walkers in discussion around young curbside trees

Green Infrastructure Walk

Walk Route

An interesting group of people walked and talked with Querencia Green last year, when we co-hosted a Green Infrastructure Walk in the Huning Highlands neighborhood.  We were looking for “opportunity sites” that could capture and use stormwater runoff for beneficial uses.  Participants from the Arid LID workshop connected with a few neighbors while observing  the historic and upgraded houses, civic buildings  and landscapes.

We started at the Albuquerque Conservation Association on the site of the historic Horn Oil gas station.  A community garden with a chicken coop sits on the east side of the site, which is the uphill part of the site.  We noted the building’s sloping roof, the pavement material in the parking area, and trees and soil.  As we walked along several blocks we saw new trees in the planting strip (the space between the sidewalk and the street curb) and many older trees that create shady blocks.

The temperature under a large tree is 4 degrees less on the pavement than pavement that is not shaded.  This differential increases with more trees on a block.

New street trees are needed in many sections, and the use of stormwater to provide some of their water needs could be valuable.  Several opportunities exist for “rain basins” that would be designed to allow for stormwater to reach the new trees.  Designs for rain basins would be based on the existing area of the planting strip and slope of the street, and the amount of water that might be captured in a storm.

We climbed the hill at Highland Park near the north side of Silver Ave and Elm St.  A wide driveway on the north side of the hill provides vehicle access to the Press Club.  The City Parks and Recreation Department plans to reclaim the driveway with permeable pavement, as part of the Highland Park Master Plan.  This could greatly reduce stormwater runoff on the hillside and and flooding on Gold Ave.

Joanne McEntire

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