Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin | 29 October : 12

Photo is from the Design Guidelines for Greening Surface Parking Lots (city of Toronto)

How can a parking lot be more like a park?

When you picture a parking lot, you probably see an expanse of asphalt designed to maximize the number of vehicle spaces. Not very green.

Conventionally designed parking lots fail to protect pedestrian safety. Landscaping is poor to nonexistent. They contribute to the urban heat island effect, flooding and stormwater pollution. And they’re eyesores.

The Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) would like to change all that. The TPA aims to create “community-centric parking locations” which “reflect the communities in which they are located,” according to TPA president Lorne Persiko. .

The Green P is striving to become a deeper shade of green by incorporating elements that enhance pedestrian safety and comfort, increase shade and improve landscaping, improve onsite stormwater management, and reduce the urban heat island effect. The Design Guidelines for Greening Surface Parking Lots, by Toronto City Planning, provide the tools to make this happen.

Follow the TPA on Facebook or Twitter.

(Click here to find out more about community-centric parking locations... )

POLL: Is there a green parking lot policy in your community?

Contribute to the bulletin!

Let us know if you have a green infrastructure project or story that should be featured in the blog, a news item you'd like to share, or an event that Umbrella subscribers would be interested in. Email us or contribute to the thread in The Umbrella.

Latest news

Webinar series kicks off! This Friday, 31 October from 12-1 EDT, participate in the first presentation of the Umbrella webinar series. Christine Zimmer and Phil James of Credit Valley Conservation will make The business case for change: the need for innovative stormwater solutions. Register now, or view the entire program here!

Should paved front lawns be permitted? Some Calgarians are creating "unidriveways" by paving over their lawns and grass that grows between parking pads. Opinions are split, but many recognize that it increases stormwater pollution and the chance of flooding.

Green streets in Toronto. The City of Toronto has released an RFP for consultants to create  green streets technical guidelines for the appropriate location, design, construction, and operation and maintenance of green infrastructure elements, and advise the City on how to incorporate these elements into right of ways.

Your city’s best defence against climate change: nature. The National Wildlife Federation released a report confirming green infrastructure is often less expensive and more efficient than artificial efforts to protect coastal cities from extreme weather. Researchers find that wetlands, coral reefs, and sand dunes are cheaper and more effective at protecting communities than artificial structures.

Roadside drainage ditches reduce pollution. In a recently completed study, researchers evaluated five Minnesota swales, measuring how well water flows through soil at up to 20 locations within each. A key finding: grassed swales are significantly better at absorbing water than expected, which may reduce the need for other, more expensive stormwater management practices, such as ponds or infiltration basins.

Depaving paradise and taking down a parking lot.  Depaving is big news in Hamilton, which has benefited from four recent successful examples. Naturalized areas are better for ecology, and they present hands-on learning opportunities in biology and environmental science.

What's the return on investment for green infrastructure?  There are a lot of reports that detail the economic benefits and cobenefits of green infrastructure. Does anyone have experience estimating the value of a particular project? Discuss it on The Umbrella.


Useful Sites

Water balance. Online tool developed in B.C. shows how properties contribute to runoff pollution in the watershed and what can be done to mitigate their impacts. The creators are travelling across Canada to present the tool to other communities.

Home vulnerability assessment. Released alongside the documentary Weather Gone Wild, this online home assessment questionnaire determines how vulnerable homes are to extreme weather.


Resilient Rainwater Management. 30 October, 2014. Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. Workshop. Ottawa. Part of a cross-country tour by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia demonstrating their Water Balance Express online tool.

The Business Case for Change: the need for innovative stormwater solutions. 31 October, 2014, 12-1pm EDT. Webinar. Christine Zimmer and Phil James, Credit Valley Conservation.

LID Technical Training - Design of Infiltration Practices. 3 November, 2014. Mississauga. Instructed by Dean Young of TRCA and Chris Denich of Aquafor Beech. Full day, hands on training session with real life Ontario examples of LID design and implementation.

Latornell Conservation Symposium. 18-20 November, 2014. Alliston. Syposium theme: Growth and Transformation.

The Umbrella is an online community designed for knowledge-sharing about green stormwater infrastructure. Its members are municipal stormwater professionals, policymakers, academics, engineers, conservation authorities, nonprofits, and interested community members. The Umbrella is managed by Green Communities Canada. Submit an item for an upcoming issue or provide feedback on the bulletin.

Copyright © 2014 RAIN Community Solutions, All rights reserved.


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