Using the Greenway to Clean New York’s Waters

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative seeks to make the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway a key component in the city’s green infrastructure network. The route is situated along the lowest contours of Brooklyn’s East River watershed and presents a unique opportunity to implement green infrastructure cost-effectively by including it in the 23 capital projects that make up the 14-mile route of the Greenway.

NYC is under a federal mandate to improve water quality by reducing the negative impact of the city’s combined sewer overflows (CSO) on its water bodies. In 2010, the city released the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan based on a determination that, in many instances, its return on investment in “green” infrastructure, such as swales and green roofs, would be greater than an alternate investment in traditional “grey” infrastructure.

What We’ve Done

Planned stormwater planters run along the East and West sides of West Street

In 2009, using funding from New York Community Trust, BGI and RPA hired WE Design to complete the West Street Sustainable Stormwater Study that showed how a sub-watershed based green infrastructure network could create a comprehensive stormwater solution using the greenway as its backbone.

In 2010, using a $25,000 grant from the NYC Environmental Fund, BGI, WE Design, and e Design Dynamics developed a set of design recommendations for green infrastructure on West Street.

In 2012-13, using $200,000 in New York State EPF funding and private matching funds, BGI will expand this study and develop design guidelines to achieve the incorporation of green infrastructure in most of the 23 greenway segments.

Additionally, a demonstration site designed by WE Design is planned for a greenway segment adjacent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, using funding from a NYC Department of Environmental Protection Green Infrastructure Grant secured by BGI in 2011.