For more info and a video, check out the Green Roofs page!

From the East Liberty Post this January:

Green roofs on buildings are popping up all over Pittsburgh, but what about on bus shelters? This year, East Liberty will have a bus shelter roof that grows plants and supports animal life.

East Liberty Development, Inc. applied for and received a $20,000 grant from The Sprout Fund’s Spring Program to fund a green roof on a bus shelter. The project will be the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, and the second in the United States.

ELDI Planning Coordinator Katherine Camp and Green Projects Associate Loralyn Fabian hope this single shelter will serve as a model to bring more of the green roofs to shelters across East Liberty and beyond. Due to the construction of Target and the conversion of Penn Circle to bi-directional traffic, the neighborhood will need several more shelters.

The pilot bus shelter, to be located on the southeast corner of the intersection at Penn and Highland Avenues, will be installed in the summer of 2011. ELDI is working with many partners to make this progressive pilot project happen, according to Fabian.

  The bus shelter’s green roof will have many positive impacts on the East Liberty neighborhood. The project as a whole addresses the lack of biodiversity in urban streetscapes due to impervious surfaces like sidewalks and roads, and the risk to plant and animal life in the rivers due to sewer runoff pollution.

According to Fabian, the shelter roof will help to mitigate stormwater, reducing sewer overflow into the City’s rivers. By raising the plant life off the ground, it is protected against litter and being trampled or damaged by humans. The shelter roof, along with the trees planned along Highland Avenue, will contribute to bringing more butterflies, small insects and song birds to the area. Other benefits include the beautification of East Liberty’s commercial core and a reduction in climate change.

While many Pittsburghers may be aware of the existence of green roofs, putting the idea on a bus shelter makes the idea easier to see, and more accessible. The Port Authority of Allegheny County estimates that 4,000 people ride the bus through East Liberty every day. Thousands more travel by bike, car or on foot. Bringing the plant life from the roofs of buildings to the top of a bus shelter will provide thousands of residents the chance to see a green roof. Camp and Fabian hope that as more people learn about the benefits of green roofs they will install them on their own buildings, increasing the positive impact on biodiversity and stormwater management throughout the region.

Spring is a program of The Sprout Fund supporting local biodiversity initiatives that inspire greater stewardship of our region’s natural resources. Supported by The Pittsburgh Foundation, Spring catalyzes community-based projects that positively impact biodiversity in Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Sprout Fund enriches the Pittsburgh region’s vitality by engaging citizens, amplifying voices, supporting creativity and innovation, and cultivating connected communities.  Founded in 2001, Sprout facilitates community-led solutions to regional challenges and supports efforts to create a thriving, progressive, and culturally diverse region.