Sustainable Development bagby street greenroads

Published on October 18th, 2013 | by Derek Markham

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Houston Completes Texas’ First Greenroads Certified Project

bagby street greenroadsWhen thinking about road construction, sustainability isn’t something that tends to be a natural fit for the topic, as much of the time, the design and building of roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure projects focus on the end result – getting vehicles and people from one place to another as efficiently as possible – and not the overall impact of the project.

There is another way, however, and it relies on taking into consideration the ecological and environmental impacts of the project, including its effects on noise, pollution, temperature, groundwater, and the local ecosystem. When approached in that manner, it is possible to build roadways that are more sustainable and that just work better (in the big picture) than conventional roads.

The Greenroads certification system can be of help in guiding builders and planners toward a “greener” road system. Greenroads is a third-party program that uses a points-based system to rate road projects, using a collection of best practices of sustainable roadway design and construction.

“A Greenroad provides environmental, economic and social benefits. It efficiently uses resources and renewable materials, helps reduce emissions, manages waste, enables multimodal transport, and is designed to be accessible by all.” – Greenroads

Just recently, a road project on a major collector road in Houston became the first Greenroads certified project in Texas. The Bagby Street Reconstruction Project integrated a number of sustainable features in its design, including rain gardens, LED street lighting, “cool” pavement materials, native vegetation for shading of sidewalks, and the use of locally sourced construction materials.

“When we truly began to measure the way the street was performing it made us realize what an exceptional place has been created. From human comfort and heat island, to the kinetic aspect of the planting and night lighting, each piece of the design has elevated Midtown to a higher quality.” – Steven Spears, Design Workshop

Find out more about the Greenroads certification process at their website.





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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!



  • Scott

    So critical to use the infrastructure in place and revitalize it to make it livable, walkable…too much of American economic development over the last century has been built for the car, which has created tons of traffic, sprawl, pollution, etc., disconnected families and communities, and made streets unsafe for cyclists, children and the elderly. It’s time to start taking it all back, and this is a cool step in the right direction.

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