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Green Infrastructure
What is Green Infrastructure?
Stormwater runoff flows untreated from street storm drains directly into local creeks and streams and ultimately to the San Francisco Bay. Runoff is made up of rainfall, excess irrigation water, and other outdoor water. Runoff collects pollutants such as motor oil, metals, pesticides, and litter as it flows across hard surfaces such as rooftops, sidewalks, driveways, and streets.

Green infrastructure is a system where stormwater runoff is slowed, infiltrated, used, and/or treated using vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water runoff and create healthier environments.

Here are some examples:
Rain Garden   Permeable pavers
Rain gardens (Bioretention areas)

Permeable pavers

Green roof Rain barrel
Green roofs Rain barrels 

Green Infrastructure Has Many Benefits to the Community
  • Improved water quality
  • Reduced flooding
  • Increased water supply
  • Improved air quality
  • Traffic calming
  • Safer pedestrian & bicycle facilities
  • Climate resiliency
  • Improved wildlife habitat
  • More healthful urban environment

What are Green Streets and Alleys?
Green streets refer to streets designed with green infrastructure features to allow rainwater flowing over buildings, streets, and parking lots to soak into the ground and be filtered by soil. This reduces the quantity of water and pollutants flowing into storm drains and local creeks.

Green Streets and Alleys Projects
The City of San José is implementing green infrastructure into public improvement projects on city streets. You can read about our projects below and check them out in our interactive map!.

Martha Gardens Green Alleys

Martha Gardens Over 35,000 square feet of deteriorated asphalt and bare soil have been replaced with recycled content "green" concrete and permeable paved surface to filter stormwater along Martha Street. This site uses recycled materials and lighter colored surfaces that absorb less sunlight and lower temperatures.

This is a joint project between the State Water Board and the City of San José. The State provided $945,000 of Proposition 84 Stormwater Grant Program funds for project construction.

 Park Avenue Green Streets
Park Avenue Approximately 6,500 square feet of curbside rain gardens, and 2,800 square feet of permeable pavers will replace the existing asphalt along Park Avenue between University Avenue and Sunol Street to filter stormwater from the roadways.

This is a joint project between the State Water Board and the City of San José. The State provided $859,128 of Proposition 84 Stormwater Grant Program funds for project construction and public outreach.

 Chynoweth Avenue Green Streets
Chynoweth Avenue The wide and paved Chynoweth Avenue roadway, which is still under construction, will be replaced with approximately 5,600 square feet of curbside rain gardens. The dirt medians will be vegetated with drought tolerant plants and tree wells to absorb and filter stormwater.

This is a joint project between the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), and the City of San José. The DWR provided $2,000,000 of funds for project planning, design, engineering, environmental documentation, and construction.

 Autumn Parkway Street Extension
Autumn Parkway The narrow hardscape median along Autumn Parkway was cut to allow stormwater to flow across both travel ways into rain gardens installed along the sidewalk, where the water will be filtered for pollutants.