This week, nearly fifty elected leaders of major cities and counties in the United States – including C40 Mayor Vincent Gray of Washington, DC – signed a pledge to protect their communities from extreme weather fueled by climate change.
Communities across the country are realizing the green potential of their streets. Streets and sidewalks can be the largest single category of public impervious cover in urbanized areas. To mitigate the impact of this impervious area, a number of communities, including Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and Philadelphia, have developed green street and alley programs to provide green stormwater management, while maintaining the primary function of the street for vehicles and pedestrians.
In September 2010, New York City released the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, which presents an alternative approach to improving water quality by integrating green infrastructure, such as bioswales and green roofs, with investments to optimize the existing system and build targeted, cost-effective “grey” or traditional infrastructure. The full implementation of this plan will save the City approximately $1.4 billion and reduce combined sewer overflows by 12.1 billion gallons per year.