The Vancouver Green Streets Program

This innovative scheme encourages local residents to sponsor a traffic circle or “bulge” in their vicinity. Whenever one of these traffic-calming devices is installed, a green sign goes up, inviting neighbours to apply for the right to plant it.

Once a space is allocated, the city provides a list of drought-tolerant plants from which the permit-holder can make an initial free selection, and will even provide the manpower to install the plants if desired. Ongoing maintenance and any additional plants then become the responsibility of the gardener, who is identified by a yellow sign on the site.

The program holds an annual get-together for participants and posts photographs of successful gardens on its website at

As the scheme becomes more widely known, competition for these public spaces is heating up. “People are calling as soon as the circles go in,” reports Terry Dixon, administrator of the program.

Even boulevard plantings are getting the green light from city engineers, following the success of a pilot project on Windsor Street. The Green Streets website spells out some practical rules such as building raised beds to avoid damage to underground services and leaving easy access for pedestrians. Beyond that, it’s effectively wide-open territory for green-fingered residents.

To find out more, visit the website or phone Terry Dixon at 604-873-7204.