This is a guest blog by Clintonville resident Andrew Overbeck, an urban and regional planner for MSI Design who has worked on several sustainable stormwater improvement plans and projects in Central Ohio and across the region.
The Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum tree planting initiative, various rain barrel programs and the revegetation of the ravines will all go a long way toward enhancing Clintonville’s neighborhood aesthetic and benefitting the environment. However, more can be done to effectively treat the stormwater that is generated by our neighborhood roads, sidewalks, homes, parking lots and other impervious surfaces. While some homeowners and neighborhood organizations have installed rain gardens, a more comprehensive approach could be taken to effectively manage, treat, and infiltrate stormwater in our neighborhood before it enters the combined storm sewer and ravines.
There are numerous approaches to sustainable stormwater management, but one of the most effective solutions could be the addition of curb extension stormwater planters. What is a curb extension? It is a stormwater planter that extends the curb into the parking or travel lane of the street and transforms it into a landscaped area that treats stormwater and provides temporary retention and some infiltration.
Along with tree planting and traditional engineering solutions, these so-called “green streets” are being used effectively across the country, most notably in Portland, Oregon. Locally, the Village of New Albany recently unveiled a comprehensive stormwater strategy that includes these and other green infrastructure solutions, including pervious paver streets
What could these look like in Clintonville? Placed at the bottom of every block heading west toward High Street, the curb extensions could capture all of the water running off the street, including the any water directed toward the street from sump pumps and gutter outlets. Given that our streets are “yield streets” these would have to be designed and located to allow for clear turn movements. Designed correctly, these could result in minimal parking loss and maximum environmental gain.
As the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum continues to evolve, this could be part of the long-term vision for the environmental sustainability of our neighborhood.