Green Stormwater Infrastructure Along a Post-Industrial Corridor in Philadelphia

American Street Industrial Corridor Regional Stormwater Management Study


American Street Industrial Corridor Regional Stormwater Management Study


Philadelphia, PA


Philadelphia Water Department

AKRF is conducting a Stormwater Planning Study to identify the most cost-effective stormwater management practices (SMPs) along the North American Street post-industrial corridor. Beyond the impacts created by reduced stormwater runoff, this analysis also considers the potential socio-economic impacts that widespread implementation of SMPs could have on the area. The study balances the client’s goal of managing as much stormwater as possible with the community’s goals of revitalizing the corridor and surrounding neighborhoods.

Vacancy, crime, and infrastructure conflicts are just a subset of the constraints that AKRF has to maneuver throughout the planning process. In addition, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission has recently released new zoning regulations for the area—suggesting an industrial/commercial mixed-use. AKRF developed four unique strategies designed to manage stormwater throughout the study area:

  • Modified stormwater bumpouts within the wide North American Street right-of-way including street trees and a bike lane while maintaining truck traffic, parking lanes, and industrial egress
  • Large subsurface facilities located on school or park sites intended to manage runoff from several nearby blocks via new green sewers
  • Right-of-way SMPs aimed to create green walking corridors through the residential neighborhoods of the study area
  • Vegetated surface practices located on vacant lots that show little redevelopment potential

AKRF continued the analysis by ascertaining ways to strategically construct projects to both reduce costs and spur social or economic development. Implementation of the Stormwater Improvement Plan focuses on geographic clusters of SMPs selected on the basis of natural boundaries, development patterns, other planned projects, and areas of interest of community groups. Significant cost savings can be achieved by bundling multiple projects and engaging community partners.

By taking a multi-objective approach to stormwater management planning, we made recommendations for enhanced public amenities; more public space; improved pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular circulation and safety; and public art—all of which help stimulate economic development.

Many of the proposed projects are vegetated, offering significant aesthetic benefits and triple bottom line benefits including enhancing property values throughout the study area. We understand that sustainable design can be beautiful as well as environmentally beneficial, and that aesthetics play an important role of integrating stormwater management sites into the urban framework.

The rendering below shows an example cross section along the North American Street Corridor:


Continuing services for this project include:

  • Feasibility investigations
  • Partnership development, stakeholder engagement, and outreach
  • Review of potential to coordinate design/construction with other planned capital improvements in the area
  • Reconciliation of GSI concepts with other corridor enhancement plans
  • Perform Phase I Environmental Site Assessments for vacant lot candidate sites
  • Compilation and review of existing subsurface utility mapping to identify conflicts, refine drainage areas, and SMP footprints
  • Identification of potential funding partnerships with the Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, or other third party groups

Sustainability Overview