To see the benefits of Sustainable Streets in action, look no farther than Chynoweth Avenue in the City of San Jose. Originally intended as a major thoroughfare, Chynoweth Avenue is now too wide for its surrounding land use and has gained a reputation for speeding and drag racing. It has also become a source of fine sediment discharges to Guadalupe River, caused by an exposed dirt median and adjacent dirt slope.
With funding provided by the Integrated Regional Water Management program through the Department of Water Resources, managed by the Estuary Partnership, the City of San Jose collaborated with County Park staff to design a multi-benefit project using Low Impact Development (LID) techniques. The bioretention sites serve both to calm traffic and to reduce stormwater runoff volumes and sediment loads into the Guadalupe River.
This newly installed bioretention area along Chynoweth Ave. will calm traffic and capture and filter stormwater runoff, fine sediment, and pollutants that currently reach the Guadalupe River and the Bay.
Overall, the Project reduces impervious surfaces by over 40,000 square feet (0.92 acres), creates approximately 5,600 square feet of bioretention areas, and installs approximately 19,500 square feet of porous asphalt. The bioretention sites and newly planted broadleaf evergreen trees will also provide natural filtration of pollutants and heavy metals.
Plaque at the San Jose Green Street Demonstration Project (photo credit: Natasha Dunn, SFEP)
The San Jose Green Street Demonstration Project is one example of the dozens of on-the-ground implementation projects that the Estuary Partnership is managing through the Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program in partnership with local agencies and municipalities like the City of San Jose. The project advances Action 24, which calls for these types of projects:
Implement green infrastructure (GI) and low impact development (LID) to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff into the Estuary.