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RBA’s Work on Staten Island’s North Shore Public Access Park

Permeable pavers have been a key addition to a different kind of park: the North Shore Public Access Park on the Kill Van Kull, a tidal strait between Staten Island, NY, and Bayonne, NJ.

This waterfront park will transform a former industrial marina into a graceful passive-use park for local residents.

“It definitely was an underutilized piece of open space that needed to be developed as a waterfront park,” says Alex Berryman, RLA, principal landscape architect at The RBA Group, an engineering and landscape architecture firm in Manhattan, who oversaw most of the landscape design.

“The intent was to provide public waterfront access, a place where people could take in the sights of the Bayonne Bridge in the distance while watching the huge container ships glide by on the Kill Van Kull. It’s one of the few areas in the northern part of Staten Island where people can get close to the water.”

Two refurbished channel markers stand at the entrance to the 2.65-acre waterfront park. The park includes a flat recreational lawn, native vegetation, an ADA-accessible perimeter path paved with asphalt and concrete, and two parking lots paved with concrete Unilock Eco-Priora pavers. The edge of the park is fenced off with a semi-transparent grill panel fence to prevent visitors from accessing the abandoned docks and shoreline.

One of the parking lots holds eight cars. The second, a 12-car lot with a turnaround, is on the park grounds and can be gated off and used as a plaza to host public events. The RBA team chose permeable pavers for both parking lots to minimize the impervious surfaces and to mitigate excess runoff. The project complies with the state stormwater requirements, Berryman says.

“The reason we used the Unilock Eco-Priora is because they’re designed for plazas as well as to take the weight of vehicles. The narrow [three-eighths of an inch] gap between them is compatible with pedestrian use, so the surface is very smooth for pedestrians to walk on.”

The funding for the park comes from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, through the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit dedicated to land conservation. The land itself is owned by the New York City Department of Parks, which will maintain the park once construction is complete. The TPL hired The RBA Group to perform both the design and the engineering of the project.

The entire project began in the fall of 2012 and was completed in September 2013.

The RBA team designed the site grading to maintain the existing stormwater surface runoff patterns to the Kill Van Kull, which avoided the need for costly subsurface drainage systems, Berryman says. They also mitigated the effect of the park’s asphalt and concrete paths without adding drainage pipe by designing the aggregate in the parking lots to be at least 14 inches deep.

“The aggregate layer provides space for water storage as well as spreads out the point load,” Berryman says. The paver systems in the two parking lots will be able to store approximately 6,300 cubic feet of runoff.

The general contractor, Fredante Construction Corp. of Cold Spring Harbor, NY, did a very good job installing the paver system, says Sean O’Leary, vice president with Unilock New York Inc.

Crews placed a geotextile drainage mat at the bottom of the excavation to strengthen the sub-base and improve the bearing capacity.

Above that, they placed an 8-inch layer of No. 2 stone, a 4-inch layer of No. 57 stone, then a 1.5- to 2-inch layer of No. 89 stone. They compacted each layer.

They laid a total of 14,000 square feet of the Unilock Eco-Priora permeable pavers with a Series 3000 (exposed aggregate) finish and put No. 8 or No. 9 stone between the pavers.

For maintenance, O’Leary says that sweeping the parking lots twice a year, once after the leaves have fallen and once in the spring, will lift up the particles on top of the pavers and the joints.

“The advantage of this system is if there’s a small amount of localized clogging, runoff is still going to flow through the adjacent and surrounding joints. We see a lot of permeable paver installations with little to no maintenance, and they’re still performing very well. If clogging worsens, you can wait and remove the top half-inch or inch of chip stone and replace the clogged stone with new material. Even with little maintenance, you can still have a new permeable system by replacing the joint stone without ever having to take the pavers out.”

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Improvements on the way for Roberto Clemente State Park waterfront

RBA’s landscape architects and engineers have spent over a year designing and creating plans for the proposed renovated waterfront esplanade. In addition to storm protection from the new sea wall, the esplanade will have new rain gardens and bio-swales to capture and treat stormwater runoff. A new decorative sea rail (designed by RBA) will run along the edge of the sea wall providing more park space for bicycling, strolling, and taking in views of the Harlem River. New distinctive pavement, planting, lighting, seating and an amenity strip of permeable pavers will create a visually cohesive rhythm along the entire length of the esplanade, bookended by a viewing platform at the south end, and a new performance plaza at the north end, with other areas of interest in between.

All renderings were produced by RBA.

Read the article posted to the Daily News at:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/roberto-clemente-state-park-sea-waterfront-protection-article-1.1819019

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Alliance for Action Award

On May 1, 2014, The RBA Group was presented with an award by The Alliance for Action in honor of its work efforts on the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Route 35 Restoration Project to rebuild a portion of the State’s shore area infrastructure damaged by Super Storm Sandy. RBA is responsible for a five mile section of Route 35 in Toms River, Lavallette and Brick Township, encompassing about ten miles of roadway, given the dualized nature of this section of roadway (five miles northbound and five miles southbound). This honor was bestowed at The Alliance For Action’s “New Jersey’s Leading Infrastructure Projects” awards ceremony at the PNC Bank Arts Center.

The particular aspect of the project that was recognized by the Alliance pertained to the American Water infrastructure that required replacement/rehabilitation of the water distribution system in advance of the roadway excavation and drainage installation. As part of RBA’s roadway project, extensive coordination with a number of utility companies was required. However, locating, avoiding and/or relocating the water facilities were critical to the progression of the road work, given the emergency nature of the project and the extensiveness of the water facilities. Unlike traditional projects, decisions regarding these utilities were made daily in the field in order to enable the roadway construction contractor to advance the work. RBA’s construction engineering staff facilitated this coordination by its daily presence on site. These efforts are continuing with the project expected to experience a two year construction duration.

The RBA Group is proud to have helped prepare this latest in the collection of bicycle tour guides for NJDOT

To help promote recreation along the New Jersey Shore as towns and businesses are recovering from Superstorm Sandy, NJDOT has released its newest bicycle tour route Explore the Jersey Shore by Bicycle. For more, visit http://www.nj.gov/transportation/commuter/bike/tours.shtm and nj.com

RBA’s Award Winning Design of the Newly Rebuilt Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant

DOT issues Press Release and opens RBA award-winning design for Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant; greatly increasing NYCDOT’s capacity to repair New York City streets. For more visit http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/220-14/mayor-de-blasio-opens-newly-rebuilt-hamilton-avenue-asphalt-plant-helping-city-resurface-1-000/#/0

ASCE Award Announcement – NCC Parking Lot

On May 1st, 2014, The RBA Group received the 2014 Sustainability Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers – Long Island Branch for providing planning, design, and construction support services associated with the Reconstruction of Parking Fields East 5A and 5B at Nassau Community College.

The RBA Group in concert with the Nassau Community College crafted a plan centering on an unprecedented combination of three modern design principles: Complete Streets, Sustainable Infrastructure and Context Sensitivity.  The design approach integrated green infrastructure, advanced technology, and multi-modal facilities by treating and infiltrating stormwater in sustainable fashion, utilizing energy efficient lighting and wireless security systems, creating a network of safe pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and incorporating a single lane roundabout, as a central node for access to new parking fields.

The team developed an innovative, cost effective, IP-based campus security system for present needs and future expansion. The backbone of the system is advanced wireless technology, providing connectivity without the expense of trenching and installing hard wired connections. Digital security cameras, mounted on the new light poles with antennas transmit video to the Campus’ Public Safety network server for 24-hour surveillance without overloading the Campus’ limited bandwidth.

One of the most significant challenges of this project was the design of the new storm drainage system, which needed to handle not only the existing paved areas properly, but the increase in stormwater runoff due to the significant parking field expansion without adding discharge to the adjacent Meadow Brook.  The solution to this challenge was an extensive network of green infrastructure elements to addressing quantity and quality treatment. Over 3,600 linear feet of planted, bio retention swales collect all the stormwater runoff from the parking and sidewalk areas through a medium consisting of a custom bio retention soil mix on top of a layer of washed gravel, thereby naturally removing pollutants from the stormwater.  The overflow stormwater from these swales is collected within linear underdrain systems piped into a series of shallow infiltration basins, strategically woven into pedestrian walkways, creating a bucolic, natural, landscape environment, resembling the adjacent Hempstead Plains preserve.

The project is considered a complete success. The project was completed on-time just in advance of the Fall 2012 semester.   As a result, all previous problems have been eliminated, a new gateway to the College has been created, future parking standards have been developed, and the College has a vision for their environmental commitment for the future.

More Downtown Parking Than People Realize in Westport

RBA, was hired by the town of Westport, CT to create a master plan of development for the downtown, did the traffic and parking study as Phase I of the master plan. Phase II, which focuses specifically on the downtown, is currently underway to prepare for current and future development. For more on this story, please visit

http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?/v2_5/comments/48157/

RBA selected as Design Consultants for Public Improvements Projects Benefitting the New York Public Library

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library (NYPL) is a world-renown City of New York historic landmark that, with Bryant Park, serves as one of the most important public open spaces, and cultural and education centers in New York City. The NYPL is currently concluding a

major, award-winning restoration program involving masonry work and improvements to the roof, façade and granite stairs, bluestone pavement and historic bronze elements on the library plaza on Fifth Avenue between 42nd Street and 40th Street.

Building upon the magnificent restoration of the building, the Fifth Avenue Plaza and the 42nd Street terrace entrance, the NYPL intends to use available Federal funding to extend the restoration program to include three other targeted areas that contribute to public access to and enjoyment of the library environment.