Monday, Sept. 13 was the ribbon cutting and reception for the 5th Street Alley Project, which is located parallel to 4th and 5th streets between E. Main and E. Cary streets downtown. Green alleys reduce stormwater pollution by using porous surfacing (permeable pavers) that allow water to soak through rather than run off.
Green alleys can reduce runoff from common rainstorms by as much as 100 percent, eliminating puddles and local flooding. Snow melts faster on permeable pavement and drains, reducing ice hazards. They also reduce urban heat.
The 5th Street alley was chosen as the pilot project because of the numerous design and construction challenges it presented -- a steep slope, several entrances, cobblestone with asphalt ramps, and underground utilities. If the construction was successful at this location, then other alleys would benefit easily from green technology.
The second alley to undergo resurfacing using green technology will be the 12th Street alley between E. Main and E. Cary and 12th and 13th streets. It's due to be completed by the end of fall 2010.