil, including green roofs and cisterns. Inaddition, they can cover contaminated soil withan impervious barrier topped with clean soil andvegetation that filter and evapotranspirestormwater before it reaches an underdrain(located above the barrier) that is connected tothe stormwater system.Developers of Mint Plaza in downtown SanFrancisco learned that the infiltrative capacity ofthe native soils was much greater thananticipated. The site was designed to manage a5-year storm event on-site, but actualperformance has approached the 25-year stormevent, 3 showing that even older, densedowntown locations can be good candidates forgreen infrastructure and that soil testing early inthe design phase can help developers plan greeninfrastructure that works with the existingconditions.Designers of the Waltham Watch Factoryredevelopment project also faced a sitecontaminated by past uses. To deal with thischallenge, they lined the rain gardens in theinterior courtyards with an impermeablegeomembrane. The gardens filter runoff fromthe surrounding roofs and courtyard pavingwithout posing any threat of mobilizingcontaminants in the underlying soil.Construction of the Kensington Creative andPerforming Arts High School in Philadelphiaoccurred on a site contaminated by formerindustrial uses. Designers incorporated greeninfrastructure by avoiding areas wherecontaminants might be mobilized, maximizinginfiltration in suitable areas, and usingB.HISTORIC PROPERTIES CAN INCORPORATE CONTEXTSENSITIVE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE COMPATIBLE WITHTHE HISTORIC FABRICIn many historic neighborhoods, on-sitemanagement of stormwater was once morecommon than it is today. Semi-permeablegravel or brick pavers, cisterns, open streams,and gardens were a part of the historic fabric.Context-appropriate incorporation of greeninfrastructure can thus be compatible withhistoric properties and can even enhance anarea’s historic character. In the process ofhelping to restore degraded waterways, greeninfrastructure can also enhance the historiccharacter of buildings and neighborhoods,3A “25-year storm event” is a storm having a 25-yearrecurrence interval based on historical data. In other words,a storm of that magnitude has a 4 percent chance ofhappening in any given year.3

incorporating public open space helped garnercommunity support for redevelopment. A 10acre park that manages stormwater provides alively community space next to a new arts andentertainment district that includes a reopenedhistoric train depot, a performing arts center,art galleries, restaurants, and shopping.creating spaces that honor an area’s heritageand that residents and visitors cherish.A mid-19th century watch factory in Waltham,Massachusetts, was redeveloped as a mixed-usedevelopment with apartments, offices, andrestaurants. It incorporates greeninfrastructure that reduces polluted runoff,improves wildlife habitat, and connectsresidents, workers, and visitors to the CharlesRiver, a water body central to the city’sheritage.In Aiken, South Carolina, residents wereconcerned about alterations to the town’shistoric parkways. However, once theyunderstood how planned green infrastructurepractices would look and function and that theywould help protect the nearby Sand River,residents supported the installation.In Santa Fe, New Mexico, preserving thehistoric features at an abandoned railyard andC.GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE FITS INTO HIGHLY SPACECONSTRAINED SITES20 percent while maximizing the area availablefor retail development.Downtown properties and infill sites are oftenspace limited. To make projects in these areasfinancially viable, developers have to maximizethe developable area. Green infrastructurepractices such as green roofs, permeablepavement, underground cisterns, and structuraltree planters can work where space isconstrained. In some cases, creating sharedgreen infrastructure facilities can allowindividual properties to meet stormwatermanagement requirements.The Northgate district redevelopment project inSeattle, Washington, incorporates end-of-pipewater quality treatment for a highly impervious680-acre sub-watershed. The 2.7-acrestormwater facility has become a haven forwildlife and much-needed open space forresidents of new senior and multifamily housing,retail customers, and people using theconnection between the neighborhood andtransit station.The Radian Complex is a 500-bed student housingand retail center on the northwest edge of theUniversity of Pennsylvania campus inPhiladelphia. Before redevelopment, the site was99 percent impervious and close to otherbuildings and infrastructure, which limitedinfiltration opportunities. A green roof, perviouspavers, tree pits and planters, and twounderground stormwater detention basins let theproject meet stormwater managementrequirements to reduce runoff volumes byThe Stapleton Airport redevelopment is one ofthe largest infill projects in the country, locatedjust 6 miles from downtown Denver. Thedeveloper integrated green infrastructure intoparks and open space, creating centralizedfacilities that meet water quality, flood control,and open space requirements. These areas arenow a selling point for the development and abeloved part of the community.4

D.MUNICIPALITIES ARE REMOVING REGULATORY OBSTACLESTO ALLOW GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTSWhen designers planned Mint Plaza in SanFrancisco, the city’s codes prohibited directingrunoff from adjacent roofs to the plaza’sinfiltration chambers. When the city issued newstormwater design guidelines a few years later,it changed that policy to encourage developersto use green infrastructure such as infiltrationchambers to manage runoff on-site, ensuringthat future projects will not face this limitation.In many downtown and infill locations, longstanding regulations can sometimes presentbarriers to incorporating green infrastructurethat discourage developers from pursuing thisapproach. As more local governments recognizegreen infrastructure’s benefits, they are helpingto break down these barriers. Often, a singlesuccessful and popular project is enough tochange government policy and allow futureprojects.The Queens Botanical Garden in New York Citywas a pilot project for the city Department ofDesign and Construction's High PerformanceBuildings Program, which had the goal of makingnew and renovated public buildings in the cityenvironmentally sustainable. By demonstratingthe feasibility of incorporating environmentallysustainable features into new public buildings,the city was able to institute new requirementsfor future city projects.The city of St. Paul and the Capitol RegionWatershed District incorporated greeninfrastructure into a new light rail line linkingthe cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. They alsoinstalled green infrastructure on adjacent streetsalong the corridor, and the entire area serves asa demonstration project for other developmentsin the city.E.GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CAN PROVIDE EFFECTIVESTORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN ARID CLIMATES ANDWHERE WATER RIGHTS ARE A CONCERNPueblo gardens into a 10-acre park filled withnative and drought-resistant

studies could encourage cities to adopt policies that would expand the number of projects . 1 For a complete description of different green infrastructure approaches, see: EPA. “What is Green . Green jobs. Increased property values. For more information about achieving multiple benefits from green infrastructure, see: EPA.