We completed the first phase of the Low Line Project in 2016. The Low Line Green is the final phase of The Low Line Project. It completes the transformation of a 5.5-acre site along the James River and Kanawha Canal, along the Virginia Capital Trail between Great Shiplock Park and the Flood Wall. We always intended the Low Line to serve as an important connection to the Canal Walk, and this phase of our project accomplishes that and more.
The 1.5-acre space just east of the Flood Wall has been neglected for years. It has been a neglected grassy area that folks simply passed through headed East or West. In addition, the downspouts from I-95 and the Downtown Expressway have long diverted runoff and pollutants directly into the Canal, and ultimately into the James River – polluting and compromising our waterways.
Steeped in history, the Green includes the site where, on April 4, 1865, the day after Union forces captured Richmond, President Abraham Lincoln entered the city at 17th Street from the James River and Kanawha Canal.
Today, this place looks very different. Capital Trees has transformed and renovated the area into a welcoming green space for residents and visitors to enjoy. As with all of our work, we took the opportunity to make the space not only more aesthetically pleasing, but also more environmentally sound.
For Mother Earth
We diverted stormwater runoff from I-95 through a series of underground conduits to send the water through a rain garden. The system leverages the latest in bio-remediation to filter and clean the water before it enters the Canal. This limits the amount of pollutants that make it into the Canal, and by extension, the James River and the Chesapeake Bay.
For the Movers and Shakers
We reoriented the plaza so that it’s more easily navigated by bikers and pedestrians using the Virginia Capital Trail. Plus, we designed it to better serve as a meeting and gathering space. We also updated and improved the lighting to make The Green safer and more versatile.
For All of Us
We planted nearly 2,000 new plants, trees, shrubs and grasses for The Low Line Green. The new living additions are 90% native so that they’ll thrive in the space for years to come. Healthy landscaping reduces surface water runoff and serves as a haven for wildlife and a respite for people. Our goal with the completion of the The Low Line Project was to offer ALL Richmond residents access to safe, well-maintained, and beautiful green space. We know that being in nature is profoundly beneficial for both mental and physical health, and we hope our work serves as a respite and inspiration for those in Richmond who need it most.
Committed to the long term management of public landscapes, Capital Trees sustainably manages the Low Line Green including weeding, pruning, mowing, tidying, and planting. To remain spaces that draw people closer to each other and nature, these landscapes require regular attention. We are grateful for our weekly maintenance volunteers along with our community and private work day volunteers whose contributions support keeping these landscapes as transformative public spaces in the city. If you’d like to get involved, donate, or learn more – we’d love to connect.