Late last night Ventura City Council took a significant step in the RIGHT direction. Recognizing that stormwater is an issue for which the time has come, council approved policy for Green Street Elements and Demonstration Project.
This policy would effectively follow two of the recommendations made by the Surfrider Foundation in Solving the Urban Runoff Problem, A Vision for the Urban Watershed, Ventura, California:
3. Develop a green streets program and implement pilot projects
5. Promote and develop incentives for community-based action (i.e. Ocean Friendly Gardens)
In my public testimony, I reminded listeners that a 'green streets' strategy is the best way of dealing with the 'concrete jungle' that is impacting the health of our oceans. I also presented City Council with a hard copy of our document published earlier this year and the Ocean Friendly Gardens brochure.
With this new policy, the city will earmark 20% of the street paving fund to begin incorporating 'Green Street elements' into repaving projects on a citywide basis. The city will also design and construct a pilot project on South Catalina Street to include:
...widening the west parkway from 3-feet to 7-feet, installing permeable concrete in the parking lane on the west side, planting 36-inch box trees on both sides, constructing "bulb-outs" along the east side along with stormwater detention and percolation curb inlets.
The Staff Report also provides an excellent review of types of stormwater improvements, and a matrix of their cost and effectiveness. The report may be downloaded from the city's website here: http://www.cityofventura.net/bridge/public_meetings/councilagendas.asp
In a later agenda item, council became the first city in the state to endorse the California Ocean Protection Council's "Low Impact Development Resolution."
After our watershed tour earlier this year, and the city's proactive approach to stormwater, we are hopeful that more funding will come available to implement a watershed-based study and pilot projects based upon Surfrider recommendations.