Ship Canal Water Quality Project in Seattle Earns Envision Platinum Rating

The Ship Canal Water Quality Project includes a 2.7-mile, 18-ft and 10-in internal-diameter tunnel that will extend from Ballard to Wallingford. Left: Ballard Tunnel Segment. Right: Wallingford Shaft Site. Photos supplied in December 2022 courtesy Seattle Public Utilities.

Seattle Public Utilities’ Ship Canal Water Quality Project has been awarded Envision Platinum for sustainability. This project had verified achievements across several areas of the Envision framework, and in particular, it will bring significant water quality improvements to prevent 75 million gallons of polluted stormwater and sewage from entering the region’s waterways on average each year.

Public Utilities and King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division are completing an underground storage tunnel to reduce the amount of polluted stormwater runoff and sewage that flows in the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Bay, and Lake Union from the sewer system.

In some parts of Seattle (as with many other places), stormwater and sewage share a set of pipes — a combined sewer system which, during heavy storm/rain events, overflows when pipe capacity is exceeded. Untreated sewage and stormwater then flow directly into the Ship Canal, posing public health concerns and harming fish, wildlife, and the environment. The Ship Canal Water Quality Project is crucial for keeping the waterways clean and protecting human health and the environment over the long term.

This project is funded in part by the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Environmental Protection Agency through the State Revolving Fund and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans. The project’s 2.7-mile, 18’10”-diameter tunnel will be able to capture and temporarily hold more than 29 million gallons of stormwater and sewage during heavy rains. As the heavy rains subside, flows will be sent to King County’s West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Magnolia for treatment.

View the full announcement in our Project Directory.

LAX Automated People Mover Project earns Envision Gold for Sustainability

An electric train system that runs on a 2.25-mile elevated guideway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the latest recipient of an Envision Gold Award for sustainability from ISI. The Automated People Mover (APM) project will connect six stations, three of which are located inside the Central Terminal Area (CTA) and three outside. LAX broke ground on the APM in March 2019, and the project is scheduled to open for passenger service in 2023.

The APM will provide enhanced connection and an improved user experience for an anticipated 30 million passengers each year. The system will also help alleviate congestion in the surrounding communities.


“The LAX Automated People Mover is coming to life right before our eyes as the centerpiece of our multibillion-dollar airport modernization program, with a sharp focus on building a sustainable LAX for the future of our city,” said Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles World Airports. “This transformative transportation system will remove cars from the road, help ease traffic congestion around our Central Terminal Area, and create a reliable way for our tens of millions of passengers to access the airport.”

“This project builds on a robust vision for sustainability, entirely transforming the way passengers move around and through Los Angeles International Airport and significantly reducing the reliance on automobiles for ground access, said Melissa Peneycad, ISI managing director. “All that is achieved broadly for community sustainability, quality of life, stakeholder involvement, and energy use on this project make it a well-deserved recipient of the Envision Gold Award.”

The project had Envision verified-achievements in areas such as planning for sustainable communities, improving community quality of life, stakeholder engagement, and use of renewable energy.

View the full announcement in our Project Directory.

Downtown Redmond Link Extension Earns Envision Platinum Award for Sustainability

Downtown Redmond Station construction progress October 11, 2022. Photo courtesy Sound Transit.

Sound Transit’s new light rail project that will bring service to downtown Redmond, Washington, has been awarded an Envision Platinum Award, with sustainable achievements across five areas of Envision. Sound Transit is building the extension with parters who include Jacobs (Lead Design Firm), Stacy and Witbeck/Kuney, a Joint Venture; WSP, Hatch LTK, Hensel Phelps, and Modern Railway Systems.

The Downtown Redmond Link Extension Project (DRLE) is a 3.4-mile light rail extension that includes new surface and elevated guideway structures, stations at Marymoor Village and Downtown Redmond, a parking garage, and associated utility, drainage, environmental, and roadway improvements. Currently under construction, this project will extend Sound Transit’s 2 line from the future Redmond Technology Station providing residents and commuters in Redmond with direct light rail service to Overlake, Bellevue, Mercer Island, downtown Seattle, the University of Washington, Northgate, Lynnwood, SeaTac Airport and Federal Way.


“Doing this well on the first attempt at Envision verification is testament to Sound Transit’s long and deep commitment to excellence in sustainability. We are proud of this achievement and look forward to continuing our work to provide environmentally friendly public transit that connects people throughout the Puget Sound region to where they live, work and play.”

— Kimberly Farley, Sound Transit Chief System Officer

“SWK and Jacobs are excited to achieve Envision Platinum for the Sound Transit Downtown Redmond Link Extension project. Exceeding the original goal of Envision Silver and earning Envision Platinum recognition is a testament to the collective vision of Sound Transit, WSP, SWK and Jacobs and their pursuit of continual sustainability improvement,. We are very proud to be a part of this tremendous effort to advance more sustainable and resilient infrastructure and deliver a project that adds lasting value to the region.”

— Zach Adams, SWK Deputy Project Manager

“We are pleased to announce an Envision Platinum Award for the Downtown Redmond Link Extension project. The high level of stakeholder engagement, the emphasis on renewable energy sources, and the importance given to protecting the environment during construction are among the sustainable achievements that have set this project apart.”

— Melissa Peneycad, ISI managing director

This award recognizes Envision-verified achievements on this project related to:

— Providing sustainable transportation options;
— Empowering communities through meaningful engagement;
— Using renewable energy;
— Improving the quality and reliability of infrastructure services; and
— Protecting the environment.

View the full announcement in our Project Directory.

York Region’s 2nd Concession Project receives Envision Bronze Award

ISI has awarded an Envision Bronze Award for sustainable infrastructure to the 2nd Concession Project, a major north-south arterial corridor under the jurisdiction of the Regional Municipality of York (York Region). Located in the Town of East Gwillimbury, this is the second project in Ontario to earn an Envision award for sustainability and the first project in the transportation sector in the province to do so.

The project in brief

The 2nd Concession project—the largest project ever undertaken by York Region’s Transportation Services Department—was a necessary investment in infrastructure to accommodate the tremendous growth in York Region and the Town of East Gwillimbury in particular. The six-kilometer corridor, extending from Bristol Road to Queensville Sideroad, crosses the Rogers Reservoir, a popular conservation area and recreational trail in the East Holland River watershed, which the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority manages.

This project widened the 2nd Concession from two lanes to four and included trails, three bridges, retaining walls, active transportation facilities, and stormwater management.

Some of the unique elements of this project included:

—An elevated wooden boardwalk through wetlands and marshes connecting forests with growing residential communities.
—Benches, bike racks, and a flagstone meeting area.
—A wooden-clad pedestrian bridge in the Rogers Reservoir overlooks the historic canal and lock system, which the project protected and preserved.
—Bridges spanning an active rail corridor and the Holland River.
—Curvilinear and terraced tree-patterned retaining walls.
—Dedicated cycle tracks (the first in the Region).


“Congratulations to York Region and its project partners on earning an Envision Bronze award for sustainable infrastructure for the 2nd Concession project. This award results from tremendous teamwork, leadership, and community collaboration. Everyone in the area should be proud of this achievement. Protecting and enhancing the corridor area as an important resource for residents was given high priority in the planning and construction of the project, with a context-sensitive design maintaining or improving the natural systems and community quality of life aspects receiving careful attention.”
—  Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s managing director.

“Yesterday was the first time we took our dogs for a walk along 2nd Concession. The view from the bridge is amazing. The viewing platforms on the bridge are a nice touch. The boardwalk for the trail blends in well with the environment. You and your staff have done a wonderful job on this project.”

— R.W. a long-time resident living in the project corridor

This project had verified sustainability achievements in the following areas, among others: meaningful stakeholder engagement; improved infrastructure integration; improved mobility, safety and access; and wetland restoration.

View the full announcement in our Project Directory.

Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure Represented on United Nations Bureau for Sustainable Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnerships

Tony Bonnici, Officer in Charge and Head of the Public-Private Partnerships Section at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), with two of the newly elected observers, Doris Chevalier, CEO INFRABOOST representing the private sector perspective (left) and Melissa Peneycad, Managing Director of ISI representing the Civil Society/NGO perspective (right).

The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s (ISI) managing director, Melissa Peneycad, has been appointed to the Bureau (executive board) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships.

The Working Party identifies and promotes international Public-Private Partnership (PPP) best practices and develops and evaluates a capacity-building and policy advisory program for public- and private-sector officials, emphasizing low and middle-income countries. The Working Party prepares standards and policy recommendations for consideration and adoption by UNECE’s Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness, and PPPs (CICPPP).

Tony Bonnici, Officer in Charge at the Cooperation and Partnerships Section within the UNECE, is delighted by Melissa’s appointment. “The Working Party identified a need to bring in experts from other non-governmental sectors to round out the Bureau’s expertise, and to this end, one representative from the private sector, academia, and civil society can be appointed to serve on the Bureau as an observer or non-voting member,” he explains. “After being selected by her global peers, Melissa was appointed civil society representative. I am thrilled with this outcome as she brings a true depth of experience and technical expertise to the Bureau.”

“I am honoured to serve on the Bureau of the Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships,” says Melissa Peneycad. “I look forward to drawing on my years of experience collaborating with global stakeholders on ground-breaking sustainable development initiatives related to infrastructure and PPPs to contribute to the aims of the Working Party and the larger UN community.”

In recent years, the UNECE achieved considerable prominence for its work in PPPs, especially concerning how PPPs can be used to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its ‘PPPs for the SDGs’ approach assists governments and their private-sector partners and investors in designing and implementing PPPs that provide value for people, value for the planet, and comply with the UN SDGs.

PPPs for the SDGs promote access and equity; are economically practical and fiscally responsible; achieve environmental sustainability and resilience; are replicable; and include a broad range of stakeholders, including those most vulnerable. A robust evaluation methodology and associated guidance support the development and implementation of PPPs for the SDGs.

Melissa was instrumental in developing and operationalizing the UNECE PPP Evaluation Methodology for the SDGs. Her work began in 2020 when she was asked to co-chair an international project team of more than 100 experts assembled to develop this Methodology. Since its launch in 2021, the Methodology has been deployed in more than 20 countries and is the primary tool used to evaluate PPPs for UNECE’s annual infrastructure award.

Melissa has the full support of the Washington, DC-headquartered ISI to her role on the Bureau of the Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships. She also has considerable experience developing and implementing other sustainability strategies, frameworks, standards, evaluation methodologies, and programs that have raised the bar for excellent performance from an environmental, social, governance (ESG), and sustainability perspective. Notably, her work with ISI’s signature Envision® sustainable infrastructure framework and rating system has improved the sustainability, resiliency, and equity of hundreds of infrastructure projects and PPPs across the United States, Canada, and overseas.