The Rock Island Corridor has been selected as a Green Infrastructure Playbook project by MARC and is receiving free technical assistance from a consultant team that includes BNIM, Biohabitats, BikeWalkKC and Parson and Associates.
According to Rock Island Corridor Development Manager Josh Boehm, the consultant team will prepare a report analyzing the ecological and social geography around the Rock Island Corridor, and work with staff and stakeholders to identify partnerships and opportunities to realize sustainability goals on and around the corridor. In particular, the consultant team will identify and analyze sites that are suitable for transit- and trail-oriented development adjacent to the corridor. Recommendations will then be made on how to prioritize development and how to conserve valuable ecological land and natural resources using national best practices.
This planning work will coincide with the construction of a 14-mile shared use path along the Rock Island Corridor. “By setting the stage for future development and exploring opportunities to preserve, highlight and celebrate the natural environment, this free technical assistance will further enhance the experience on the Rock Island Shared Use Path for all users,” Boehm said.
MARC’s Green Infrastructure Framework was established as a way to address the myriad environmental, economic, and social challenges impacting quality of life in the region. These include exposure to air, water and soil pollution, select access to green space and quality foods, access to jobs and greater susceptibility to flooding from storm events and climatic shifts.
The backbone of good regional planning is a framework that reestablishes and integrates ecological processes into the heart of the region’s cultural and economic fabric. The work of the Green Infrastructure Framework sets the stage for quality of life that is based on regeneration — a process of analysis and engagement with the purpose of integrating living systems with human aspirations. Green, or living infrastructure solutions, are solutions that simultaneously help to alleviate the pressures of wet-weather events as well as provide important amenities to our communities. In addition to providing the ecosystem services of cleaning the air and slowing and cleaning water, living systems also improve the economic value of our built environment and connect people to nature and to one another. Pathways for water are also pathways for pedestrians, cyclists, and provide healthy lifestyle and mobility opportunities that are needed for the health and resilience of our community systems.