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International District Gets Its First Green Street

Tom Im, with InterIm Community Development Association, recently thanked SDOT and many other city departments and agencies for their efforts to implement the first “Green Street” in the International District. The design and implementation of this project needed many hundreds of volunteers and over six years to complete.

What is a “green street” you ask? Well, it’s a non-arterial street with dense, residential land uses that is designed to enhance pedestrian circulation and create open space opportunities where adequate public open space is lacking. The street should attract pedestrians through a vibrant environment that strengthens connections between residential enclaves and other Downtown amenities. While improving the streetscape for pedestrians, bicycles and transit patrons, the street should support economic activity while maximizing opportunities for trees and other landscaping.

The design of Maynard Avenue S honors the Japanese American experience “rooted in the historical ‘Nihonmachi’ or ‘Japantown’ neighborhood. With the goal to support sustainable development, the project captures rainwater from Nihonmachi Terrace Apartment’s roof and stores the water in a cistern. The rainwater is then pumped to a series of planters by an imported traditional Japanese hand pump that is mounted on the cistern. As the rain water moves through the planters it irrigates the plants which, in turn, filter the remaining water before it flows into the city’s drainage system.

SDOT’s contribution toward this project included reconstructing the curb on both sides of the street, reconstructing some sidewalk, and relocating some drainage infrastructure. Prioritizing street right of way for pedestrians rather than parked cars allowed the planting area to be widened, creating space for greenery, the cistern, and art. This enhancement is inviting to pedestrians and serves as a buffer between pedestrians and street traffic.

For information about the next work slated for Maynard Street between S King and S Weller streets, please see our Large Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) Projects website.