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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Green Street Coming to Bellemeade

Feb 26, 2021 01:47PM ● By Justin Doyle
The James River

A greener streetscape is coming to Richmond’s Bellemeade neighborhood this year. The James River Association has been working alongside the city of Richmond, Groundwork RVA, 3north and Timmons Group to design and implement a “green street” that improves walkability and adds green infrastructure to a half-mile stretch of Minefee Street.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a green street is a stormwater management approach that incorporates vegetation and engineered systems to slow, filter and cleanse stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces such as streets and sidewalks. A traditional street is designed to direct stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces into storm sewer systems that discharge directly into surface waters, rivers and streams. Green streets are designed to capture rainwater using green infrastructure practices, including bioretention areas and street trees that absorb stormwater before it enters rivers and streams, capture carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Green infrastructure practices can also provide habitats for wildlife.

The Bellemeade Green Street Project will bring many benefits to the neighborhood, including creating a safe route for people to bike to and from Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School and Bellemeade Park, increasing tree canopy to improve local air quality and mitigate the urban heat island effect. It will also improve local water quality by replacing impervious pavement that produces stormwater pollution with a bioretention filter, planter beds and Filterras. These stormwater management practices are designed to work together to absorb storm water along Minefee Street before it has an opportunity to carry pollutants into Goode Creek. A future phase of the project calls for the creation of a bike lane on Minefee Street. The project is funded by a combination of grants from Altria, Chesapeake Bay Trust, RVAH2O, and the Virginia Department of Forestry.

The James River Association is a proponent of green infrastructure projects in localities across the James River basin. From green infrastructure planning initiatives to planting street trees, they recognize the many benefits of green infrastructure projects and embrace their role in helping to achieve green infrastructure goals.

Justin Doyle is the James River Association community conservation manager. For more information, email [email protected].