Share your favorite KC Storefront Street Tree Initiative Street Trees Pics!


Lack of Trees Downtown Could Be Hurting Business - KCTV5 - July 18, 2015

Group: lack of trees hurts downtown business - KC Business Journal - July 20, 2015


This Initiative is now a Hack KC - National Day of Civic Hacking Project!  Sign up and join us on June 6-7, 2015 as we develop a sustainable program for ensuring the goals of this Initiative.  Team members include: Dr. Cynthia Annett, Google Earth Outreach Trainer; Rick Usher, City Manager's Office, Scott Lemmon, Google Earth Outreach Trainer; Vladimir Krstic, Kansas City Design Center; Sarah Kraly, Kansas City Design Center; Noelle Morris, Heartland Tree Alliance; Kristen Riott, Bridging the Gap (not all have confirmed attendance but have been involved in the project to date)

HackKC ToolKit:

HackKC - Framing the Problem & Managing Solution Development:

  • Bob King created the Street Tree Initiative Stormboard page as a possible idea curation platform (eg virtual white board)

    Stormboard Template - 8 Step Problem Solving
    • During recent KC Startup Weekend (5/29/2015 - 5/31/2015), Hal Gotfried suggested looking at the Stormboard platform
  • Bob King created a Street Tree Initiative Workspace in Asana and invited Rick Usher via email.
    • Asana is a biz app for managing projects & tasks.

Street Tree Well Standard Drawing

  HackKC Session 6/6/15:

Streetscape Public Art

Storefront Street Tree Initiative HackKC Project Roadmap


This is a community partnership including the City of Kansas City, Mo.'s City Manager's Office, KCBizCare, Parks & Recreation, Bridging the Gap and the Heartland Tree Alliance.  Stakeholders include the Greater Downtown Area Plan (GDAP) Greenspace and Infrastructure Committees.  We have recently (May 2015) engaged the Kansas City Design Center for assistance in developing an implementation plan for the next 2 years.  We are also investigating the possibility of the KCDC students designing alternative tree wells that may include stormwater capture elements.

This Initiative supports the GDAP's 5 Primary Goals:

  1. Create a Walkable Downtown - street trees support walking as the most important mode of transportation and connect districts with safe, walkable pathways.
  2. Double the Population Downtown - street trees support an attractive and dynamic urban experience.
  3. Increase Employment Downtown - street trees support increases in storefront business revenues, draw more customers and promote a pleasant working environment.
  4. Retain and Promote Safe, Authentic Neighborhoods - street trees are part of a successful Crime Prevention Through  Environmental Design (CPTED) program.
  5. Promote Sustainability - street trees improve air and water quality, manage stormwater and mitigate urban "heat island" affects.


The Storefront Street Tree Initiative grew out of the Dead Letter Office suggestion to make it easier to obtain permits to plant street trees in front of commercial businesses on walkable urban streets.

The economic value of street trees to storefront businesses:

A partnership is growing between the Heartland Tree Alliance, KCMO Parks & Recreation, KCMO Public Works, civic activists and KCBizCare and opportunities that already exist are being identified.

Current resources:

As of August 18, 2014, the Initiative is addressing the following:

  • List menu of appropriate street trees - Parks & Recreation Tree List
  • Engage Parks & Recreation in creation of "how to" infographic describing the process of planting a street tree
  • Make this one of the easiest processes for approval, no fee permit submitted by fax or email for review of ADA compliance and check for applicable streetscape plans
  • Describe ADA guidelines for compliance (include PROWAG as described by Meg Conger)
  • Include MOOneCall number for excavation utility locates -
  • Provide spec on street tree planter cut in existing sidewalks - Draft Specification being prepared by DPW & P&R
  • Require compliance with adopted streetscape plans where they exist
  • Engage local business associations
  • Engage Not-for-Profits that provide and plant street trees (18th & McGee example) -
  • Revise the code as necessary
  • Outline property owners maintenance obligation for sidewalks

Current process:

Recent successes:

May 8, 2015 - Overview of Southwest Blvd, McGee Street and Oak Street Plantings on April 23, 2015 - StorefrontStreetTreeInitiative05-08-15.pdf

April 23, 2015 - #KC #LocalGov @KCMO & @BTG_KC supports Storefront #SmallBusiness #StreetTree initiative on #EarthDay

18th & McGee - HTA project in 2012

Target Areas for Fall 2014:

Southwest Blvd & Summit - Initiative to replant trees in over 20 empty tree wells


16th & McGee - Screenland Crossroads interested in cutting tree wells 

Street Trees Planted April 23, 2015



el dorado architects, 510 Avenida Cesar E Chavez, Kansas City, MO 64108





Project Stakeholder Input Notes:

GDAP Implementation Committee May 29, 2015

  1. David Johnson - look at creating signage identifying the program and recognizing the supporting businesses
  2. Alan Norman - incorporate stormwater best management practices (BMPs) in the design of future tree wells, engage WSD
  3. Engage CIDs in future projects - River Market CID, Downtown CID and future Southwest Blvd CID
  4. David Johnson - Engage volunteers from LiveKC, Tactical Urbanism and church groups in the downtown area, many are already organizing neighborhood clean up days (could engage in weeding tree wells)
  5. Rick Usher - consider adding bike rack installations in future projects.  Bike racks are as beneficial as street trees to storefront businesses and DPW is in the process of streamlining the bike rack installation process for small business owners.  Include Bike Walk KC in planning.
  6. Rick Usher - formalized a maintenance agreement between the City and the adjacent business adopting the street trees (see bike rack agreement as template)
  7. Doug Stockman - expressed concerns about the long-term stability of sawcut tree wells and potential for settlement and cracking of adjacent sidewalks due to poor backfill

6/2/15 meeting with Thomas Morefield and  Bob Berkibile, BNIM

  1. Bob will talk to Vladimir about staff support for effort at KCDC
  2. Bob Suggests talking to Westport Garden Club
  3. Bob suggests appropriate plantings for tree wells to control weeds
  4. Thomas concerned about ongoing maintenance of landscaping and tree wells

6/4/15 Meeting with Bob King 

  1. Asana can monitor google drive tables and notify users of new data added, like tree location suggestions
  2. Look at partnering with Daily Deeds Daily Deeds KC on June 17th launch see Project Flyer.pdf
  3. VolunteerMark for use in organizing volunteers


  1. Include sidewalk public art, Art in the Loop, Megan Crigger, in program future
  2. include bike rack suggestions in Google form
  3. create simplified info bulletin and approval process for street trees and bike racks, both support storefront businesses

GDAP Greenspace Committee 6/3/15

  1. Use iTree

6/13/15 - Diane Burnette, MainCor, states there are empty tree wells on Main Street north of 31st that could be included.  See Google Tree Map.


Local KC Best Practices:

The Giving Grove - potential partnership currently planting orchards

Best Practice Review:

NYC Street Tree Planting Guide

Million Trees NYC Adopt-A-Tree

SFO Public Works Street Tree Planting Permitting Process

Street Tree Manual City of Vancouver

Hamilton Street Tree Project

Bioswale Tree Wells

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