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Green infrastructure is a stormwater management tool that takes advantage of the natural processes of soils and plants in order to slow down and clean stormwater and keep it from overwhelming the City's sewer system. Through a long term planning process, the Urban Watershed Assessment will identify green and grey sewer improvements over the next twenty years. 

Learn about the Sewer System Improvement Program’s green infrastructure projects here.

Bioswale at Lake Merced during rain event

GI Permeable Paving 1

Bulb out with green infrastructure that extends the sidewalk and area for water to soak into the ground

GI Interactive Map cropped

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens capture stormwater runoff from streets, roofs, and parking lots. Plants and soil absorb that water, reducing the amount of runoff overwhelming the sewer system.

Permeable Paving

Permeable paving allows stormwater to soak into the ground in contrast to hard surfaces (concrete or asphalt) where stormwater rapidly flows into the sewer system.

Green Bulb Outs

A traffic calming method that extends the sidewalk, reducing the distance to cross the street, increasing pedestrian visibility and safety. These can include green technologies to capture and treat stormwater.

Visit SF Projects

See an interactive map of green infrastructure projects in San Francisco.  

How has it performed?

The SFPUC will conduct stormwater performance monitoring at seven of the eight green infrastructure projects implemented through the Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP). The primary purpose of the performance monitoring will be to measure site runoff under pre- and post-construction conditions, allowing for the calculation of stormwater runoff reduction by green infrastructure. Additionally, monitoring green infrastructure in different areas of the city with variable site conditions such as soil type, slope, land use, and traffic density will allow for an improved understanding of how site conditions impact the performance of green infrastructure. The following monitoring reports summarize the results of green infrastructure monitoring to date.

Wiggle Report
Wiggle Neighborhood Green Corridor
Phase I of the Wiggle Neighborhood Green Corridor features permeable paving on the parking lane and bioretention bulbouts at four intersection Oak and Fell streets. This project is estimated to have reduced the total volume of stormwater entering the sewer system from the project area by 47% (870,000 gallons) during the 2015-16 wet weather season.

Wiggle 2015-16 Monitoring Report
Sunset Report
Sunset Boulevard Greenway Project
The Sunset Boulevard Greenway project features rain gardens that manage stormwater runoff from 14 blocks of Sunset Boulevard and 37th Avenue. The initial Model Block, completed in the spring of 2016 between Ulloa and Vicente streets is estimated to have reduced the toal volume of stormwater entering the sewer system from the project area by 95% (850,000 gallones) during the 2016-17 wet weather season.

Sunset Model Block 2016-17 Monitoring Report
Mission Valencia Report
Mission & Valencia Green Gateway
The Mission & Valencia Green Gateway project features eleven bioretention planters and one infiltration gallery located within  the street right-of-way that manage stormwater runoff from Mission Street, Valencia Street, Duncan Street, and Tiffany Avenue. This proejct is estimated to have reduced the total volume of stormwater entering the sewer system from the project area by 86% (1,500,000 gallons) during the 2017-18 wet weather season.

Mission Valencia 2017-18 Monitoring Report
Holloway Report Holloway Green Street
The Holloway Green Street project implements two types of green infrastructure, bioretention planters and permeable pavement, along eight blocks of Holloway Avenue starting from Ashton Avenue and extending east to Lee Avenue. The Holloway Green Street project is estimated to have rduced the total olume of stormwater entering the sewer system from the project area by 77% (655,000 gallons) during the 2017-18 wet weather season, and by 78% (764,000 gallons) during the 2018-19 wet weather season.

Holloway 2017-18 Monitoring Report
Holloway 2018-19 Monitoring Report


The SFPUC monitored six green infrastructure projects from 2009 – 2015 in order to evaluate performance, best practices and design standards for future green infrastructure projects.  Monitoring was completed in partnership with SFPUC and San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI).  Review our monitoring reports below.

cesar chavez gi Cesar Chavez Streetscape Improvement
Completed in March 2014 as a demonstration project for the Better Streets Plan, the project includes 18 rain gardens along more than a half mile of impervious streetscape from Hampshire Street to Guerrero Street in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. Additional improvements include traffic-calming bulb-outs, street trees, drought-tolerant landscaping and a permanent bike lane.
private residence monitoring report Kimberg Rainwater Harvesting System
The Kimberg Rainwater Harvesting System was installed in 2009 by the homeowner in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. The system collects rainfall from a 1,100 square foot rooftop, treats the water via settling, filtration and Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, then distributes treated water to interior plumbing fixtures (toilets and laundry machine) and to an exterior hose bib.
Newcomb GI Newcomb Avenue Green Street
The Newcomb Avenue Green Street was a City of San Francisco pilot project to assess the benefits of green infrastructure implementation to San Francisco's combined sewer system. The model block seeks to provide multiple benefits including urban beautification, traffic calming, increased community gathering spaces, and some return to historical watershed function.
SFSU Site 3 cropped San Francisco State University: Bioswale
Since 2010, San Francisco State University professors, facilities and grounds crews, and the SFSU Planning Department have successfully collaborated on several green infrastructure installations across the campus. The traditional lawn areas surrounding the SFSU Science Building were selected for green infrastructure construction with the intention to serve as an educational opportunity for the SFSU community.
SFSU Site 1 cropped San Francisco State University: Infiltration Basin
San Francisco State University has implemented several green infrastructure installations across the main campus. The campus has many impervious areas including expansive rooftops, sidewalk areas, and parking lots that result in high stormwater flow rates into the combined sewer system without abatement. Stormwater runoff in some locations is now being directed into bioretention planters, vegetated swales, cisterns and other GI controls.
Sunset Circle GI Robin Sunset Circle
Vegetated swales and infiltration basins were constructed at the Sunset Circle parking lot to reduce stormwater flow to adjacent Lake Merced. The green infrastructure was installed in 2006, and from 2012 to 2014 stormwater flow exiting the system was monitored.

Green Infrastructure provides multiple benefits to the communities including:

  • Enhances community space and beautifies streets
  • Improves street conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians
  • Increases biodiversity and brings green to our streets
  • Cleans groundwater
  • Creates green jobs
  • Public education
  • Reduces urban heat (Heat Island Effect)
  • Improves air quality
  • Reduces energy consumption
  • Improves pedestrian safety/traffic calming
  • Reduces wastewater treatment costs
  • Creates a more livable habitat for birds, native plants and residents


Last updated: 12/18/2020 3:28:48 PM