Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure (GI) is infrastructure that uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water and create healthier urban environments. At the scale of a city or county, green infrastructure refers to the patchwork of natural areas that provides habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water. At the scale of a neighborhood or project site, green infrastructure refers to stormwater management systems and features that mimic nature by absorbing and storing water. Learn more about green infrastructure in this fact sheet.

Examples of Green Infrastructure Features:

Rain gardenRain Gardens (or bioretention areas) are shallow, recessed, and vegetated basins that collect and absorb runoff from rooftop, sidewalks, and streets. These landscapes contain soil of a specified biotreatment mix that slows, retains, and filters stormwater.

Interested in building a rain garden for your home? See a demonstration garden on Donnelly Avenue or check out this homeowner's guide "Slow it. Spread it. Sink it!" to teach you ways to protect your property and the the environment from the effects of stormwater runoff. 

Permeable pavementPermeable pavements infiltrate, treat, and/or store rainwater where it falls. These pre-manufactured pavers allow stormwater to percolate through the pavement and into the subgrade. Examples of these systems include interlocking pavers or other paving systems with a gap between the pavers filled with crushed aggregate or similar porous material.

Stormwater curb extentionStormwater curb extensions (also referred as a stormwater bulb out) are urban rain gardens located at crosswalk intersections that collect and absorb runoff from sidewalks, parking lots, and streets. They can also encourage traffic calming and promote pedestrian visibility and safety by shortening the distance for people to walk across the street.

Disconnected downspoutDisconnected downspout is a simple practice of allowing your downspout to terminate in (or drain toward) a landscaped area instead of connecting it underground where it would bypass any landscaped areas and drain rainwater to the street. 

CisternsRainwater harvesting systems collect and store rainwater for later use, such as for irrigation or toilet flushing. These systems slow and reduce runoff while providing a limited water supply.

GI in your neighborhoodGreen Infrastructure in Your Neighborhood
Check out the Green Infrastructure Map which shows the current and upcoming green infrastructure projects in Burlingame!

The Future is Green!

GI PlanThe City has developed a Green Infrastructure Plan that describes how the City will shift its impervious surfaces and storm drain infrastructure from “gray” to “green.” Gray infrastructure refers to traditional storm drain infrastructure, where stormwater runoff flows directly from impervious surfaces and into storm drains which feed directly to local waterways, such as the San Francisco Bay. Green infrastructure is a more resilient, sustainable system that provides several benefits:
  • Reduces stormwater runoff by dispersing it to vegetated areas
  • Improves water quality by removing pollutants
  • Reduces localized flooding 
  • Promotes infiltration and groundwater recharge
  • Collects runoff for plant watering
  • Improves the longevity of the road and other public assets
  • Enhances property and neighborhood aesthetics
  • Increases biodiversity and habitat for native plants and animals