The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will help the capital cities of Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Nebraska and the District of Columbia to create healthy communities through green development under the Greening America’s Capitals (GAC) project, according to the EPA. The program seeks to help stimulate economic development, provide more housing and transportation choices, and reduce infrastructure and energy costs. The EPA will provide design assistance from private-sector experts to help chosen cities demonstrate sustainable design.
Montgomery, Ala., will receive assistance to redesign a one-mile segment of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail to improve the streetscape for walking and biking, to include natural solutions to manage storm water, and to create better connections between neighborhoods for pedestrians in an area crisscrossed by major highway overpasses.
Phoenix, Ariz., will receive assistance that focuses on revitalizing Lower Grand Avenue, a commercial strip that has the potential to become an area of economic growth by reusing historic buildings for a new mix of uses.
The District of Columbia will receive assistance to make three intersections at the Anacostia Metro Station safer and more effective for cars, pedestrians, and bicycles. The project will also develop design options for the surrounding streets and open spaces to improve the area for pedestrians and increase connections to nearby homes, stores, and the St. Elizabeth’s campus.
Jackson, Miss., will receive assistance to redesign a downtown segment of Congress Street, which runs past the Mississippi State Capitol and Jackson City Hall. Assistance will be given to retrofit the street and adjacent public spaces with green infrastructure to manage storm water, to improve pedestrian access and safety, and to encourage economic development.
Lincoln, Neb., requested assistance to create a green infrastructure pilot project in the South Capitol neighborhood. In this residential area, improved streetscape design could better manage storm water while supporting more walking, biking, and transit options.
GAC is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities among EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently. HUD and DOT were involved in the review and selection process and will provide technical expertise on each project.
This is the second year of the GAC program. The capital cities selected last year were Boston; Jefferson City, Mo.; Hartford, Conn.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Little Rock, Ark. This year’s five capital cities were selected from 23 letters of interest received through a solicitation of interest by EPA. The agency will organize teams of regional urban designers, planners, and landscape architects to provide customized technical assistance as requested by each community. More information on GAC, visit epa.gov/smartgrowth/greencapitals.htm.