The City of Paso Robles Wins Big by Going Green


March 3, 2017 – The Central Coast Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) awarded the City of Paso Robles with a Project of the Year Award in the category of Transportation: $2-5 Million for their 12th Street Green Street Improvements project.

The 12th Street Green Street Project is a five-block corridor that spans both residential and commercial uses. This grant-funded city improvement project aims to reduce the impacts of storm flows and sedimentation on the Salinas River, promote increased
groundwater recharge, decrease local flooding, and improve pedestrian mobility and safety. Decades ago, 12th Street was built in the path of Fern Canyon Creek, which drains an approximately 130723_12th Street Improvements (10)500-acre watershed. When it rained, stormwater flowed down the roadway, damaging the street and carrying sediment and pollutants downstream to the Salinas River.

Cannon was selected to provide innovative design, survey, and construction management services to:

  • Reduce the overall pavement width;
  • Replace impervious areas with low-maintenance pervious areas where feasible;
  • Provide two vehicle travel lanes;
  • Provide parking on both sides of the street;
  • Provide sidewalks on both sides of the street;
  • Provide ADA-compliant ramps and crosswalks;
  • Identify solutions to reduce stormwater flow;
  • Review potential traffic-calming features; and
  • Identify the approximate location of existing street trees from an aerial survey as well as the potential for additional street trees and/or ornamental or bioretention plantings within Right-of-Way.

The new 12th Street corridor incorporates low impact development (LID) features such as bioretention planters, permeable paver surfaces, and dry wells to capture and clean stormwater flowing from roads and percolate it into the soil to eventually become groundwater. The plants selected for the bioretention areas are powerful natural filters that can tolerate both seasonal flooding and periods of drought during Paso’s hot, dry summer months. Many of the plants selected for 12th Street’s landscape are California native species that provide biodiversity, combat climate change, and support wildlife habitats for native pollinators and birds that depend upon specific, local plant species for survival.

A series of interpretive signs illustrate the story of the newly designed street, explaining how it fits within the watershed, how it serves to recharge groundwater, and other positive impacts on the Salinas River.