Sunset Boulevard Greenway Project uses gardens to help capture stormwater

Effort exemplifies sustainable and responsible practices

A newly completed infrastructure project along a two-mile stretch of San Francisco’s Sunset Boulevard will not only beautify the area, but also will help reduce the amount of stormwater entering The City’s sewer system, officials with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said on Monday.

The new Sunset Boulevard Greenway runs 12 blocks along Sunset Boulevard, from Irving Street to Ulloa Street, and features 30 new rain gardens with drought-tolerant plants.

The rain gardens, which cover about 30,000 square feet, are meant to help capture runoff from surrounding streets. The plants and soil in the gardens are projected to help manage 5.3 million gallons of stormwater annually — greatly reducing the impact on The City’s aging sewer system, SFPUC officials said.

“The Sunset Boulevard Greenway is another example of how the SFPUC is responsibly managing our stormwater while at the same time creating our next generation of environmental stewards in the city,” SFPUC Acting General Manager Michael Carlin said in statement.

“We are capturing millions of gallons of rainwater before it runs into our sewer system and the educational components of this project will hopefully inspire our students and younger residents to be champions of sustainable and responsible water practices,” he said.

“Sunset Boulevard is both an iconic landmark for our neighborhood, and a critical ecological resource,” San Francisco Supervisor Gordon Mar said. Mar’s supervisorial district includes the Sunset neighborhood.

“These rain gardens are a beautiful, sustainable investment both in the vitality of our boulevard, and the resilience of the critical Westside Groundwater Basin,” Mar said.

In addition to the rain gardens, the new project includes educational elements such as an interpretive sign with information about the history of the watershed in the neighborhood, and a community space learning lab.

The project is part of the SFPUC’s Sewer System Improvement Program, which aims to upgrade The City’s sewer system. It is also in alignment with the Stormwater Management Ordinance, which seeks to capture 1 billion gallons of stormwater using green infrastructure by the year 2050.

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