Better Block

Thomas Morefield, now the Director of Community Planning for BikeWalkKC, helped organize the region’s first Better Block event in 2012 to transform one block of Grand Boulevard for a day, using low or no cost temporary solutions to inspire people about the possibilities of better, permanent design improvements. Grand Boulevard, between 16th and 17th Street, was transformed into a living demonstration of a green, complete and livable community asset, including a two-way protected cycletrack. The physical streetscape was transformed through temporary trees, lighting, landscaping, crosswalks, street furniture, and more. Artists, performers, local vendors, and pop-up businesses showed the potential for increasing the vitality of the area. Thomas led a strategy to engage community support, showcase transformative opportunities, and encourage City leadership to support a “grand” boulevard as a game changer in Kansas City. Since 2012, BetterBlockKC has flourished as a grass roots volunteer movement, and Thomas has remained engaged in the design and implementation of additional Better Block events on Main, Broadway, the West Bottoms, and Pendleton Heights.