The Department of Parks and Rec. hired IAA, in collaboration with Patti Banks & Associates and Burns & McDonnell, to develop a new type of parkway in North Kansas City. Chouteau Pkwy. was identified as a main transportation corridor between I-35 and 210 highway. The MO Department of Transportation wanted it to be widened by 60 ft., in order to better accommodate traffic and provide a functional median for pedestrian use. As part of the new ‘Green Guidelines’ defined by Parks and Rec., rainwater from the roadway would need to be diverted from the currently over-capacity sewer system, and distributed into new rain gardens where it would be cleaned and processed naturally.
Our team worked to develop a parkway that is both aesthetically beautiful, as well as environmentally responsible. It is meant to serve as an example for future sustainable design throughout the area. Rather than develop the typical decorative parkway accents - pergolas, fountains, etc. - this design features a self-sustaining rain garden. Here rainwater is harvested, and able to nourish the surrounding landscape. At the same time, it is educating the public on the mechanics of natural storm water management. Starting with the storm water management basins outlined by our team engineers, IAA sculpted a series of interconnected earthwork elements enveloping to envelope them. To engage pedestrians and encourage people to take advantage of the park-like development, serpentine walking paths form the edges of the rain garden, with a boardwalk passing over the largest basin. As the path cuts through the garden, retaining walls constructed of natural stone display informative plaques about the process at play. The project reinvents the dead-zone commonly found between roadways.