Lindenhurst is an affluent, incorporated village in the Town of Babylon on the south shore of Long Island. In September 2009, the Lindenhurst Memorial Library (LML) purchased a seventy-five by one-hundred foot lot across the street to meet demands for parking space. To offset hassles with drainage and electrical wiring, the new twenty-car parking lot was built with green infrastructure and solar powered lighting fixtures, able to power themselves on a single charge for ten days without full sun. The new lot features permeable pavers, a graded crushed stone system, and wide, shallow bioswales that surround the lot providing drainage that mimics natural hydrology. The sustainable lot is the first of its kind on Long Island and serves as a source of pride for Lindenhurst residents.1
Library Director Peter Wardand the Lindenhurst Board of Trustees led the initiative.
Assemblyman Robert Sweeney helped secure funding through the Green Innovations Grant
The project was showcased on the LML Web site, local news coverage, and in a short video on the Library’s blog: www.lmlnewsonline.blogspot.com.
Ninety-percent of the project was funded by the Green Innovations Grant Program‘s Clean Water State Revolving Fund.2 The remaining ten-percent was funded by the Library‘s capital project reserve.3 Total cost for the project was estimated at $371,000.2
A minor issue arose when RDA Landscape Designers discovered a high content of silt at the site, making for a less pervious soil structure and potential drainage problems. To solve the issue, wicking columns that penetrate the silt layers to reach more permeable layers of soil were incorporated into the lot’s design.4 There were also construction delays because of rain.1
The sustainable parking lot at the Lindenhurst Memorial Library has exceeded expectations for absorbing stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is the main non-point source contributor of pollution in the nearby South Shore Estuary Reserve, but the Library’s success with green infrastructure could support the application of this technology on a wider scale to alleviate this issue.3
Bioswales come in many different forms and designs and are excellent for removing silt and pollutants from stormwater runoff. They also provide an aesthetic alternative to conventional drains and alleviate stress on sewage systems. Another key benefit to the design of the lot is a reduction in the urban heat island effect. The pavers used at the Library have a higher albedo, or reflectivity, of thermal energy from the sun than their conventional pavement counterparts. This means air temperatures near the surface stay cooler. Asphalt pavement has a lower albedo and more readily absorbs and stores heat, creating higher temperatures that can contribute to things like lower air quality and increased energy needs for cooling.
The lot is built with eight-inch by eight-inch NicoLock SF-Rima pavers with half-inch gaps, and is installed on a level plane that accommodates both ADA accessibility and snowplowing.4 Although Long Island winters are generally mild, the infrastructure used at the Lindenhurst site would also be viable in areas with greater snowfall, like Long Island’s Upstate neighbors.4
The parking lot is a symbol of a commitment to sustainability in the community—one that Library Director Peter Ward looks forward to showing his grandchildren someday.1
1Personal Interview with Peter Ward, Library Director
4Personal Interview with RDA Landscape Architects
Bioswales: Storm water runoff conveyance systems that provide an alternative to storm sewers. They can absorb low flows or carry runoff from heavy rains and snowmelt to storm sewer inlets or directly to surface waters. Bioswales improve water quality by enhancing infiltration of the first flush of storm water runoff and filtering the large storm flows they convey. (USDA)
Hydrology: The science that encompasses the occurrence, distribution, movement and properties of the waters of the earth and their relationship with the environment within each phase of the hydrologic cycle. The water cycle, or hydrologic cycle, is a continuous process by which water is purified by evaporation and transported from the earth's surface (including the oceans) to the atmosphere and back to the land and oceans. (USGS)