Families of fun- and thrill-seekers head to Busch Gardens Williamsburg each year—and they all need somewhere to park. To accommodate guests during the park’s busiest seasons, Busch Gardens needed to add at least 500 parking spaces to their overflow parking lot. Knowing the complexity of the Virginia Stormwater Management regulations, site constraints, and Busch Gardens’ dedication to the environment, VHB designed an innovative and sustainable parking solution within the client’s budget.
After discussing several concepts, the client chose a sustainable permeable parking lot with a grass cover, creating 540 parking spaces. The innovative approach uses a gridded GeoWeb system filled with open graded stone mixed with topsoil to allow establishment of grass cover. This system uses a super-strong plastic mesh filled with gravel and topsoil with grass on top through which stormwater can pass.
Environmental—This solution reduced the existing impervious area by 20,000 square feet. Impervious areas prevent water from soaking into the ground and can contribute to water pollution and flooding. Instead of a large-paved parking lot, which would create a lot of stormwater runoff during rain, the permeable lot allows rainwater to seep slowly into the ground and reduces the size of the required stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) by providing stormwater recharge.
Economic—The final project was completed within budget and generated 540 parking spaces, exceeding Busch Gardens’ desired capacity of 500 spaces. The cost-effective concept addressed the long- and short-term environmental impacts of the project and is an example of the client’s commitment to innovative sustainable design.
Social—In addition to providing overflow parking, the area can also be used to host events like company picnics and ball games or leased to adjacent property owners. Additionally, the environmentally-friendly parking lot appears to be a grass field but is designed to hold up to 32,000 pounds of axle loading, allowing Fire Apparatus and Emergency Equipment Vehicles access to the site during an emergency.