Maplewood

Living Streets Policy and Sustainability Efforts

Maplewood has a history of remarkable sustainability projects! It was one of the first cities in Minnesota to begin installing rain gardens as part of street projects. The City now has more than 700 residential rain gardens, which manage stormwater runoff. Maplewood has been nationally recognized as a leader for its many sustainability efforts, which includes the City’s Living Streets Policy, adopted in 2013.

Living Streets are complete green streets that provide for multiple modes of transportation and reduce environmental impacts by having less impervious surfaces, managing stormwater, and providing shade. Living Streets enhance 

Living Streets – Maplewood Collector Example Maplewood’s Bartelmy-Meyer Neighborhood Final Street Design Maplewood’s Bartelmy-Meyer Neighborhood Living Street Maplewood’s Bartelmy-Meyer Neighborhood Maplewood’s Bartelmy-Meyer Neighborhood 2 Maplewood’s Bartelmy-Meyer Neighborhood 3 Maplewood Raingardens Maplewood Raingardens 2 Maplewood Raingardens 3 Nature Center City Hall Solar Panels

Click image for Photo Gallery.

walking or biking conditions, improve safety and security of streets, calm traffic, create livable neighborhoods, improve water quality, enhance urban forest, reduce road lifecycle costs, and improve neighborhood aesthetics. 

What may help other communities?

Partnerships

The City indicates that their sustainability and Living Street policy successes are the result of support and contributions from all levels and departments within the City and through strong partnerships. Implementation of the successful Living Streets Policy: Bartelmy/Meyer Living Streets Demonstration Project was completed through partnership with Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District which provided funding, grants, technical assistance, and educational resources for the project. The project has been recognized for being groundbreaking for its efforts to incorporate livable communities’ elements, public safety, traffic calming, and aesthetic improvements – as well as for partnerships between the City and Watershed District to accomplish mutual goals.
 
The City has other important partnerships that have advanced sustainability, including its partnership with University of Minnesota, and the capstone “Sustainable Maplewood” project, which studied efficient use of land through low-impact development, stormwater best management practices, and the protection of natural resources.

Living Streets Design Templates/Measuring Results

Maplewood’s Living Streets Policy includes different design templates to foster flexibility and context sensitivity to ensure a neighborhood’s specific needs are accounted for, such as improved biking and walking conditions along connector routes.
 
Project costs following the City’s Living Streets policy wasn’t significantly different from a standard reconstruction project; however, the sustainability benefits were immense. For example, the City’s Bartelmy/Meyer project reconstructed 1.5 miles of residential streets with green enhancements. The streets were narrowed from 30 to 24 feet, which improved stormwater quality, and also reduced the cost of future maintenance. Walkability, active living, neighborhood aesthetics, tree cover, and water quality were improved with the addition of 1.5 miles of sidewalk, 200 trees, 32 raingardens, and a larger regional basin. The project also included a public art feature with raindrop ripples stenciled into the sidewalks at each rainwater garden. In total, the road reconstruction project reduced one acre of impervious surface. As a result of the project, it is anticipated that raingardens will capture the first inch of runoff from any rainfall event, resulting in lower runoff. The City incentivizes stormwater management practices for residential areas. When Living Streets is implemented, stormwater management costs will be much less over time.

Integrating Sustainability

The City’s Living Streets policy is one of many ways the City is committed to sustainability. Maplewood promotes sustainability through its efficient delivery of infrastructure projects, design standards, education, and operations. Sustainability is integrated into the City’s comprehensive plan and is part of the City’s daily operations, culture, and the Sustainable Maplewood identity. The City’s Comprehensive Plan has a chapter on sustainability, which includes vision, goals, and implementation strategies, all integrated into the Plan. The City’s commitment to sustainability is shown in many ways, including having a dedicated full time Environmental Planner, as well as a full time Green Corp member. In addition, the City has an Environmental and Natural Resources Commission and Green Team of City staff that works on sustainable operating practices. The City also provides opportunities for Maplewood residents and businesses to develop sustainability attitudes and actions that will strengthen the natural and built environment. This includes having Environmental Neighborhood Groups, providing guidance and resources for the community on energy, local food, community gardens, environmental ordinances, an environmental newsletter, and an annual Sustainability Report.
 

Awards and Recognitions

Contact the City of Maplewood


Shann Finwall, AICP – Environmental Planner, (651) 249-2304; shann.finwall@ci.maplewood.mn.us
Steve Love, PE, PLS  – Assistant City Engineer, (651) 249-2404; steve.love@ci.maplewood.mn.us

More sustainability resources are linked here.

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