Green Alley Stormwater Management Projects

Project Summary

Timmons Group is working with the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) in their implementation of Green Alley Stormwater Management Projects. The Green Alley Program’s purpose is to demonstrate Low Impact Development techniques for public infrastructure. The Richmond Program is patterned after Chicago’s Green Alley Program which began in 2006. Funding for this program was made available through a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant. The DPU is in partnership with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Green Capital Project. $211,000 in grant funds are being matched by DCR’s $213,000.

Our firm is providing the expertise of its Stormwater Group’s staff for surface design (to improve pitch and grade of alleys and utilize the use of a paver/concrete combination for flatter slopes and smoother transitions). Our staff is also assisting the DPU with public information meetings and demonstration projects. Two recent demonstration projects are located at the alley connecting S. 12th and S. 13th Streets, between Main and Cary, and the alley connecting 5th and Main Streets, between Main and Cary.

The 12th Street location is a dog-legged alley with an impermeable surface that slopes toward Shockoe Bottom, an area that has experienced severe flooding in the past. The 5th Street alley is relatively flat, although covered with impermeable asphalt that results in a basin effect during even minor rainfall. By using permeable surfacing, rain gardens, cisterns and other stormwater management techniques, these alleys will be transformed into models for adopting green alley design as a standard, Citywide practice. Retrofitting alleys with green techniques has proven effective at solving stormwater runoff problems in urban areas such as Chicago. Alleys are often holding areas for garbage, construction materials and equipment, increasing the amount of pollution collected in stormwater runoff and carried to the James River and Chesapeake Bay. This exciting project is the first application of green alley stormwater management in a city within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The alleys were selected for their different physical characteristics and location in high profile areas susceptible to flooding.