SEA street
n. A road that uses Street Edge Alternatives: swales lined with rocks and filled with soil and plants to reduce storm-water runoff into nearby streams or ponds.
The most novel new sidewalk treatment may be in Seattle, where traditional curb and gutter sidewalks have recently been joined by experimental "sea streets," in which swales or ponds with water-absorbing soil are placed between street and sidewalk to reduce run-off and aid salmon recovery.
—Patricia Leigh Brown, “Whose Sidewalk Is It, Anyway?,” The New York Times, January 05, 2003
2002 (earliest)
Botanical beauty aside, these streetside gardens are hard at work. And that's what attracts tour groups of government types from as far away as New Zealand. Dubbed "SEA Street" for Street Edge Alternatives, the 660-foot- long "superblock" at Northwest 117th Street and Second Avenue was a prototype for controlling stormwater runoff. …

Some neighborhoods around here don't have stormwater drains. Rain pours off roofs, driveways and streets and washes into ditches, carrying pollutants into Pipers Creek.

"Ultimately, it all ends up in the Sound or the lake," said Denise Andrews, a strategic adviser for Seattle Public Utilities' drainage and wastewater programs. "Our objective is to now engineer our streets in a new way. We are mimicking nature's functions. We'll never replace the conifer forests that existed."

North and south of this block, lawns edge up to asphalt, with parking strips in front of homes. On SEA Street, the driving lane is narrower with limited angle parking. Swales are lined with rocks and chock full of plants, and they are covered with a soil mix that imitates the "duff" of a forest floor. The swales are connected with short pieces of underground pipe.

After taking measurements for two seasons — one dry, the other wet — a University of Washington professor found that the design reduced runoff by 98 percent.
—Margaret Taus, “Innovative design cuts street runoff,” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 20, 2002
Major chunks of the city (South Lake Union and High Point) and large segments of our basic urban infrastructure (roads, bridges, drainage systems) will be redeveloped in the coming years as well. The mayor sees this as an opportunity to work with the private sector and neighborhoods to practice "restorative redevelopment," which will incorporate new products, technologies and approaches that are healthier for people and the environment.

For example, city departments and residents recently collaborated on the Street Edge Alternative pilot project in northwest Seattle. This innovative project features attractive swales — miniature marshes filled with trees and native plants — on each side of the street to filter pollutants and slow the flow of storm water into Piper's Creek. The alternative street design also slows traffic, creating a safer and more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly environment. And it adds green, improving quality of life (and likely property values) in the neighborhood.
—Steve Nicholas, “Sustainable Seattle,” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 11, 2002