Transit-Oriented Development

Permeable pavers set the stage for art installation and reduce runoff

When a new transit-oriented development in Minneapolis wanted to adopt sustainable stormwater management practices and plan for a public art sculpture on the property, Willow Creek paving stones provided an ideal solution.

The selection of Willow Creek Brickstone Permeable pavers for 9,000 square feet of public walkways and a patio commons for residents drastically minimizes stormwater runoff to the nearby Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. In addition, the use of pavers provided a convenient medium for the installation of sculptures when the community received a public art grant.

Oaks Station Place is a 104-unit apartment complex with street-side commercial storefronts on a stop along the Metro Transit's Blue Line light rail system. Metro Transit's Hour Car and Nice Ride bike rental systems are located on site, and the complex owns a Chevy Volt car that is shared among residents.

"The development was modeled after a historic landmark transit community, Forest Hills Gardens, on the Long Island Railroad in Queens, New York," said Jim Schloemer, an engineer with Kaas Wilson Architects. "The classic hardscapes help evoke the grace of an earlier era in history, along with other architectural features, such as gable roofs, brick exterior, classic design, and wrap-around plaza at trackside."

The development incorporates many environmentally sustainable building practices, including sound-attenuating windows, roof intake vents to minimize street noise, thicker brick exterior wall construction, shingles of recycled material, charging outlets for electric cars, high efficiency windows, circulating hot-water HVAC system, heat pumps in each unit, and motion lights.

In addition to permeable pavers for patios and walkways, a StormTech drain system under the parking lot and driveway provides additional stormwater management. "Those systems coupled with the permeable pavers helped to meet our sustainability goals," said Oaks Properties Vice President Angie French.

The Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association received a City of Minneapolis Art in Public Places grant for the Oaks Station's transit plaza.

Because interlocking concrete pavers are easily removable and replaceable for maintenance and other reasons, they were an ideal choice to serve as a base for public art. The group of three lighted sculptures by artists Chris Krumm and Clark Wiegman is called "Luminous" and represents the area's granary history.

"With permeable pavers you can remove and replace them easily for footings, maintenance, repair or underground work," said Chad Johnson, principal of Structures Hardscapes in Minneapolis, who worked on the project. "No other special preparation for installation of the artwork was needed."

"We have found that Willow Creek permeables are the most cost-effective paving solution that significantly reduces stormwater runoff," says Johnson.

In addition to the public walkways, Willow Creek permeable pavers were used for a resident patio. "We are pleased with the performance of the permeable pavers," said French. "The outdoor patio for residents is west-facing with end-of-day sun, which helps the pavers absorb heat, so we have not any issues with ice or snow build-up."

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About the Project

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Oaks Properties LLC, Minneapolis
Kaas Wilson Architects, Minneapolis
Structures Hardscapes, Chaska, MN
Willow Creek Concrete Products, Faribault, MN
Products Used
Product Color
Square Feet