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Kansas City, MO

Using art to make a safer intersection

The Project

Midtown KC Now and Street Smarts Design + Build applied to the Asphalt Art Initiative to make long-sought improvements to the intersection of Westport Road – a well-traveled road connecting two major commercial corridors – Wyandotte Street and W 40th Street Midtown. The corridor is used heavily by pedestrians, bikes, and cars, but the selected intersection felt daunting and dangerous for pedestrians and bikers because of its design. City engineers worked with Street Smarts Design + Build, a local urban design firm, to create a new design for the intersection that would address the safety challenges. The new design reclaimed over 4,000 square feet of roadway space, and four artists were selected to paint murals at the four corners of the intersection. In addition, members of the community were invited to paint a simple mural in the center of the intersection. A sixth mural was added on the exterior wall of an adjacent business.

Reshaping a Dangerous Intersection Through Art in Kansas City

“This Asphalt Art project will build on our ongoing efforts to create more opportunities for Kansas Citians to get outdoors and will help the City revitalize public spaces for all to enjoy.” 

Mayor Quinton Lucas


Midtown + Westport

Number of Intersections


Installation Dates

October 6-17, 2020

Lead Partners

City of Kansas City, Missouri, Public Works Department

Street Smarts Design + Build

Midtown KC Now

Lead Artists

Tehya Riley

Parker Story

Alex Eickhoff

Stephanie Bloss-Foley

Taylar Sanders


Traffic striping paint + limestone boulders, 36″ planters, bollards, stop signs, and bike racks

Square Footage of Artwork

Approximately 4,500


Design: $3,500

Labor: $6,000

Supplies: $12,874

Administrative: $2,626





Use the slider to see the transformation

Kansas City: Before
Kansas City: Before

Best Practice Highlight: Reshaping an Intersection

In analyzing the site, the primary safety challenges were found to be cars speeding and making sharp turns, and long distances for people to walk across the street. The design narrowed the travel lanes and implemented curb extensions bordered by planters, boulders, and bollards to slow traffic and make crossing the street safer for pedestrians. Crosswalk length was cut in half, turn paths were more clearly delineated for drivers, and two stop signs were added.

  • The average speed at the intersection has dropped by 45%, and the most dangerous, illegal speeds have been eliminated.
  • Crosswalks have been shortened by 52%, making it faster for pedestrians to cross the street.
  • The percentage of pedestrians who report feeling “very safe” at the intersection has increased from 23% to 63%.

For inspiration and tips for the creation of art on roadways and public places, download the Bloomberg Associates Asphalt Art Guide which features successful plaza and roadway art activations around the world, as well as key steps for developing such projects.

Asphalt Art Guide