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Green Infrastructure




diagram showing intersection of economic, environment, and quality of life at Green Infrastructure


The City and County of Denver is making green infrastructure a fundamental part of the City’s long-term stormwater management strategy by looking at ways to incorporate large-scale green infrastructure and site-scale green infrastructure.

Benefits of the green infrastructure, regardless of scale, include improved water quality as well as better air quality, reduced flooding risks, urban heat island effect mitigation, reduced energy demands, climate change resiliency, and enhanced community livability.


Large Scale

Network of parks, open space, floodplains, and constructed facilities that mimic natural systems by using vegetation, soils, and roots to filter stormwater runoff


Site Scale

Smaller built controls such as
stormwater planters, green gutters, and green alleys that slow and treat stormwater runoff before it reaches creeks and rivers


Current Projects

Denver Public Works and Denver Parks & Recreation are improving water quality and constructing a new playground at La Lomita Park, formerly known as Asbury and Tejon Park.

Asbury & Tejon Park was converted from a drainage way into a neighborhood park in early 1970s. The park continues to act as a critical stormwater detention facility for nearly 280 acres of the community surrounding the park, but provides very little water quality benefit due to the engineered concrete channel in the center of the park. This project will remove that concrete channel and relocate it to the edge of the park where it will be rebuilt as a naturalized, vegetated water quality channel that could include play features and educational components for nearby schools. In addition, a recreation lawn and playground will be rebuilt to be more functional for residents and community members.

Denver Public Works, in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Transportation, will be designing and building water quality facilities along South Federal Boulevard using the Ultra Urban Green Infrastructure Guidelines.

The South Federal Green Boulevard Project will provide water quality treatment for a one mile stretch on the South Federal Boulevard right-of-way, adjacent property impermeable areas, as well as approximately 20 acres of impermeable areas from surrounding streets and properties that are draining to inlets in South Federal Boulevard between West Alameda Avenue and West Mississippi Avenue.

Learn more and get involved 

The Westwood Via Verde is a neighborhood greenway that will create a connected system of bike lanes, sidewalks, and park pathways in Westwood. The Westwood Via Verde will also enhance water quality, decrease heat, beautify the neighborhood, celebrate culture, and improve the health and safety of Westwood residents.

Final Vision Plan & Priority Projects (PDF - December 2018)

Upon completion of the overall vision for the entire Via Verde Route, several priority projects were identified in order to provide guidance for shorter-term implementation of projects by partnerships with the City, non-profit organizations, and community-led groups. Priority projects include improvements at the following locations:

  1. W Kentucky Ave from Morrison Rd to S Perry St
  2. Tennessee Ave and King Street at Xcel Easement, from Library to S Irving St
  3. W Kentucky Ave at S Knox Ct and S Irving St
  4. Castro Elementary — creating a "green alley"

The Westwood Neighborhood Plan, adopted in 2016, recommended creation of an “intuitive and memorable network” to promote the use of more multi-modal transportation options and increase neighborhood connectivity. The Neighborhood Greenway is one of the transformative projects identified in the plan to support a Connected, Celebrated and Resilient Westwood. Read the Neighborhood Plan

The greenway will also connect a proposed pocket park at Kentucky Avenue and Irving Street, a collaboration between Denver Parks & Recreation, the Trust For Public Land (TPL) and Cool Connected Westwood. The intersection of Kentucky Ave. and Irving St. will become a part of a pedestrian greenway, dramatically improving safe access in the future. Many of the outreach events are in collaboration with this project. See planning details from Denver Parks & Rec under Kentucky & Irving

Meeting Materials

Fiesta #3 — December 13, 2018
Boards (PDF - English/español)

Fiesta #2 — November 9, 2018
Community Input / Aporte de la Comunidad (PDF - English/español)

Beginning in 2019, the City and County of Denver will begin construction to improve the stormwater system along Marion Street. This project aims to reduce flood risks in the Whittier Neighborhood and is part of the larger 33rd Street Outfall project. Denver Public Works also plans to build green infrastructure along Marion Street as the stormwater improvements occur. A public process will inform green infrastructure locations and vegetation design.

Next Event

Planter Design and Vegetation Education: July 28, 2018

Join the Denver Botanic Gardens and Denver Public Works team to learn about which plants are most appropriate for the Marion Street green infrastructure facilities. Provide feedback about vegetation preferences and design for the facilities.

  • When: Saturday, July 28: 9:00am-11:00am
  • Where: Corner of 30th Avenue and Marion Street.

Meeting #2: June 20, 2018

The project team returned to the Whittier Community Meeting to share what they heard in the first meeting and discuss green infrastructure locations that have been identified based on community input. The team also provided a brief overview of the upcoming stormwater system improvement project that will begin in 2019 along Marion Street.

Meeting #1: April 18, 2018

The project team joined the Whittier Neighborhood Community Meeting to discuss the project and better understand local resident’s concerns and interest in the project.

Meeting materials:

As part of the 21st Street + Wynkoop Street Design Plan visioning, 21st Street from Benedict Fountain Park to Coors Field was highlighted as an excellent opportunity for a street to be transformed to a strong pedestrian and bicycle focused green street.

Site plan for project

See the Site Plan

The intersection of 21st at Broadway, between Champa and Stout Streets, was selected as a pilot location to be closed to vehicular traffic and repurposed to benefit bicyclists and pedestrians and to include innovative green infrastructure facilities. The project will include

  • a water quality planter basin
  • segments of green alley and green gutter separating pedestrians and bicycle lanes
  • a plaza with tree trenches and Silva Cells

Site plan for project

Under construction, Spring 2018

The project is expected to be completed in Fall of 2018.  

The Lowell & Evans Green Infrastructure project is the first neighborhood water quality retrofit in the Denver metro area. The site was identified, with the assistance of neighborhood groups, as an ideal location to pilot a multi-beneficial, neighborhood scale vegetated water quality facility. The project will transform approximate 10,000 square foot of impervious asphalt into a neighborhood screen space. The space will include a vegetated water quality facility that will treat up to 1.6 acres of adjacent streets and a small multi-purpose space that could be used for a variety of community uses.

The initial design and feedback period has come to a close (see meeting materials below). The project team is now analyzing project technical and financial feasibility.

Public Meeting #3: April 10, 2018

Final design meeting. Feedback was collected about three different design alternatives as well potential project materials

Meeting materials:

Public Meeting #2: October 28, 2017

Street event at project location. Collected further feedback about concerns and ideas for project.

Meeting materials:

Public Meeting #1: August 17, 2017

Kick-off meeting at Harvey Park Recreation Center. General introduction to project with focus on collecting feedback from the community about interest in project and general concerns about the project space.

Meeting Materials:

River North (RiNo) Park is a new park located in the River North Area of downtown Denver, at the intersection of 35th and Arkins Court. The park is envisioned as a community recreation focal point, and will feature a large multi-purpose green space, distributed play features, a water quality feature, artwork, and three repurposed buildings for community uses among other gathering spaces and park amenities. 

The water quality feature will treat the runoff from Festival Street, 35th Ave, and the majority of the buildings and impervious areas within the park, and will be integrated into the design of the park as an amenity.

Parks & Recreation Projects: River North Park

Brighton Boulevard has been a central transportation thoroughfare connecting Downtown Denver and I-70 for more than 70 years. Now, Brighton Blvd is being redeveloped to reflect the changing character of the neighborhood and to act as a model for future street redevelopment.

pouring concrete for stormwater planter on Brighton next to roadway

Stormwater planter under construction

New road features will include protected bike lanes, continuous sidewalks, new stoplights and protected turn lanes, many new trees, and will be the first major street redevelopment in Colorado to include street-side stormwater planters (SSPs) at such a large scale. The first phase of the project will include more than 40 SSPs along with dozens of new street trees and other pedestrian amenities.

NDCC: Brighton Boulevard Project

As part of the overall sustainability strategy for the project, the Water Quality Program worked with Parks & Recreation to design and install three pilot street-side stormwater planters (SSPs) on Josephine Street to the west of the Carla Madison Recreation Center, which opened in 2018. In addition to the planters in the right-of-way, there are on-site stormwater planters to treat plaza and parking lot stormwater runoff.

Parks & Recreation Projects: Carla Madison Recreation Center


Announcing Denver's Green Infrastructure Implementation Strategy

Denver's green infrastructure strategies target multiple pollutants while also enhancing our communities with benefits such as increased open space, improved air quality and connectivity.

This plan includes an overview of our urban watershed, current conditions in Denver's 31 water quality basins, our methodology for prioritizing improvements, and opportunities and projects in each of the basin areas.


Sarah Anderson
Water Quality Program Manager, Denver Public Works

Brian Wethington
Water Quality Project Manager, Denver Public Works