Parklets are popping up all over Seattle for the annual Park(ing) Day, which occurs the third Friday of each September.
More than 50 on-street city parking spots are transformed by various organizations and individuals into miniature public spaces.
was constructing its Bees to Salmon: Exploring Urban Rainwater project outside the 12th Ave Arts building early Friday afternoon. A Little Collective is comprised of former and current University of Washington landscape architecture students.
The project is being sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, RainWise and Cedar Grove, with A Little Collective partnering with the CapitolHill Housing EcoDistrict, The International Living Futures Institute, Seattle 2030 Districts, Seattle Parks Foundation and Cascadia Edible Landscapes.
The rain garden provides plants and public seating, with a bicycle generating the “rain” showers for this two-day parklet project.“I thought it would be really fun and whimsical in the public realm,” said A Little Collective member Roxanne Lee.
It’s a good way to get people, plants and water together in the street, said Stevie Koepp, and among the plants are facts about fish, bees and other pollinators on wooden signs that look like their subjects, added Katy Scherrer, both with A Little Collective.
The project creates a public space while also allowing A Little Collective to test its design for using urban rainwater for not only gardening, but also filtering out harmful substances that would normally be gathered from rain running down the street.
The original plan was to use contaminated water, Lee said, but the collective decided to instead source its water from the 12th Ave Arts building. The bicycle-powered rain shower has a lot of spray, she said.
“So, we didn’t want to spray stormwater all over people,” she said.
Seattle 2030 District is a building district downtown that is working to reduce environmental impacts caused by construction and operations. That means energy and water conservation methods and reducing carbon emissions.
The district has launched a new Green Stormwater initiative, which takes similar approaches to cleaning stormwater as what A Little Collective is doing, said Amy Waterman, Green Stormwater program manager, who assisted the collective on Friday.
Waterman said Green Stormwater recently tested a Splash Boxx at the Port of Seattle, a steel-box rain garden that catches water coming off of a metal roof. The Splash Boxx is still at the port, but the plan is to find a new site there to continue testing. Water tested after it went through the rain garden had 2,000 times less zinc, Waterman said, compared to water tested that didn’t go through the natural filter.