Green Streets

Green Streets brochure cover

The resources presented here complement the information provided in our Green Streets brochure (left). This information is designed for municipal officials and staff people who want to learn more about planning for, funding, and implementing green infrastructure and sustainable stormwater solutions for communities around the San Francisco Estuary.

Read the brochure and explore the tabs below for more resources and exemplary case studies.

James Muller

James Muller

Principal Environmental Planner


Environmental Protection Agency


Champion the Estuary

Action 24


NEW! Download the Roadmap of Funding Solutions for Sustainable Streets, developed through a roundtable process by the Urban Greening Bay Area project team.

Developing a successful green streets plan or program requires policy guidance, tools and analytics, and coordination between multiple departments and stakeholders. Here are a few tools and examples to get you started.


  • Model Ordinance
    Are you interested in building more sustainability into your road network? You may wish to begin by revising your municipal code, which will make it easier to integrate green infrastructure into existing public improvement programs.
  • GreenPlan-IT
    Do you need to build a case for sustainable stormwater solutions? GreenPlan-IT is a GIS-based green infrastructure planning tool can help city staff identify the most cost-effective suite of projects and prepare realistic budget estimates to share with decision-makers.
  • Green Infrastructure Funding Mechanisms
    This document explores strategies for developing alternative compliance and in-lieu fee programs to capture and target GI funding opportunities created by public and private projects unable to incorporate required GI into on-site on-site improvements.
  • San Mateo Sustainable Streets Plan
    This is an example of a city masterplan to improve traffic and pedestrian safety, while increasing urban greening and climate change resiliency.
  • SF PUC Urban Watershed Planning
    Learn more about SFPUC’s program to engage local stakeholders in identifying multi-benefit solutions as it integrates green and grey infrastructure to achieve runoff reductions as part of its 20-year, Sewer System Improvement Plan (SSIP).
  • SF Better Streets Plan
    This city website compiles the actual Better Streets Plan, as well as the General Plan amendments, local ordinances, and City Controller program analyses  that undergird the plan.

Many green infrastructure projects in the Bay Area have successfully leveraged federal, state, and regional funds.

  • Proposition 1 – Water Bond Grants
    California Proposition 1 (Water Quantity, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014) authorized $7.55 billion in general obligation bonds for water projects throughout the state including surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration, and drinking water protection. These funds are typically awarded through a variety of State agency grant programs, such as:

State Coastal Conservancy: $100.5M in grant funds for multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects, including water sustainability improvements and urban greening projects. Over the next several years, the SCC will offer up to four grant rounds per year. Some solicitations will be open to all eligible projects, others will target specific Prop 1 priorities identified in the SCC’s Strategic Plan. One funding round is expected in 2019.

Storm Water Grant Program: $200M in grant funds for multi-benefit storm water management projects, which may include, but not be limited to: green infrastructure, rainwater and storm water capture projects and storm water treatment facilities. Storm Water Resource Plans, or functionally equivalent plan(s), are required to obtain grant funds for storm water and dry weather capture projects. The next round of funding will be targeted for implementation projects.

Urban Rivers Grant Program: $20M in grant funds to the California Natural Resources Agency for green infrastructure that conserves water, buffers, climate change impacts, improves water quality, water supply, public health, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and energy demand, restores and protects rivers, creeks and streams (including acquisition).

  • Sustainable Growth Council’s Urban Greening Program
    This program created provides grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to fund green infrastructure projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout California. The goal is for these greening projects to incrementally create more viable and sustainable communities throughout the state. The California Natural Resources Agency, Bonds and Grants Office currently expects no further funding rounds for Prop 1. View latest spreadsheet of funding opportunities from NRA’s various programs.
  • SF Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund (EPA)
    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) manages this competitive grant program aimed at restoring wetlands and watersheds and reducing polluted runoff. These funds support technically sound projects that achieve significant environmental results such as polluted runoff reduction, impaired waters restoration, and aquatic habitat enhancement. The focus is to select ready to implement projects; however, planning and assessment projects are also considered. Awards typically range from $800K to $2M, and applicants must provide a minimum 50% non-federal match. This annual program is now accepting proposals until December 5, 2018.
  • Clean Water, Pollution Prevention, and Habitat Restoration Program
    Measure AA, passed by the voters in 2016, is expected to generate approximately $25 million per year over 20 years toward the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention, and Habitat Restoration Program to fund shoreline projects that would protect and restore San Francisco Bay. This program is administered by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. Eligible projects should accomplish one or more of the following goals: (1) Reduce trash, pollutants, and harmful toxins; (2) Improve water quality; (3) Restore habitat for wildlife, (4) Protect communities from floods; and (5) Increase shoreline access for public enjoyment. The second round of Requests for Proposals is open with applications due November 26, 2018.
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund
    The fund helps communities prevent pollution of precious water resources by providing below-market-rate financing for the implementation of storm drainage pollution control solutions, among other eligible projects. Applications are accepted at any time.

The integration of green infrastructure elements into planned capital improvement projects for local streets and sidewalks is an exceptional opportunity to address multiple issues, both above and below the surface.

  • County Clean Water Program C3 Handbooks provide guidance on green infrastructure projects, including site selection, sizing, suitable plants, and operations and maintenance:

Alameda County

Contra Costa County

San Mateo County

Santa Clara Valley

San Pablo Avenue Rain Gardens
This successful project retrofitted the conventional public right-of-way (street edge and sidewalk area) with a series of stormwater treatment cells (aka rain gardens) at two sites along San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito.

Newcomb Avenue Low Impact Development
Community members and city staff implemented the design for a green streetscape by planting trees and other drought-tolerant plants, installing specially designed stormwater-filtering planters to infiltrate stormwater runoff, installing traffic calming chicanes, and creating community gathering places.

San Pablo Avenue Avenue Green Stormwater Spine
The San Pablo Avenue Green Stormwater Spine is a pilot project and model for Bay Area municipalities implementing green infrastructure projects as part of their stormwater management efforts. The project will design, build, and monitor an array of low impact development (LID) projects distributed along 12.5 miles of San Pablo Avenue, a major thoroughfare passing through a number of East Bay cities.

Hacienda Avenue Green Street Improvement Project
As part of a comprehensive street improvement project (including 62 street trees, a road diet, street regrading, bike lanes, and streetlight upgrades), this three-quarter-mile road reconstruction project in Campbell added sidewalks and curb extensions with bioretention to decrease stormwater runoff rates and improve water quality. The City, opportunistically, coordinated upgrades of underground utilities while the street was reconstructed.

Serramonte Main Branch Library Stormwater Treatment Gardens
This project in Daly City created extended rain gardens, or bioretention cells, around the public library, collecting and treating nearly 4 acres of runoff from the parking lot and surrounding areas.

GreenPlan Bay Area
Funded by the State Water Resources Control Board, GreenPlan Bay Area is a collaborative effort between the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, and Bay Area municipalities to develop spatial tools which will be used to develop plans that identify the optimal combination of green infrastructure LID features for achieving desirable outcomes at the watershed scale.

Fremont Tree Well Filters
In 2012, the City of Fremont installed two tree well filters on Osgood Road to improve city aesthetics and treat urban runoff. Two distinct filter configurations were designed and built side by side so that they could be tested against one another for efficacy of pollutant removal and maintenance costs.

Regional Trash Reduction Project
Trash is both a water quality problem and a visual nuisance in the Bay Area. Trash is carried by the region’s municipal storm drain systems to local creeks, the Bay, and on to the Pacific Ocean. SFEP is actively involved in reducing trash in our waters.

Taking Action for Clean Water – PCBs in Caulk Project
SFEP’s PCBs in Caulk Project was created to address potential impacts of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in caulks and sealants released into stormwater runoff during demolition or remodeling projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. The project assisted the implementation of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for PCBs in San Francisco Bay. The project is no longer active, but archive information is available.