Patricia Leigh Brown, "Whose Sidewalk Is It, Anyway?," The New York Times, January 5, 2003
Some neighborhoods around here don't have stormwater drains. Rain pours off roofs, driveways and streets and washes into ditches, carrying pollutants into Pipers Creek.
"Ultimately, it all ends up in the Sound or the lake," said Denise Andrews, a strategic adviser for Seattle Public Utilities' drainage and wastewater programs. "Our objective is to now engineer our streets in a new way. We are mimicking nature's functions. We'll never replace the conifer forests that existed."
North and south of this block, lawns edge up to asphalt, with parking strips in front of homes. On SEA street, the driving lane is narrower with limited angle parking. Swales are lined with rocks and chock full of plants, and they are covered with a soil mix that imitates the "duff" of a forest floor. The swales are connected with short pieces of underground pipe.
After taking measurements for two seasons one dry, the other wet a University of Washington professor found that the design reduced runoff by 98 percent.
Margaret Taus, "Innovative design cuts street runoff," The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 20, 2002
For example, city departments and residents recently collaborated on the Street Edge Alternative pilot project in northwest Seattle. This innovative project features attractive swales - miniature marshes filled with trees and native plants - on each side of the street to filter pollutants and slow the flow of storm water into Piper’s Creek. The alternative street design also slows traffic, creating a safer and more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly environment. And it adds green, improving quality of life (and likely property values) in the neighborhood.
—Steve Nicholas, “Sustainable Seattle,” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 11, 2002