(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser reopened O Street Northwest between 1st and 3rd Streets as a “Green Street.” This newly opened roadway will support the Mayor’s commitment to sustainability and clean energy by capturing thousands of gallons of untreated stormwater, which protects local waterways. The green street is adjacent to the newly modernized Dunbar Senior High School, which also has several energy and sustainability features.
“As a steward of this government, I know that this city belongs to current and future generations,” said Mayor Bowser. “I am thrilled with the hard work and collaboration of District agencies, our federal partners and the Chesapeake Bay Trust to make this project a reality. It is my charge to make this city greener, more sustainable, and more environmentally responsible - and today marks an important step toward that goal.”
Originally closed in 1977, this part of O Street now has 5,732 square-feet of bioretention area installed in the form of 33 individual cells, or “rain gardens.” The District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) estimates that the volume of water equivalent to a 1.28-inch storm of runoff from a 1.6-acre drainage area will be retained through this project. The stormwater technology will prohibit significant amounts of stormwater runoff from reaching the District’s combined sewer system, and ultimately, the Anacostia River. All bioretention areas are landscaped with plants native to the District.
The Green Street project includes newly planted street trees in large tree boxes along O Street, where the stormwater will be collected to avoid sewer backups. Native plants that are a part of the O Street landscaping include: purple coneflower, switchgrass, inkberry and river birch. In addition to enhancing the ability of the bioretention cells to absorb stormwater runoff, these plants provide important habitat for District wildlife.
The Green Street project is the result of a partnership with DOEE, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Department of General Services (DGS), a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) initiative. Administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the EPA, the G3 grant program supports green-infrastructure projects that improve water quality, community livability and economic vitality throughout the region.
“This has been an exciting project for DGS,” said Interim DGS Director Jonathan Kayne. “Not only has the city reopened O Street as a Green Street, but we are also helping to protect our environment by reducing the amount of precipitation that goes into the District's sewer and stormwater treatment system.”
As part of today’s reopening, Mayor Bowser also announced the appointment of Retired US Navy Rear Admiral Christopher E. Weaver as director of DGS. Weaver will assume responsibility for the agency in the coming weeks, with Kayne transitioning to the role of Chief Operating Officer.
As Mayor Bowser said: “Interim Director Kayne has diligently steered the ship at DGS, managing a comprehensive portfolio of District assets totaling 30,000,000 square feet of owned and leased space. As Director Weaver takes leadership of this agency, he will inherit an organization that is sound, well-managed, and poised for growth and direction. I am confident that Director Weaver will build on the organization’s success, so that District buildings and facilities continue to benefit our residents.”
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