Stormwater Management

Greenways and green streets provide an excellent opportunity to manage stormwater. Doing this can reduce flooding, improve water quality, and create beautiful natural areas. Green street designs can complement biking and walking on and along streets, too.

With funding from the Erb Family Foundation, we are working to bring more stormwater features to greenways and streets. The Beltline, Joe Louis, Southwest (formerly called May Creek), and Rouge River Greenways are prime candidates for stormwater features. We’re also looking at changes to roads. Stormwater bumpouts can reduce motorist speeding, which benefits those who walk and bike along and across the road. The MDOT I-94 and I-375 projects also present excellent opportunities for adding green infrastructure that manages stormwater while enhancing the experience for those walking or biking in the area.

Existing Examples

Some Green Streets have already been implemented in Detroit:

  • Bioswales on Tireman between Dolphin and Chatham, just west of Rouge Park.
  • Pervious pavement on Artesian between Joy and Cathedral. (Based on the preliminary results of this treatment, pervious asphalt may not be a good option for our climate.)
  • Pervious paver blocks on Keeler between W. Outer Drive and Piedmont.
  • Joy Road Green Stormwater Intersections between the Southfield (M-39) and Evergreen Road. “Hydraulic studies were conducted to size the bioretention basins, which feature stormwater tree planters with subsurface storage and demonstrate the effectiveness of stormwater reduction. Additional enhancements include permeable pavers, salt-tolerant flowering trees, groundcover, and vegetated swales.”
  • W. Milwaukee just west of the Lodge also has bioswales. These were implemented by the Henry Ford Health System. They have plans for a similar design on W. Grand Boulevard. The new street design would also include bike lanes connecting Cass Avenue to Rosa Parks Boulevard.
  • Ten medians along Oakman Boulevard are getting biorentention gardens to keep 37 millions gallons out of the combined sewer system annually. Look for these between Joy and Tireman.
  • DWSD is investing in the Parkland neighborhood to remove stormwater runoff through the West Warren GSI Project.

The Mayor Dennis W. Archer Greenway also includes bioswales, as does the Lexus Velodrome.

There are example of green stormwater infrastructure all across Detroit. They’re mapped on the Detroit Stormwater Hub. This map overlays the Hub’s data with existing bike and trail infrastructure.

Stormwater Credits

Under the updated Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) drainage charge program, customers can receive drainage charge credits for stormwater features. This may also be an opportunity to build more greenways with some costs offset by stormwater credits to DWSD customers.

What can we do about standing water in the bike lanes?

You can report this using the Improve Detroit app. DWSD can clean catch basins. However, sometimes the issue is with the grading of the road. There may not be sufficient slope for the water to flow to the catch basin. Fixing this issue requires a road resurfacing.

Additional Resources