The City of Tallahassee embraced the challenge of designing the FAMU Way extension project so that it meets the transportation needs of the local community. The project also minimizes environmental impacts by addressing storm water pollution for Florida A&M University and the local community.
As storm water pollution is the primary source of water pollution in the United States, it’s imperative that campuses collaborate with their local communities to address this issue and FAMU is striving towards being a leader in sustainability and a model for campuses nationwide.
FAMU Way sits in one of the lowest areas relative to FAMU’s campus, increasing the rate at which the area sees roadway runoff. The new project directs stormwater and runoff to a watershed – an area where water collects to one point – to prevent it from going directly into a drainage system.
“We don’t want water to go directly into drainage systems because eventually it’ll end up in ground water. Retain water for a time, and the pollutants will be mitigated,” explained Dr. Odemari Mbuya, professor of agricultural sciences.
Prior to the construction of the FAMU Way extension, local residents complained about the current drainage system in place. Carrie Poole, Public Information Officer for the City of Tallahassee, explained how Segment 3 of the project will address the issue.
“Blueprint 2000’s Capital Cascades Trail (Segment 3) project along FAMU Way includes moving the storm water system underground, replacing the large ditch that residents expressed was unsafe and should be removed,” Poole said.
The city engaged residents and FAMU throughout the design process.
Alisha Wetherell, Program Engineer for the City of Tallahassee’s Public Works Department, expounded on the relationship between the FAMU Way Project and Blueprint 2000’s Capital Cascades Trail project, and how it effects storm water pollution.
“Blueprint 2000’s Capital Cascades Trail project that is being built concurrently with the City’s roadway extension of FAMU Way implements a number of measures that make storm water collection more efficient to reduce 100-year flooding of roadways and structures,” said Wetherell.
The FAMU Way project also led to the construction of Coal Chute Pond, where FAMU Way road water is piped. Formerly Coal Chute Park, the area was a historic longtime black community park. In 2011, the park was dismantled and nearby properties were bought for right of way of the FAMU Way extension.
“This facility was built by Blueprint 2000 and Beyond (Blueprint) to be a regional stormwater facility (RSF) and a catalyst for redevelopment of the area, as well as providing stormwater treatment at more than double the minimum required standard,” explained Wetherell.
Although the original park had basketball goals and playground equipment, the pond includes a trail that leads to St. Marks Trail and a new 5,000 square foot children’s play area just east of the stormwater pond.
At the highest of seven hills sits FAMU’s award-winning campus, but during the rainy season, roadway runoff and storm water pollution can pose threats for the community and the environment below. The FAMU Way project will not only be one of the most beautiful roads in Tallahassee, but it will create a safer and healthier environment for residents and commuters to FAMU.