TRANSPORTATION AND CITY PLANNING – Urban planning decisions have a tremendous impact on a child’s opportunity for contact with the natural world, determining whether a park is located within walking distance from home, whether a stream is left as a wildlife corridor or pushed underground in a culvert, and whether it is possible to walk or bike safely to school and neighborhood destinations. These strategies would improve access to the natural world:
Strategy #4: Promote the adoption of green landscaping municipal ordinances encouraging planting of native and adapted trees and plants.
The Ohio Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Operations is currently reviewing all of the Department’s practices and guidelines to develop an integrated and comprehensive vegetation management plan for ODOT’s right-of-ways to ensure that ODOT is a responsible landowner and neighbor, promotes energy and environmental benefits and biodiversity, and maximizes the economic return to the citizens of Ohio.
Because ODOT’s natural resource mitigation areas are preserved in perpetuity, they could serve as islands or “nodes” of wildlife habitat, or as corridors to connect with adjacent natural areas. Long term, they could serve to develop statewide green infrastructure. All new ODOT culverts are designed to maintain stream continuity on both sides of the roadway. ODOT currently plants hardy, salt-tolerant trees, native grasses and wildflowers where possible, and uses “green herbicides” where possible. These practices promote plant and animal life and biodiversity, as well as the energy and environmental benefits of vegetation.