A state project that involves safety improvements
along route 9 in South Glens
Falls won an award from the state’s firstin-
the-nation Green Leadership in Transportation
and environmental Sustainability
State Department of Transportation
Commissioner Joan McDonald celebrated
earth Day last month by presenting awards
to staff for incorporating environmental
sustainability into project designs and
maintenance operations through the program.
“Keeping our world clean now and
sustainable for future generations is
the responsibility of everyone and it is
a responsibility that the Department of
Transportation takes very seriously,” Mc-
Donald said. “GreenLITeS demonstrates
our commitment to protecting our natural
environment, reducing fuel consumption
and vehicle emissions, and promoting a
sustainable transportation system through
all of our construction projects and highway
and bridge maintenance operations across
New York state.”
The project resulting in the award focuses on safety, congestion, pavement condition and pedestrian facilities through South Glens Fall. A continuous two-way left-turn lane will reduce congestion, which leads to less fuel consumption and lower vehicle emissions. Sidewalks will be replaced or built new, pedestrian signals added or upgraded and new crosswalks installed to keep pedestrians safe and promote walking as an alternative to driving, state officials said.
Last year, the Federal Highway Administration posted GreenLITeS as a case study and model sustainability program on that agency’s Sustainable Highway Program’s web page, www.sustainablehighways.dot. gov/documents/NYSDOT_Case_Study.pdf Similar to the internationally recognized Leadership in energy and environmental Design (LeeD) program for buildings, GreenLITeS utilizes a rating system to score NYSDOT transportation project designs and operations and to certify them in four increasingly rigorous tiers: “certified,” “silver,” “gold” and “evergreen,” the highest rating. The more sustainable elements incorporated into a project or activity, the higher it scores.
The South Glens Falls project is in the evergreen category.
GreenLITeS includes a growing collection of tools for the planning and assessment of projects, operational activities, maintenance programs and regional investments, DOT officials said. It is implemented through a self-certification process overseen by an advisory committee. In addition, a quality review team provides assurance that “sustainable and green” design elements are ultimately incorporated into completed projects.
Designs are rated in categories covering site selection, water- and air-quality protection, the minimization of waste, reduced energy use and innovation. examples of design elements that scorers might rate highly include those that protect, enhance or restore fish and wildlife habitat, minimize storm water runoff, improve traffic flow, reduce energy and petroleum consumption, improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities and minimize noise and stray light.
NYSDOT maintenance operations staff incorporates GreenLITeS environmental stewardship into all of its activities, which keep the highways and bridges functioning safely on a day-to-day basis, officials said.
Work affected includes everything from cleaning drainage basins and reducing herbicide applications to rehabilitating rest areas, enhancing noise barriers with landscaping and promoting the use of alternative fuel vehicles.