>> City of Vancouver Sustainable Streets Initiative


The Crown Street “sustainable streets” pilot project is part of a continuing commitment by local and federal governments to help preserve the Musqueam Creek watershed and promote alternative storm water management. Funding for the project was provided by the City of Vancouver, a levy on local property owners, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Investment Fund.

Driven in part by local demand for stormwater management improvements, the Crown Street project is Vancouver’s first attempt at developing a “swale system.” As an alternative to collecting rainwater on pavement and channeling it through storm sewers, the swale system incorporates a specially designed grass boulevard and holding pond network that takes advantage of the ground’s natural tendency to absorb run-off. Crown Street was an ideal site for such a test project because it has an unusually high proportion of open space along its route and a lack existing curbs and gutters. The system allows storm water to infiltrate into the local water table rather than flushing immediately at high flow rates into the nearby watershed after a rainfall. This swale system also provides an ideal habitat for the planting of native grasses, shrubs and trees. These plants help absorb and treat the pollutants found in pavement-channelled rainwater before they enter the watershed.

Long-term benefits of the swale system include:
  • reduced dependency on costly storm-drain infrastructure;
  • reduction in contaminated storm water entering watersheds;
  • increased flow towards the water table;
  • reduction in impermeable surfaces and local flooding; and
  • creation of habitat for native plants.



For further information on this project see the Vancouver web site:

For further information on Seattle’s experience with swale systems see:
http://www.seattle.gov/util/About_SPU/Drainage_&_Sewer_System/ Natural_Drainage_Systems/Street_Edge_Alternatives/index.asp

Category: Storm Water Management
Project: Crown Street swale system
Location: Crown Street between SW Marine Dr and 48th Ave.
Contact: Otto Kauffmann
Engineering Services, City of Vancouver
Phone: 604 873 7490
E-mail: otto_kauffmann@city.vancouver.bc.ca