EPA Partnering With State Capitals On Green Design

In Phoenix, AZ (a 2011 recipient of the GAC) this redesign of Grand Avenue illustrates a designated bike lane and rain gardens that collect stormwater runoff from the streets. Plants in the rain gardens are selected to be appropriate for the arid environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the capital cities of Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and Indiana will be awarded design assistance from EPA to create healthy, prosperous communities through green development. EPA’s Greening America’s Capitals (GAC) program will help these capital cities stimulate economic development, provide more housing and transportation choices, and reduce infrastructure and energy costs. Through this project, EPA will provide design assistance from private-sector experts to help these capital cities demonstrate sustainable designs that create vibrant neighborhoods while strengthening the local economies and protecting people’s health.

The following five cities were selected through a national competition for assistance.

  • Frankfort, KY will receive assistance to enhance walkability and add bike lanes between the historic downtown and the State Capitol. The project will also connect the downtown with the proposed Kentucky River trail.
  • Des Moines, IA will receive assistance to incorporate green infrastructure elements into a proposed streetscape plan for a one-mile segment of 6th Avenue. The project will revitalize the commercial street that serves as the northern gateway to the city’s downtown.
  • Baton Rouge, LA will receive assistance to incorporate green infrastructure elements into a proposed walking and biking trail that connects Louisiana State University with the city’s downtown.
  • Helena, MT will receive assistance to improve the walkability and add bike lanes along Last Chance Gulch, a street that connects the northern part of the Helena business district with the historic downtown. The project will also explore design alternatives for a five-way intersection to enhance walkability.
  • Indianapolis, IN will receive assistance to make streets more pedestrian-friendly and revitalize public plazas within and adjacent to the Market Square redevelopment area. The project will tie in with the city’s larger plan to develop businesses in a new green cultural district.

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 partnership is helping communities across the country create more housing and transportation choices, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses. This is the third year of the Greening America’s Capitals program. Capital cities selected in the first two years included Boston, MA; Charleston, WV; Hartford, CT; Jackson, MS; Jefferson City, MO; Lincoln, NE; Little Rock, AR; Montgomery, AL; Phoenix, AZ; and Washington, DC.