Going Green: New parking lot designed to prevent erosion
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To a casual observer, this may look like a run-of-the-mill parking lot but it's not. It's designed to prevent erosion and equipped to regulate runoff from melting snow and heavy rain events.
“I'm standing in the middle of a rain garden that has been installed in a new parking lot. It's designed to take all the runoff from the driveway and the parking areas and collect it in this location and allow it to slowly seep into the ground,” said Timothy Toland, SUNY-ESF Landscape Architecture.
In addition to providing water quantity control, the rain garden also provides water quality control so contaminants from the roadway like brake dust, lead and other pollutants that drop off cars and other vehicles are held in the soil and by the time the water percolates down through the soil it's cleaned up.
“We also have porous paving in the parking area that allows water to seep into the ground without having to go to the rain garden. There's stone riprap along the edge of the garden to slow the water velocity, which helps prevent erosion,” said Toland.
Below the parking lot and rain garden are several subterranean storage tanks, which are collecting the water from the roofs of the surrounding buildings, preventing that water from reaching the parking lot.
Part of this hillside was cut away for the parking lot but instead of erecting a large retaining wall, terraces were built to help manage water coming down the hill and prevent erosion. More and more communities are requiring this type of green infrastructure.
“A lot of jurisdictions are concerned about storm water management because it affects water quality. Many have combined sewer overflow issues and these kinds of structures are finding a lot of niches in new development, mainly because you can do a lot of good in a very small area,” said Toland.
Because green infrastructure can be tucked and fit into leftover spaces, like parking lot islands or as planting strips along roadways.
About Going Green:
Going Green is produced in cooperation with the College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Learn more about SUNY ESF by visiting their website, esf.edu.