I’m writing to request that consent agenda item 37 on the County Board’s 9-21-19 agenda be pulled so that the item can be discussed at the recess meeting on 9-24-19 and public comment can be heard.
Having reviewed staff’s report, I see at least two issues are worth additional discussion.
1) E2C2’s meeting minutes for 1-28-19 and 3-25-19, (https://arlingtonva.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2019/05/1-28-19-Meeting-Summary-mh.pdf and https://arlingtonva.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2019/05/E2C2-summ-3-25-19-.pdf) discuss E2C2 members’ concerns about the loss of trees and the net increase of impervious surfaces on a site prone to flooding, among other things, as well as a letter to the County Board regarding the project.
Unfortunately, E2C2’s letter to the County Board is not contained in the staff report for consent agenda item 37, nor is it posted to E2C2’s webpage. So it’s impossible to know what, if anything staff did to address E2C2’s concerns.
As I understand it, at least two members of the public also expressed similar concerns when the County Board reviewed this project, which occurred before the catastrophic flooding that occurred on 7-8-19.
2) The fact that Benjamin Banneker Park lies in a floodplain and contains both a floodway and a resource protection area is indisputable. Staff appears to have ignored the special constraints of this site in its planning.
The flood risk in this area should have incentivized staff to decrease impervious surfaces and plant more trees (since this is a public park), rather than removing trees and creating additional impervious surfaces. Reducing stormwater runoff in this area to reduce flood hazard is a matter of public safety.
I have attached a movie file. This short film documents the extensive flooding not only in Benjamin Banneker Park on 7-8-19 but also on the adjacent streets, including 18th Street North and what appears to be N. Van Buren Street.
Based on my own research (see below), I believe there are feasible options for porous paving options that could be utilized instead of asphalt. A company with a long-standing track record of successfully installing ADA-compliant, porous/permeable gravel and grass pavement systems for trails and parking lots nationwide, including a trail system on Jekell Island, GA, which has withstood hurricanes. The costs for these systems also appear to be highly competitive with other porous and conventional paving alternatives.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Suzanne Smith Sundburg
And open-cell unit pavers (also referred to as grass or gravel pavers, plastic grid pavers or reinforced turf) provide a porous, stable surface that is flexible and less prone to clogging with sediment.
Is Grasspave2 ADA Compliant? Absolutely. All of our products are ADA Compliant. Even Terratame2 has a patented slip resistant grip to make traction easier in wet conditions. https://invisiblestructures.com/frequently-asked-questions/
Invisible Structures’ Gravelpave2 system has been approved as wheelchair accessible/ADA compliant for the Pentagon Memorial here in Arlington: https://invisiblestructures.com/gravelpave2/
The existing runoff problem at Banneker from “lawn” surfaces should not be an impediment to using a more porous trail or parking alternative surface. If conditions in portions of the park are unsuitable for porous pavement, then staff should adjust its plans. When best management practices cannot resolve development issues in floodplains, floodways and RPAs, then it is inappropriate for the land to be further disturbed or developed.
Below are some other examples of Grass/Gravelpave2 surfaces installed in the U.S. and abroad
Here’s the GeoPave system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBUWCCcmZqk (can be cleared with a snowplow or snowblower)