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Gay Street Rain Garden

Gay Street Rain Garden


When improvements were being made to Gay Street in downtown Columbus, an aesthetically-pleasing and low maintenance stormwater solution was needed.

Services Involved

  • Sustainable Design
  • Storm Sewer Design
  • Public Involvement
  • Lighting Design
  • Signing and Pavement Marking
  • Maintenance of Traffic


2007 Project of the Year

American Public Works Association (APWA), Ohio

2009 Outstanding Achievement Award

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Ohio

Gay Street Rain Garden

The improvements to Gay Street from Front Street to Cleveland Avenue in downtown Columbus, Ohio, converted the operation of Gay Street from one-way to two-way traffic flow and added aesthetic improvements studied by the city’s Downtown Development Office.


ms engineers designed an urban rain garden into the drainage system, which channels and filters stormwater runoff to irrigate streetscape plantings. This cuts down on the need for maintenance crews to use city water for landscape irrigation. For the city of Columbus it was the first rain garden developed for a public works project.


The drainage system consists of a new 36-inch storm sewer to facilitate future sewer separation. The design of the storm sewer was complicated by a narrow right-of-way, the presence of many existing utilities, and regulatory space requirements between sewers and existing waterlines.


Overall, the aesthetic improvements included roadway bump-outs and treed median areas, limited drainage improvements, decorative crosswalk treatments, ADA compliant curb ramps with limited sidewalk work and street lighting.


The $7 million construction project was designed in nine months, and had an accelerated design schedule review process with additional coordination by the city.



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