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Highland Park Gateway Park and Streetscape Low Impact Development

Client: Main Street Highland Park Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC

The Challenge

The Borough of Highland Park, NJ, in collaboration with the non-profit economic growth entity, Main Street Highland Park, embarked on the creation of a long-range plan for the restoration of the downtown business district centered upon Raritan Avenue. The objectives included a Gateway Park and streetscape restoration to improve the borough’s image and to highlight its growing sustainability mission. Chester Engineers was responsible for integration of attractive sustainable landscape and streetscape design with stormwater management and pollution reduction strategies in a densely urbanized setting that appeared to afford little opportunity for green space or ecological function.

The Interdisciplinary Approach

After a data collection effort that included determination of drainage characteristics and flow rates, Chester Engineers evaluated a range of stormwater management practices that could biologically treat and infiltrate water and improve the pedestrian functionality of the Gateway Park and streetscape. We concluded that the Gateway Park should include a significant rain garden. In addition, street side rain gardens were placed on the four avenues intersecting Raritan Avenue. Rain gardens are attractive bioretention basins that appear to the casual observer as lush planting beds installed in a slight depression. These rain gardens handle from 12 to 88 percent of the first-flush runoff and remove up to 40 percent of a wide range of pollutants, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, lead, and total suspended solids (TSS). In addition to their water quality enhancement function, the rain gardens provide a functional and aesthetic enhancement to the streetscape such as shade, buffers from traffic, and improved air quality.

The Sustainable Result

The design as implemented conforms to NPDES Phase II stormwater requirements, while also giving a facelift to a downtown shopping district. The water quality treatment measures themselves improve pedestrian safety and comfort, while reducing maintenance needs of street trees by harvesting roof and pavement runoff for irrigation. The project serves as a regional example of urban green infrastructure that makes elegant use of small land areas, as well as construction and maintenance budgets, to improve quality of life for the community.

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    Project Highlights:
  • Use of natural sustainable systems.
  • Conforms to NPDES Phase II stormwater requirements.
  • Achieved significant water quality enhancement through pollutant removal.
  • Restoration improved burrough’s image.
    Services Provided:
  • Site investigation and analysis.
  • Conceptual, schematic design development.
  • Hydraflow calculations.
  • Cost estimating.
  • Construction observation.
  • Gateway park and streetscape design.
  • Stormwater management.