Wrapping Up Phase 1 of the Community Greening Program

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What was accomplished by the Community Greening Program this year?

The first phase of the City of Watertown’s equity-based community greening program was funded by a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant, which concludes on June 30, 2022. In the first phase, the project team, which consists of City staff, consultants, and community members, identified priority equity areas in the City based on environmental and demographic factors. Within these equity areas, three streets were chosen for redesign as green streets, and other streets were chosen as locations where stormwater tree trenches could be installed. Portions of Dexter Ave, Francis Street, and Templeton Parkway were selected for green streets design because they:

  • are located in areas where the soils can absorb stormwater,
  • are located in areas where gaps in the tree canopy creates more vulnerability to urban heat, and 
  • have existing space for green infrastructure between the street and sidewalk.

75% designs were developed for each green street.

What is included as part of the Green Streets Designs?

The term “green streets” refers to streets that use green infrastructure and nature-based solutions to manage stormwater close to the source, rather than collecting stormwater underground and transporting it to rivers and ponds. The green streets designs use green infrastructure practices like stormwater tree trenches, bioretention areas, and leaching catch basins/infiltration trenches to reduce the amount of stormwater entering the existing storm drains, which improves water quality and reduces flooding concerns downstream. The designs create more green space and tree canopy on each of the green streets, which provide traffic calming and mitigate urban heat as well as manage stormwater.

The designs are focused on incorporating green infrastructure into the existing streetscape, and do not include repaving, curbing, or new sidewalks within the project areas.

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Example of a stormwater tree trench on Edenfield Ave

Example bioretention area on Edenfield Ave

 

Who was involved in the design process?

The project team engaged with community members throughout the development of the 75% green streets designs. A public design meeting was held virtually in March 2022, where residents and abutters discussed priorities for their streets, provided comments on the 10% design concepts for each street, and offered suggestions to consider as the design moved along. The Watertown Police and Fire Departments were also involved in the design process, helping the project team determine what improvements could be made on each street while maintaining safe travel for cars, bikes, pedestrians, and emergency response vehicles.     

The project team led site walks on each proposed green street in May 2022, which were attended by residents and City Councilors. Residents had the chance to visualize how the proposed green infrastructure elements would fit into their streets and learn more about how the systems might work. A walking tour of existing green infrastructure practices in Watertown was also held in May 2022 to compliment the project.

Photos from the site walks on May 11, 2022

 

 

Photos from the green infrastructure walking tour on May 26, 2022

 

What comes next?

The City applied for a second round of MVP Action Grant funding to advance to final design for the three green streets, to develop a long-term green infrastructure maintenance program and to construct ten tree trenches. The MVP program will notify communities if they have been awarded funding in the summer of 2022, and the grant would follow another 1-year cycle. There is no allocated funding or schedule for the construction of the proposed green streets at this time.

 

Can I Still Get Involved?

 

Want to be part of the solution? Take these quick steps!

 

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Share your ideas and questions by e-mailing resilient@watertown-ma.gov

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Share your thoughts on social media, using the hashtag #ResilientWatertown

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