At its February meeting, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) adopted a Green Streets Policy for the National Capital Region, which encourages local jurisdictions to improve environmental quality with green infrastructure. The Green Streets Policy will guide cost-effective sustainable roadway upgrades that beautify streets while promoting pedestrian and cycling use. Adding green features like rain gardens to the medians and sides of streets along with planting trees and introducing permeable pavement reduces the effects of stormwater runoff and urban heat islands. These features are designed to reduce the volume of stormwater, and can capture some pollutants, from chemicals to silt to bacteria, before they enter stormdrains or degrade natural waterways like the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, and eventually, the Chesapeake Bay.
Jurisdictions in the Washington area have already begun to incorporate green streets elements. Prince George’s County, Maryland requires many road, sidewalk, trail and transit related construction projects to include environmental site design. The District of Columbia’s Green Streets Policy includes stormwater retention requirements in its 2013 regulations. Alexandria City Councilman and TPB Vice-Chair, Tim Lovain, is exploring a green streets initiative for his jurisdiction which would include permeable pavement and rain gardens.
TPB began studying the creation of a regional Green Streets policy in December 2012 in response to a request from the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership. The work follows the TPB’s approval in May 2012 of a regional Complete Streets Policy encouraging local jurisdictions to promote the safe accommodation of multiple transportation modes when designing new roadways and making major improvements to existing ones.
Click here for the most recent presentation on the Green Streets Policy.
This release was updated on February 20, 2014.