Who among us hasn’t experienced the joy of planting a seed, nurturing the seedling and proudly watching it blossom into a young tree or flowering shrub. And so it goes with ideas. An idea is planted, nurtured and supported, and in time, that idea grows into a movement that positively changes lives and neighborhoods.

The City’s Stormwater Program is undergoing a similar transformation with new ideas for how to responsibly manage rain flows at the neighborhood level. So come join us as we unveil one of these projects that embody this new vision and approach.

The Elysian Valley’s Riverdale Green Street Project will celebrate its recent completion on Wednesday, September 29 with a ribbon cutting, and you are invited!

For more information on the time and location of the event, click here for a downloadable flyer.

For decades, runoff from storms was viewed as a liability; a community danger that needed to be diverted to storm drains as quickly as possible to avoid flooding and damage. Sadly, the runoff was often times contaminated with a wide array of pollutants ranging from pet waste to trash to used motor oil, and this runoff flowed untreated through our creeks and rivers, sending a toxic stew to area beaches.

Now, in this era of mandatory water conservation and economic challenges, the idea of rethinking the management of rainwater and using that water for irrigation purposes or infiltrating it back into diminishing ground water supplies is taking root. And with that new way of thinking, came the Riverdale Avenue Green Street Project.

Following in the footsteps of Oros Green Street and Elmer Avenue Green Street, this pilot project seeks to plant the seeds for a greener LA by creating a new green street standard here in the southland.

The Riverdale Green Street Project, initiated by the City of Los Angeles and whose major funding source is the California Coastal Conservancy, utilizes stormwater parkway planters to treat and infiltrate polluted urban runoff.

Completed in early August 2010, the primary goal of this project is to create a model for a new standard of residential street design. The project retrofited the existing parkways on both sides of Riverdale Avenue, between Crystal Street and its terminus at the west side of the Los Angeles River, with infiltration units that will capture and treat stormwater runoff from 14 acres of residential land. Parkway landscaping featuring drought-tolerant natives will be planted above these buried devices.

This new way of constructing city streets and parkways will serve the dual purpose of treating contaminated urban runoff while simultaneously irrigating the parkway vegetation. Lauded by the environmental community and residents alike, this project will provide improved water quality in the Los Angeles River and, ultimately, San Pedro Bay. The City plans to monitor the quality of water flowing into the LA River from this project with the hope that it will provide a very real model in developing sustainable standards for future street design.

So join us on celebrating the Riverdale Green Street’s completion. It’s literally a road to a green future.


*Photo courtesy of LA Creek Freak


Update: Check out a video from the Riverdale Green Street Project.