Below is a picture of what I’m talking about:
It turns out that all that permeable driveway was no accident – the street was a pilot project sponsored/supported/spearheaded by PlantSF, which is a local non-profit on a mission to “promote permeable landscaping equally as sustainable urban infrastructural practice and as a beautification effort; by providing information to the public and by partnering with city and neighborhood organizations.”
You can find out more about the Shotwell Street project on their featured project page (scroll down or just search the page for Shotwell). This projet was installed in 2005, and was a joint project of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, Departments of Public Works and Public Utilities Commission and Shotwell Street property owners. It is also notable as the premier project of Plant San Francisco. Here are a few project highlights:
- It demonstrates one approach to reducing storm loads on the combined city sewer system
- Instead of entering the sewer, rain water permeates the exposed soil and nourishes plants.
- Drought tolerant plants were selected by the neighborhood association in collaboration with the Department of Public Works
- Plantings were undertaken during the wet season and no irrigation is provided or required.
If you’d like to see something like this in front of your home, but don’t feel like moving to the Mission district, don’t fret! Plant SF has a great “how-to” guide on their website that walks you through the process of working with the city to remove your concrete and turn it into something much more eco-friendly. And if you’ve been cited with a”30-Day Notice to Repair” your sidewalk, you’ll be thrilled to know that the available sidewalk landscaping permit satisfies the requirements for repair.
Below is also a video I took along the street: