Green Streets – Green Towns – Green Jobs


Implementing a green approach to designing and building community infrastructure can have a variety of meanings from recycling programs, landscaping, Low Impact Development (LID) techniques to developing a sustainable and resilient community. The G3 approach also includes empowering small to mid-sized communities with the tools and mechanisms to achieve their goals of improved livability, healthier environment, and prosperous green & local economy. These goals are not mutually exclusive and investing in green technologies can provide the towns with the opportunity to enhance existing infrastructure, bringing it up to 21st century standards, while generating green jobs, creating demand for innovation in green technologies, and revitalizing local neighborhoods. The G3 approach builds on the concept of the Green Street as a tool for local sustainable development.

Community infrastructure, in particular streets, reach a point in time when they must be repaired, resurfaced, or replaced.  Public utilities such as, electric, water, gas, and sewer lines are also commonly located in that same right-of-way as the street.  These utilities also need upgrades, repairs and replacement.  When these activities occurs, towns have the opportunity to leverage the rebuilding of the street and\or upgrades along the road corridor with the incorporation of green technologies & techniques. Green techniques can be incorporated into all aspects of construction and design, both above and underground. These techniques can address a wide-range of environmental and health issues, such as energy, air quality, water quality, and community health.


What is a Green Street?


A Green Street minimizes impact on the surroundings through a natural system approach incorporating a variety of water quality, energy-efficiency, and other environmental best practices; reduces the amount of water that is piped directly to streams and rivers; makes the best use of the street tree canopy for stormwater interception as well as temperature mitigation and air quality improvement; encourages pedestrian and/or bicycle access; and provides an aesthetic advantage to a community.A Green Street minimizes or reduces energy costs for the community.For example, the street lights can use efficient bulbs and ballasts and be powered by an alternative energy source.A Green Street also minimizes material cost and the carbon footprint of its construction.It uses locally sourced and recycled materials in its design whenever possible.Green streets also make accommodations for greener and healthier transportation such as walking, running, biking, and public transportation.Streets that incorporate all of these elements are often called Complete Green Streets.


G3 Case Studies 

LID Retrofit for Ashland Municipal Parking Lot
The Town of Ashland, Virginia, recently resurfaced much of its municipal parking lot with thousands of permeable pavers and installed a bio-retention basin to capture stormwater runoff. The project allows runoff to soak into the ground and be filtered naturally rather than run off into nearby Stony Run, a Chesapeake Bay tributary stream. One of several low-impact projects in the town, the "soft" parking lot reduces flooding, lowers nearby air temperatures, protects streams, and captures runoff pollution targeted by the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.



Green Streets Planning & Design
Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue-District of Columbia


Capitol Heights Boulevard -Green Infrastructure Design

Green Infrastructure- Visualizations

Image: Low Impact Development Center

Flowers Avenue Green Street – Green Infrastructure Design
Image: RK& K

Philadelphia Green Streets

Neighborhood Street- Before and After

Street Trees-Design
Source: Philadelphia Green Streets Manual


Source: Low Impact Development Center

GI TOOLS and SERVICES-Lighting and Power Generation Innovation

Image: Savwatt Ecolight


Source: Philadelphia Green Streets Design Manual

Forest Estates
Montgomery County, Maryland

Source: Low Impact Development Center

Forest Estates
Montgomery County, Maryland

Source: Low Impact Development Center

Street Planter Designs
Source: Philadelphia Green Street Design Manual


Some of the green alternatives and practices featured as practical and successful solutions include:
Green Streets
Green Intersections
Stormwater Curb Extensions
Green Alleys
Green Parking
Downspout Disconnections
Green Roofs
Urban Forestry
No Mow Buffer Zones
Stream Buffers
Green Detention Basins
Permeable Pavements
Rain Gardens
Constructed Wetlands
Green Wet Basins
Green Dry Basins

Some specific green solutions and management opportunities include:
Permeable Pavers
Pervious Concrete
Porous Asphalt
Tree Boxes
Rainwater Harvesting
Vegetated Buffers
Vegetated Swales
Underground Storage
Catch Basin Inserts
Proprietary Water Quality Units
Infiltration Trenches
Green Wet Basins
Green Dry Basins