.Sunset Village already has a rural feel, especially in parts of the neighborhood without curbs.
Residents love their curbless streets, like Hammersley Av.
Imagine how much more verdant it would look, with rain gardens bordering these streets.
Madison has a rain garden program, where the City builds the gardens when streets are resurfaced--sharing the costs with residents. That means a neighborhood might have to wait many years.
But on curbless streets, gardens and swales (depressions) can be built now--with less cost, and only minor modifications to the gutter area.
For example, the area bounded by Mineral Point, Westmorland, Hillcrest, and Larkin is a shallow basin--ideal for collecting runoff. This area channels water towards the stream in the park, then westward towards the Hillcrest-Upland Greenway.
If more runoff could be retained and stored in the ground here, it would improve chances of restoring the little creek in the park (right).
A similar project is being planned for Milwaukee: "One five-block stretch of a south-side street could be transformed into a 'green street' and become an urban laboratory for storm-water management practices, under a design proposal from three Marquette University engineering students. South 6th St... would be reconstructed so it could hold rain where it falls and use it in growing trees and flowers and replenishing groundwater." More
Mt. Olive Church--a watershed opportunity
The large Mt. Olive parking area lies at the headwaters of the little basin in Sunset Village. Winter snow piles store large amounts of water that should be released to the ground, not the stormsewers.
Redevelopment of this site will probably require better stormwater handling measures--but residents of the neighborhood must guarantee this happens.
Few neighborhoods are the home for a miniature watershed, as is the case in Sunset Village. Improving watersheds doesn't just beautify the neighborhood--it protects our lakes and water supply as well. And in the long run, it will reduce engineering costs for stormwater control.