Coordinate among agencies responsible for water, streets, parks, and transit. Coordinating street design projects that include green infrastructure investments provides the opportunity to meet multiple concurrent goals. Transportation projects that require curb line changes in support of pedestrian safety or transit improvements are also opportunities to manage stormwater. Integrating street changes adjacent to publicly controlled land (such as parks or greenways) increases the volume of stormwater that can be managed as part of the project. Inter-agency coordination also increases the ability of street infrastructure investments to provide a triple-bottom-line benefit to the community at large.
Multi-agency projects require aligning not only priorities, but engineering and construction timelines as well. Coordination should be deliberate and regular throughout the process, from planning to design to implementation and maintenance.
Codify responsibilities. Memorandums of Agreement or Understanding are important steps in developing joint programs and building and managing joint projects. On a programmatic basis, MOAs and MOUs indicate executive leadership’s enthusiasm and commitment for collaborative projects, an important signal to project managers. On a project level, memorandums are important for codifying maintenance and operational responsibilities, such as clarifying maintenance tasks and responsibilities between transportation, parks, and water & sewer departments.
Maintenance of infrastructure is a critical component of ensuring the longevity of green infrastructure systems. Evaluate each department’s abilities and constraints to perform different maintenance functions, and clearly establish expectations for level of maintenance.
Partner for funding. Coordinated investments facilitate project funding by tapping into multiple different programmatic sources. Local agency funding for GSI can be used as a match to pursue grant funding from states, MPOs, or federal funding streams.
For example, funding dedicated to Safe Routes to School investments can be coupled with GSI investments to support bioretention in curb bulbouts around schools, shortening crossing distances for students, parents, teachers, and staff. Funding for stormwater street trees can augment economic development investments on commercial corridors. Or funding for a transit line can be leveraged alongside funding for stormwater management, creating opportunities for high-impact green transitways. Such coordinated investments make projects more cost efficient and promote good fiscal stewardship of public dollars.
Often, partner agencies have different limitations on what they can fund, due to legislation or other requirements. Understanding funding restrictions is critical for project financing.