February 22, 2007

SEA Street Pilot For Southeast Burnaby

Burnaby is planning a pilot SEA (street edge alternative) project on a section of Clinton St. near Ron McLean Park. This is a very exciting development, and I'm elated that it's going into the Byrne Creek watershed, where I volunteer as a streamkeeper.

What's so great about SEA streets? They reduce the amount of rain that runs off into rain drains (storm drains :-) by as much as 90% or even more compared to traditional streets with curbs and gutters. This is very important to local creeks because all of those street drains connect directly to them. That means every time it rains, massive amounts of water go shooting down the creeks because it cannot sink into the ground, or be caught by vegetation, as it did in pre-development times.

Not only do SEA streets reduce runoff, they also help to filter pollutants such as oil, gas, brake-lining dust, antifreeze and other substances that collect on roads. They do this by providing vegetated swales, or shallow ditches beside roads, so that water can soak into the ground. Not only are they functional, they are also beautiful. I hope the neighborhood gets excited about this project, and that it goes well, so that it expands to other areas.

Seattle has had great success with SEA streets. Here are a few links:

Street Edge Alternatives Project

SEA Steets Virtual Tour

Wikipedia entry on daylighting creeks and SEA streets.

Wikipedia entry on rain gardens and SEA streets.

Posted by Paul at February 22, 2007 03:15 PM