Growing Vine Street: The "Greening" of Seattle
The concept of a “green-street” began in the 90s with a small P-Patch in Seattle’s Belltown. Nearly three decades later, this concept has expanded into a city-supported, community-oriented project called Growing Vine Street. According to Growing Vine Street, “The objectives are three-fold: to treat roof runoff through biofiltration, to create a refreshing green space for the community, and to reintroduce the natural hydrologic cycle into our urban lives.”
Spanning eight blocks, the Vine Street watershed mimics the meandering path of a natural stream, incorporating natural elements into an urban setting otherwise dominated by concrete. The “Growing” part of the name nods to the program’s evolution. Green additions to Vine Street are incorporated regularly, and designs for each new Belltown development connect neighboring segments, ultimately growing the watershed.
How exactly does it work? Storm run-off is collected in large cisterns and dispersed through interconnected systems which are designed to both control the water flow and treat water via bio filtration. In addition to supporting the neighborhoods, the eight-block system allows the run-off to surpass the city’s water treatment facilities and be released directly into Elliot Bay,
Belltown is a unique area that showcases innovate green solutions in an urban design context. In celebration of Earth Day, we encourage you to discover Growing Vine Street for yourself. Take a stroll! And be sure to visit the Walton Lofts! The high-end, green-focused residential building is one of our favorite civil/structural projects.
Constructed adjacent to Vine Street, the Walton Lofts provides pedestrian gathering areas and landscaping elements that incorporate and further enhance the character of the block. The most central site design feature is the exterior landscaped stairwell connecting the building’s two plazas. Working with the City of Seattle, our engineers devised innovative stormwater designs, creating a system that cascades run-off down from one plaza to the next. The stairwell provides a unique pedestrian-friendly experience within a tight urban setting, expanding on the green-street vision, promoting sustainability, and giving the area a park-like setting.
We look forward to watching the progress on Vine Street as this urban watershed project continues to grow.