February 20, 2015 Susan Crane (215) 247-5777 x121

Morris Arboretum’s Renews Sustainable Parking Lot; a Model after 25 Years of Service

By line: Bob Gutowski, Director of Public Programs at Morris Arboretum

The Morris Arboretum demonstration parking lot is being renewed and rededicated after 25 years of service, including filtering into the earth about 31,863,304 gallons of precipitation from the Wissahickon watershed. This equates to a lifetime of drinking water for more than 1,000 of our neighbors downstream, or the annual tap water used by about 4,000 households, or one day’s average tap water use by 366,245 Philadelphians.

The parking lot, installed in 1989, was Morris Arboretum’s first public parking lot. The ecological engineering enables storm water to filter down through the parking lot and recharge the water table below, while maintaining the historical estate character of the Morris Arboretum and providing a high-quality visitor experience. It was designed with neighborhood input to accommodate our growing visitation, to respect the historic 19th century landscape, to provide a permanent exhibit of foremost urban planting design, and to demonstrate the best and most innovative ecological practices in storm water management. It has won awards for engineering and design, been featured in national publications and regional educational videos, is frequently visited by school students, university classes, engineers, architects and landscape architects.

In December, Morris Arboretum peeled up portions of the porous pavement which had eroded significantly after over 200,000 hours of continuous operation, to examine the performance of the stone recharge bed and filter fabric.. Morris Arboretum is working with several key experts in studying the functionality of the subsurface system. Among these partners are: Steve Scott of Scott Contractors, Dr. Robert Traver, Director of Villanova University’s Advancement of Sustainability in Engineering, Dr. David Vann of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Sustainability, Michele Adams of Meliora Design, Yaki Miodovnik of Andropogon Associates, and JEM Paving, LLC. The examination of sediment accumulation and other issues related to materials and design function has determined that the subsurface is still functional. Since this lot is one of the earliest and longest-operating permeable pavement parking lots, it offers a unique advantage to add to our knowledge of best management practices. When work begins in March, the permeable parking bays will be cut, peeled back, and re-surfaced instead of milled to mitigate contamination from the previous asphalt. The cobble edgings will be reset, and the driveways will be milled and resurfaced. It is exciting to think that a demonstration parking lot installed 25 years ago still serves as a model for best practices.

The garden will remain open during the parking lot renewal. Alternative parking will be available with shuttle surface. Look for announcements of the rededication event..

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is a 92-acre horticulture display garden featuring a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape. Highlights include a formal rose garden, historic water features, a glass fernery, and Out on a Limb, a permanent nationally award-winning exhibit 50 feet above the ground. Morris Arboretum’s new Horticulture Center has received Platinum Level LEED® Certification, the highest sustainability rating of the U.S. Green Building Council. For more information, visit:

Susan J. Crane

Director of Marketing

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

100 E. Northwestern Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19118

215-247-5777 x121

Cell: 267-972-2948

A place to unwind, to experience nature, to spend time with family and friends. Come visit!MorrisArb Witchhazels Jack Ellie  Addie O'Malley