NEWS

Fitting It All In: RHA's Kirkland Avenue Townhomes

by Patty Buchanan

What do you get when you add 18 residential units, 18 parking spaces, mature existing trees, a community garden, 18-foot building set-backs, three frontages, a network of site walkways and private patios? I bet you wouldn’t guess that you get a fully accessible landscape with a network of pervious pavements, native sustainable plantings, a site fully mitigated by a system of low impact development/green infrastructure techniques, in addition to all the usual requirements for above- and under-ground infrastructure, including water, sewer, storm, electrical, and pedestrian and street lighting. Oh, yes, and affordable housing for 18 families.

This site is owned by Renton Housing Authority who believes that the environment, in addition to the housing they provide to their residents, is just as important. So, when we were presented with such a small site--it’s only 0.83 acres (36,500 sf)--that needed to serve so many needs, we knew that every square-foot would need to be accounted for and provide multiple services. This is where many of our low impact development and green infrastructure approaches really shine. For example, in order to control the amount of impervious surface on site, we designed all of our site walkways and parking lots to be pervious concrete, serving to provide accessibility throughout the site and helping to control stormwater by allowing stormwater to pass through and infiltrate into the native soils while also reducing the impervious surfaces total area.

RHA’s Kirkland Avenue Townhomes (KAT) is the beginning of a major housing replacement and neighborhood redevelopment effort between RHA and the City of Renton's Sunset neighborhood. The new residents are the first to be relocated out of their previous units (only a few blocks away) where demolition of old buildings are already underway. KAT represents a unique partnership between RHA and the City where the green infrastructure techniques used for the site and right-of-way were allowed to cross the public-private boundary so that codes and goals could be met for all parties. SvR (civil and landscape architects for KAT) worked closely with RHA and City staff to demonstrate that by using the network of green and low impact development techniques across the site and in the planter strip of the right-of-way, stormwater from the site and the streets would be fully mitigated for water quality and flow control.

KAT demonstrates how the integration of and the multipurpose nature of sustainable approaches to site design and stormwater manage can provide a means for fitting more into a small site. KAT represents a win for all stakeholders, but especially for the families that live there and will benefit from high quality affordable housing set in a fully sustainable, beautifully landscaped environment.  

 

New "Must-Read:" Permeable Pavements Book

It's here, it's here! 

After much anticipation, the thirty one members of the Permeable Pavement Task Committee have finally released the Permeable Pavements book.  This 262-page document provides a summary of typical permeable pavement systems and includes pavement performance data, design and construction considerations, factors affecting maintenance, and even a chapter on emerging technologies.  

Though increasingly used on our sidewalks, roadways, parking lots and even play areas, there are still only a few agencies with standards that can be used for the design of pervious pavement systems. This document is a comprehensive resource providing technical guidance for this important stormwater management BMP. It's a must read for "engineers, planners, landscape architects, municipalities, transportation agencies, regulatory agencies, and property owners."

The book's publication was sponsored by the Low Impact Development Committee of the Urban Water Resources Research Council of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of ASCE. Published by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Look for the contributions of a few of your favorite SvR authors and special thanks to the hardworking editing and review team of Kelly Lindow, Bethany Eisenberg and David Smith who spent many late nights compiling, editing, reviewing, and cat herding to get this publication out the door!

Want your very own copy? You can find it here

 

How High Point Works in Japanese

We've rolled out yet another translation of our How High Point Works diagram, thanks this time to our illustrious civil engineer Sakaru Tsuchiya. Some green infrastructure elements, such as pervious pavements are fairly common in Japan, yet others such as bioretention systems are much less common, according to Mr. Tsuchiya. While undoubtedly the extremely dense development in many areas of the country creates a challenge for the use of green stormwater infrastructure, we hope that this translation can help explain techniques that we have used in the US and inspire new and innovative solutions abroad. How High Point Works - Japanese version

Click the image above for the Japanese version of How High Point Works (or here for that graphic as a PDF). Other translations of the graphic include Spanish and Danish, as well as the original in English of course. Check out our Resources page for additional graphics, presentation, and links related to green stormwater infrastructure and sustainable design and development.