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Green Streets

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Reminder: Schuylkill Soundings Presents Green City, Clean Waters—Tonight!

Don't miss tonight's Schuylkill Soundings event at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The 30-miniute Green City, Clean Waters video will be screened, followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the Philadelphia Water Department and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Learn how to green your home and neighborhood and give us your project ideas!

See earlier post for more information.

Curb Appeal: Queen Lane Stormwater Bumpouts

Philadelphia's first stormwater bumpouts on Queen Lane in East Falls are in bloom. Stormwater bumpouts are just one of the Philadelphia Water Department’s green stormwater infrastructure tools to reduce runoff and prevent combined sewer overflows into our rivers and streams. Runoff from the street is diverted into these landscaped curb extensions, where it infiltrates into the soil instead of entering our storm sewers. Aside from managing stormwater, bumpouts also help to calm traffic, and when located at crosswalks they keep pedestrians safer by reducing the street crossing distance.

Each bumpout is custom designed on a site-by-site basis; the six Queen Lane structures are each 8 feet deep and range in length from 24 feet to 80 feet (the bumpout pictured above measures 8' by 60'). Each bumpout is planted with a mix of native grasses, perennials and trees, and the entire system manages the first inch of runoff from an acre of drainage area. That means these bumpouts manage between 800,000 and 900,000 gallons of runoff each year.

Locate the Queen Lane stormwater bumpouts on a map after the break, and view PWD's in-design bumpouts and other green infrastructure projects on the Big Green Map.

Soak It In: Photos From Philly's First Porous Street

Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilman Frank DiCicco, Deputy Mayor of Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler, and PWD commissioner Howard Neukrug recently unveiled Philadelphia’s first porous green street on the 800 block of Percy Street in South Philly. The porous asphalt replaces traditional impervious asphalt and reduces the amount of stormwater that enters our sewers. Green infrastructure tools such as porous asphalt are part of PWD's Green City, Clean Waters plan to invest approximately $2 billion over the next 25 years to significantly reduce Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)—a combination of sewage and stormwater that overflows into our rivers and streams when it rains.

The Percy Street unveiling ended with a water-balloon toss and Mayor Nutter demonstrating how the street functions by pouring a gallon of water onto the asphalt. It worked! More photos after the jump.

The Big Green Block

Philadelphia Water continues to work with a coalition of local nonprofits and community groups on the Big Green Block, a multi-component sustainability project at and around Shissler Recreation Center and the Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Green stormwater projects at the site include stormwater tree trenches and two rain gardens that are designed to manage runoff from approximately 1.2 acres.

PWD's partners in the project include the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, New Kensington Community Development Corporation, Sustainable 19125, Mural Arts Program and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. Check in with Sustainable 19125's blog to keep up to date on local events. 

Locate this project on our Big Green Map.

Here are a few photos: 

You're Invited: Philly's First Porous Street

Join us for the unveiling of the city's first porous green street1 today on the 800 block of Percy Street. This green infrastructure project is a collaboration between the Philadelphia Water Department and the Streets Department; the porous asphalt allows stormwater runoff to infiltrate the surface and is stored in a stone bed until it can be absorbed by the soil. Preventing runoff from entering our sewers during rainstorms alleviates combined sewer overflows and protects the health and quality of our rivers. It's all part of PWD's Green City, Clean Waters plan to manage stormwater with green infrastructure, an approach that maximizes economic and environmental benefits to all parts of the city.

Skeptical about porous paving? Come out and toss a water balloon; you'll see firsthand how the paving soaks up water.

Date: Tuesday, May 10

Time: 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Location: 800 block of Percy Street (between Christian and Catharine, between 9th and 10th)

Those attending the unveiling include Mayor Michael Nutter, PWD Commissioner Howard Neukrug, Streets Department Commissioner Clarena
Tolson, Deputy Mayor of Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler, and Councilman Frank DiCicco. Check back here tomorrow for photos of the event and the complete, green and porous Percy Street!

1 You might be wondering: Is this really Philadelphia's first porous street? What about cobblestone? Traditional cobblestone such as the type that is found in Philadelphia is not porous, as the stones are mainly set in impervious mortar.

The Big Green Map

posted in

The mayor's goal of transforming Philadelphia into America's greenest city is happening one project at a time. With PWD's Big Green Map, you can now locate and learn about our green infrastructure projects—from rain gardens and tree trenches to porous paving and downspout planters—in your neighborhood and around the city.

You'll need Google Earth to view this map. Download and install it here.

Green Streets: Hunting Park Tree Trenches and Planters

The stormwater tree trenches and stormwater planters near the intersection of Hunting Park and Castor Avenues are nearing completion. PWD broke ground last summer and expects to complete the project by planting 13 new trees in May. The two tree trenches and seven planters are designed to capture up to 40,000 cubic feet of runoff from surrounding streets, or an estimated total drainage area of 40,000 square feet.

Stormwater planters and tree trenches are soil-water-plant systems that intercept runoff, infiltrate a portion of it into the ground, evaporate a portion into the air, and in some cases release a portion of it slowly back into the sewer system. Reducing or slowing the amount of stormwater that enters our sewers helps protect the rivers and streams that supply Philadelphia's drinking water by preventing combined sewer overflows.

Locate this project on our Big Green Map.

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