Green Space: It's Pretty and Smart

How do you activate safe, convenient travel for pedestrians, transit and vehicles? Manatee County has a plan.


Manatee County recently hosted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency of the Federal government of the United States, created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed in Congress. The EPA facilitated a community workshop outlining an initiative to reshape Manatee County infrastructure. There were many topics covered during the workshop; the primary goal to increase understanding of the benefits of what is known as “Green and Complete Street” design and to explore how the county could use these revitalized streets as part of a larger stormwater system, creating green space for the public, encouraging reactivation of previously underdeveloped regions, and reducing excess water in flood-prone areas while cleaning runoff before it reaches the Sarasota Bay or water reclamation system.


Complete streets are those that adequately provide for roadway users, of all ages and abilities,
including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, and motorists, to the extent appropriate to the function
and context of the street, within a connect roadway network.

Fawley Bryant’s Brandon Linder, long familiar with stormwater design and the EPA’s initiatives, attended the meeting and walked away with the following takeaways.

  • Infrastructure designed with the “Green and Complete Streets” initiative as a basis of design can help create roadways which are pedestrian focused, ecologically responsible and aesthetically pleasing. 
  • Green Streets integrate stormwater management techniques in roads and rights-of-way. (Source: EPA – Green Streets Toolkit) 
  • Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. (Source: National Complete Streets Coalition)

   

Stormwater management comes in all shapes and sizes and needs to be considered early and often. Some strategies in management include:

  • Bioretention Basin/Rain Garden
  • Bioswales
  • Permeable Pavements

   

Benefits of Green and Complete Streets are:

  • Reduce Stormwater Flow
  • Improve water quality
  • Enhance pedestrian safety and comfort
  • Mitigate carbon footprint
  • Beautify neighborhoods
  • Drive redevelopment zones

   

So, what are the next steps? The EPA has a number of goals. The first is engaging with stakeholders to build common ground. This workshop, was definitely a great starting point.

What benefit of Green and Complete Streets do you think would impact our community the most?



Information and thoughts provided by
Brandon Linder, Intern Architect.

*All images provided by the Manatee County presentation for the EPA Workshop.

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Benefits of Green and Complete Streets are:

  • Reduce Stormwater Flow
  • Improve water quality
  • Enhance pedestrian safety and comfort
  • Mitigate carbon footprint
  • Beautify neighborhoods
  • Drive redevelopment zones

Benefits of Green and Complete Streets are:

  • Reduce Stormwater Flow
  • Improve water quality
  • Enhance pedestrian safety and comfort
  • Mitigate carbon footprint
  • Beautify neighborhoods
  • Drive redevelopment zones