Streetscape Enhancement in West Vancouver: Protecting Stream Health Starts At the Storm Drain Inlet
Seizing an Opportunity
Cherbourg Drive in the District of West Vancouver is a quiet residential street in a forested setting. In fact, Cherbourg is only one block in length. Recently, the aging road was reconstructed and repaved after many decades of use.
The road rehabilitation project provided District staff with the opportunity to do something different with two existing storm drain inlets. They enhanced the area around each inlet so that they are now ‘drainage features’. This has resulted in positive feedback from the local community.
The New Business As Usual
“The drainage features on Cherbourg Drive may be tiny in scale, yet they symbolize what we are calling the ‘new business as usual’. Road designers are thinking differently about how they deal with drainage runoff,” observes Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, and a resident of s nearby street.
“Road designers are connecting the dots. More and more, we are seeing examples of how a new environmental ethic is taking root and influencing road drainage design and construction practices for the better. Road designers have an important part to play in protecting stream health. To achieve the big picture, it starts with the smallest piece….in this case, a storm drain inlet. Kudos to West Vancouver staff for doing business differently.”
“Drainage features like these can also serve an educational value, They are visible, they attract attention, and they get people wondering about their purpose. This has the potential to raise neighbourhood awareness of water, and in so doing result in teachable moments.”
The Goal: Reduce Drainage Runoff
“District staff more and more are looking for opportunities during road rehabilitation projects to minimize the amount of water reaching enclosed systems. Gary Watt and Fraser Kettner took the initiative and were responsible for the drainage features on Cherbourg Drive,” continues Brent Dozzi, Manager of Roads and Transportation.
“These and other drainage enhancement features in West Vancouver are a great start. We would hope these small successes might ultimately lead to opportunities for comprehensive streetscape enhancement along the lines of what the Municipality of Delta is already doing,” concludes Raymond Fung, Director of Engineering and Transportation.
Gary Watt (Superintendent) and Fraser Kettner (Technologist) echo these comments. “We have a number of examples around the municipality that show how the roads department philosophy has been changing over the past decade. When we can reduce pavement area, for example, this helps reduce the temperature of the water flowing into streams. Ultimately, this is a benefit to fish,” states Gary Watt.
“I find it interesting how the civil engineering mind-set has changed from containing and conveying runoff away as fast as we can, to one where we are saying let’s not put boundaries on roads. Rather, let the drainage flow off to the side and disperse naturally,” adds Fraser Kettner.
Streetscape Enhancement Examples
Click on West Vancouver Rain Garden Replaces Pavement and Captures Rainwater Runoff on Busy Roadway — 15th Street is a major north-south connector route that links the Upper Levels Highway to Marine Drive.
Click on Landscape-Based Rainwater Management in Delta, a Metro Vancouver suburban municipality — Delta’s vision is to enhance community liveability by beautifying streets, one block at a time.
Click on Rain gardens at bus bulges soften urban landscape along the Lonsdale Corridor in CIty of North Vancouver — The rain gardens are intended to minimize the impact of the built environment on the City’s small streams.
Click on ‘Green’ Streets in the City of Vancouver — The Green Streets Program offers Vancouver’s residents an opportunity to become volunteer street gardeners in their neighbourhoods.
Click on “My Rain Garden” – Fostering an Ethic to Maintain Roadway Amenities in View Royal — Developing a community spirit around the concept of ‘it’s my rain garden’ is a key to protecting and restoring the quality of Portage Inlet.
Click on West Vancouver’s First ‘Green Lane’ — Project reflects the ‘design with nature’ legacy of Francis Caulfeild, founder of local community.
Posted September 2010