Rob Adams, at Future Melbourne Network’s ‘A Cool Future for a Hot Melbourne’ spoke of ‘stealing bitumen’ to turn redundant road space into places for people. The closure of Graham Street at Foote St is an example in the City of Port Phillip that has created safer and more convenient access for Albert Park Secondary College to Gasworks Park and a handy park for nearby residents.
We have come across many examples of New York City’s Greensreets programme, launched in 1996, which turns ‘unused impervious areas into vibrant and pervious green space’ along with social and environmental benefits. 2,500 of these Greenstreets have been built city wide under a partnership between NYC Parks and NYC Department of Transportation. It seems that they continue to be loved and cared for by community volunteers.
The most lovely we have come across is the RING garden at the confluence (their beautiful word) of four very busy streets. Begun in 1990, it was the second Greenstreets garden. It is a botanic haven with solar powered waterfalls, ponds and bogs. The garden ‘delights and educates schoolchildren and members of the local community’.
The Greenstreets programme has morphed into the Green Infrastructure Programme. It is now giving priority to projects that have a stormwater benefit particularly those that assist in reducing stormwater overflow to the sewer system. Green infrastructure covers more than green streets. It is raingardens, green roofs, swales and pervious paving.
Green infrastructure’s aim, which I ardently share, is to improve the water quality of waterways.
Perhaps not part of the Greenstreets programme, I have also been struck by these small (1 sq m?) plots planted and cared for by volunteers. This one, an island between the separated bike lane and many lanes of traffic, is cared for by Chelsea garden volunteers.