Seattle will see a new advance in low impact development (LID) with a two-block biofiltration swale in the heart of the South Lake Union neighborhood. Developer Vulcan Real Estate announced today that it will partner with the City of Seattle to build the swale between Pontius and Yale Avenues, bordered on the north and south ends by Republican and Thomas Streets, as part of the larger redevelopment of the area.
The swale, which will be completed in phases from 2010-2012, is significant because it will be the largest urban natural drainage system yet to be built in an urban streetscape, with the capacity to treat more than 188 million gallons of stormwater every year. Its position at the foot of Capitol Hill means that it will catch and filter the water flowing from the elevated neighborhood, which flushes disgusting pollution and debris from Seattle streets straight into our treasured Lake Union.
We're excited, and not only because there's a brighter future for all the curbside rivers of stormwater that we watch trickling down Capitol Hill every time it rains. It's because we look forward to a future where every time an urban block is due for grand-scale redevelopment, the new plans include smart contemporary solutions like swales. We look forward to a day when Seattleites can shake their heads and say, "Let that filthy water run right into the lake? That's ridiculous."
Image credit: Google maps.