The James River Association in partnership with the City of Richmond and GroundworkRVA, just received a $161,111 Chesapeake Bay Trust G3 grant to implement a green street along a 0.4 mile stretch of Minefee Street in the Bellemeade community of southside Richmond, Virginia. This green street is a core concept from the Bellemeade Walkable Watershed Plan and builds on over 7 years of the James River Association working in the community. PRESS RELEASE – EPA Announces Green Infrastructure Support

A Walkable Watershed

A “Walkable Watershed” integrates the flow of people and stormwater. The Walkable Watershed Plan for Bellemeade, created in 2012 by Skeo Solutions and the Green Infrastructure Center, focuses on five (5) primary goals: connecting the neighborhood to the creek and the James River; improving walking routes to the community center and school; slowing flow, increasing infiltration and cleaning stormwater; developing a sense of community around the creek and school; and creating outdoor education opportunities. A key component of the Walkable Watershed Plan were several green streets, including one along Minefee Street. View the Bellemeade Walkable Watershed Report.

The Community

Home to approximately 5,000 residents, Bellemeade is a community located in the Goode Creek watershed. At the heart of this community lies the Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School, Bellemeade Community Center, Bellemeade Park, and Albro Creek, a tributary of the impaired Goodes Creek, which flows to the James River. Over the past 7 years the James River Association has helped over 50 residents install rain barrels, painted storm drains, led over a dozen trash cleanups, and a variety of educational activities.

The Project

The goals of this green street project are to create a safe route for kids to bike to school, increase tree canopy, and improve water quality through replacing pavement with bioretention and street planters. The 100% Engineered Design Plans, developed by Timmons Group and 3North, have been completed, approved, and are ready for implementation!

Design Elements: (Full Design Plan)

1. Green Infrastructure (first phase)

    • New street trees to shade the existing sidewalk and proposed protected bike lane.
    • Replace asphalt with 5 bioretention planters and 18 additional planters that will be planted with native trees, shrubs, and perennials. These planters not only provide water quality benefits, but also provide traffic calming measures.
    • Funded by CBTrust, Department of Forestry Trees for Clean Water, and Altria Group.
    • JRA will be partnering with GroundworkRVA’s Green Workforce, who are stationed in the community at the Bellemeade Enterprise Center, to install the plants and maintain the green infrastructure after installation.

2. Bike Lane (future second phase):

  • A protected bicycle/pedestrian pathway for students to safely travel from Hillside Court to Bellemeade Park where they can cross an existing bridge over Albro Creek, to get to the Bellemeade Community Center and Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School.

Keep an eye out for progress and volunteer opportunities to be a part of this greening effort in the Bellemeade Community!

Interested in learning more about how to create a Walkable Watershed in your community? Walkable Watersheds: A Guide to Community-based Watershed Planning