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First Community Meeting About Sierra Madre Boulevard Green Street Stormwater Capture Project Wednesday

Published on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 | 5:55 am

[City of Pasadena]
Pasadena’s Department of Public Works will hold the first community meeting about the Sierra Madre Boulevard Green Street Stormwater Capture Project on Wednesday at the Victory Park Recreation Center, located at 2575 Paloma Street.

The meeting, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., will be an “open house” that will introduce the project to the community. 

“At this point, the Green Street Stormwater Capture Project is merely a concept project and feasibility study funded through LA County’s Measure W “Technical Resources Program,” according to the City.

“The ‘open house’ we are hosting on January 18th is intended to help get the word out about the project concept and elicit feedback from the Public about what they might like to see as a result of this project,” Assistant City Engineer, Brent Maue said. 

“The Technical Resources Program is the first step in the Measure W Project process,” Maue said. “If the project were to gain enough local support and were to be determined ‘feasible,’ it would be submitted through a competitive scoring process to be funded for design and ultimately construction costs.  This process in total could take three to five years or longer.”

The Sierra Madre Boulevard Green Street Stormwater Capture Project is a local and regional stormwater capture and infiltration facility proposed within the median of Sierra Madre Boulevard. 

Located on Sierra Madre Blvd. between Sierra Madre Villa Ave. and Michillinda Ave. within the Rio Hondo watershed, the project has the potential to provide significant water quality benefits for Pasadena and help the city comply with a state-mandated requirement to improve water quality throughout the watershed.

“The primary driver for the selection of this particular location was the large underutilized open space in the median area as well as easy access to large storm drains,” Maue said. “We are always looking for opportunities to build ‘green infrastructure’ into projects.”

Proposed Project Concept and Design 

According to the project concept, this green street practice would divert surface runoff to bioswales constructed within the median. Bioswales are vegetated channels designed to filter stormwater runoff while removing debris and pollutants. This water can then be used to recharge local groundwater supplies, reducing polluted stormwater discharge to the storm drain.

The proposed design also includes subsurface storage galleries as an additional component. These storage galleries will divert flows from two nearby storm drains to treat and infiltrate a portion of the flows, further reducing stormwater discharge to the storm drain system. Runoff within this corridor drains to Eaton Wash, the Rio Hondo Channel, and ultimately, the Los Angeles River, the Public Works Deparment said.

Like most of the staff at Public Works, Maue believes one of the immediate results once the project is completed would be improved aesthetics in the Sierra Madre Blvd. median.

Currently most of the median space is sunbaked turf where only the trees are irrigated,” he said. “The hope is that through the Measure W program the turf would be replaced with drought tolerant native landscaping. The bulk of the ‘heavy lifting’ with regards to the infiltration and groundwater recharge would occur underground and would not be visible on the surface once construction were completed.”

During the pre-design phase, meetings such as that scheduled for Wednesday will introduce the proposed project concept and gather input from the community and interested stakeholders. 

Additional community meetings will be conducted to share the project components, discuss the regulatory parameters, and solicit feedback regarding the proposed improvements. All input will be reviewed and considered in the design process.

Subsequent community meetings will be conducted to present how the community response was incorporated into the design approach, and to present the final version of the proposed project.

“This project, others like it, and the Measure W program overall are huge opportunities for the businesses and residents of Los Angeles County.  Any “fix” for the drought and declining levels of area aquifers will not be simple nor accomplished with a single project.  It will take many projects across the region to accomplish anything resembling a solution,” Maue said. 

For more information about the project, visit

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