Great Lakes Green Streets Guidebook

This guidebook, published by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), provides examples of roadways projects within the Great Lakes Watershed that utilize green infrastructure methods to improve water quality and reduce stormwater runoff. Developed as a complement to the Low Impact Development Manual for Michigan, the guidebook offers support to municipalities interested in planning, designing, and constructing green streets.

The guide begins with a discussion of the opportunities for green infrastructure planning and the challenges that local and regional planning agencies (specifically Metropolitan Planning Organizations) may face, such as funding shortfalls, parking requirements, and site design constraints. It provides direction on how these agencies can move forward with plans by strategically leveraging funding and identifying the right options and designs to meet their objectives. Chapter 3 describes green street techniques with demonstrated success including:

  • Bioretention/bioswales: areas or channels utilizing vegetation to clean stormwater runoff);
  • Native plant grow zones: vegetation areas that improve water quality, habitat, and reduce stormwater runoff volume; and
  • Permeable pavement: porous surface that drains water into a storage reservoir to facilitate stormwater infiltration.

The guidebook also includes 26 case studies showcasing projects from the Great Lakes regions that utilized green street techniques. Each case study describes the green technique used, the outcome of the project, the funding mechanisms that supported the project, who sponsored and designed the project, and any implementation challenges. Each case study also includes contact information for anyone interested in learning more. 



Publication Date: August 2013

Related Organizations:

  • Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG)

Related Toolkits:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Case study

States Affected:


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