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10 Ideas for a Green Transportation Infrastructure

Construction Materials Matter

There are plenty of aspects of the Brooklyn Bridge Park that make it green. First, the 85-acre project, which is partially open, is a park, and the first one built in Brooklyn since Prospect Park more than a century ago. It will replace an industrial area full of piers and warehouses with public space for recreation and restored wetlands and other habitat, it also relies on recycled, local materials. For instance, granite slabs from the nearby Roosevelt Avenue Bridge have been used to create steps in the park; stone from the Willis Avenue Bridge in the Bronx have been incorporated to create a variety of seating and walkway features; and steel from some warehouses have been left in place and reused. All of this is to say that recycled building materials can provide a green boost to any project.

Even in cases when building materials can't be recycled and reused, there are options that are far more sustainable than what was used in the past. For instance, so-called permeable pavers are a big benefit when it comes to managing rain and storm water runoff in such a way that it returns underground or collects in pools where it can be reused instead of running off and being lost or polluting watersheds.

For example, as part of a multi-pronged effort to reduce storm water runoff by 1.5 million gallons each year, a community in Minneapolis, Minn., installed around 1,100 square feet (102.2 square meters) of permeable pavers made by a company called Belgard. Implementing these permeable projects across the watershed is shifting the practices that reduce runoff from residential properties.

Keep reading to see why it's not just recycled materials that contribute to a green infrastructure.