Patrons waiting to catch a ride at Rapid Central Station will now enjoy one of the cities largest outdoor living walls.
The 500 square foot planted wall was completed last week by a joint effort between LiveWall LLC and Summit Landscape Management of Grand Rapids. The green wall took approximately four days to install and plant with a selection of colorful, cold-hardy perennials (grown in Spring Lake by LiveWall, LLC).
The Rapid is a nationally recognized leader for its sustainability initiatives, including hybrid busses and LEED certified buildings, many of which feature green roofs. The Rapid's green roofs help to protect water quality by reducing runoff, and restore lost habitat, and save on cooling costs.
The living wall also helps to cool the building and restore lost habitat, but unlike the green roofs, it is uniquely visible to The Rapid's customers. “This planted wall helps connect our urban riders with nature. We've transformed a steel and concrete surface into a public garden, providing a more pleasant and relaxing stop between bus lines,” said Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid.
“We worked with a local contractor and a local supplier who uses western Michigan sources of plants, soil, plastics, and aluminum, ensuring that this investment in public health also benefits the local economy,” said Steve Schipper, the Rapid's manager of fleet and facilities.
LiveWall president Dave MacKenzie, who also owns LiveRoof, LLC, the company that supplied the living roofs atop The Rapid, is confident that the additional green space will have a positive impact on the city's residents.
“When it comes to the social and environmental benefits of keeping people connected to nature, the evidence is piling up. From lasting positive impacts on mental health, to reduced vandalism and crime rates, to cooler and cleaner city air, reintroducing plants lost to development is a very good move for the community. And, with a living wall, beautiful and functional gardens can thrive where no workable land is available.”
The Rapid's green wall will be the fourth publicly visible LiveWall System in Grand Rapids. Currently there are 1400 square feet of vertical garden, mostly edible plants, installed at the B.O.B., the Downtown Market contains an 800 square foot living wall on the south and west walls, and the John Ball Zoo has a green wall on the rooftop of the chimpanzee house.
About The Rapid
The Rapid (www.ridetherapid.org) provided over 12.5 million rides last year, a new record in public transportation trips in the greater Grand Rapids area.