The Science Museum of Virginia has completed detailed design on a project that will reclaim two acres of asphalt parking and transform historic Broad Street Station’s front acreage into a 6-acre public green space. The Green will serve as both a welcoming park and a living classroom that will implement natural solutions to address the impacts of climate change in an urban setting.
The parcel is set on the Science Museum of Virginia's 36-acre campus which is home to both the Science Museum and the Children’s Museum of Richmond. A popular destination located along one of the busiest corridors into downtown, the site attracts 700,000 visitors each year and is accessible via public transit. In 2019, 100,000 passengers boarded or exited the Pulse bus rapid transit stop at the Science Museum, which is also the site of an RVA Bike Share station.
More than 6,000 residents live within a half mile of the planned Green in two of the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods. Thousands more work within close walking distance along Broad Street’s rebounding commercial district. Directly across Broad Street from the site is the historic William Byrd Hotel, retrofitted as 106 apartments for older adults with low incomes.
Museum guests, public transit passengers and individuals who live and work nearby will benefit from time spent on the shaded paths and in the casual gathering areas within the only public park located along the 7.6-mile Pulse corridor.
The project aligns with the city’s Richmond 300 comprehensive master plan, which prioritizes green infrastructure for Greater Scott’s Addition. As one of the fastest-growing, high-density, mixed-use neighborhoods in the city, the district suffers from one of the lowest levels of urban tree cover in Richmond. Native trees and plants will play a key role in achieving The Green’s design goals and desired environmental and health benefits. A block-long, tree-lined allée paralleling Broad Street will enhance the pedestrian experience along this busy thoroughfare while buffering traffic activity, sequestering carbon and managing stormwater. The Green will preserve sight lines for architect John Russell Pope’s iconic design of Broad Street Station.
While the acreage behind the Science Museum is dedicated to organized programming and recreation, the new Broad Street-facing Green is planned with passive recreation in mind. ADA-accessible paths and casual seating areas, shaded by overstory and understory trees, provide opportunities for guests to gather, exercise, reflect and connect. Research underscores the multiple mental and physical benefits of spending time in nature.
The park will serve as both a new civic gathering space for the broader community and a place to apply and demonstrate STEM lessons about the positive impact green infrastructure can make on the environment, wildlife, human health and social connectedness.