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More Shade, More Gain | A Move Seattle Street Tree Story

Image by | Valie. S via

Aaaaahhh, shade – it’s a beautiful thing.

Now that summer is just a week away, we’re going to need more of it. Seattle is fortunate to have approximately 28% of its land covered with tree canopy. A conservative estimate of 300,000 street trees contributes to this amazing forest. Our Urban Forestry team cares for roughly 40,000 of them along the streets and right-of-way by maintaining, protecting, and planting new trees and formal landscapes. The remaining street trees are cared for by the abutting property owners.

As you can imagine, this kind of responsibility requires some passion, expertise and long-term planning.


Bringing life to our streets, thanks to you, Seattle.


Our Urban Forestry Tree Replacement Program brings life quite literally to the streets of Seattle by working towards a tree canopy increase of 30% by 2037. We work hard to preserve our larger, more valuable trees in and around every project. When we can’t, we are sure to plant at least 2 trees for any that are lost. Because of you, Seattle voters, tree replacement planting is funded by 9-year Levy to Move Seattle.

Keeping it organized.

We’ve developed strict criteria for when a tree can be removed. We also track removals so we know how many trees are replanted in the Fall. To determine the location and types of trees to plant, we’ve created a Street Tree Management Plan – a resource to:


  • Explore your street trees by owner and type, and find heritage trees.
  • Learn about permits for any major maintenance or tree planting and see where work has been completed.
  • Learn about Seattle’s canopy cover, environmental justice efforts, species diversity, and our stewardship program.


We’re working to replant the most suitable trees to ensure a diverse, resilient urban street tree canopy that’s beneficial for all.


Shovels up!

We’ve set up a 2-year “look ahead” for the next phase of the Move Seattle planting schedule.


? Fall 2018 ?

SDOT maintained arterials in:

  • SODO (unit 8)
  • Fremont (unit 13)
  • Greenwood / Crown Hill (unit 21)


? Spring 2019 ?

SDOT maintained arterials in:

  • Columbia City / Seward Park (unit 6)
  • Greenwood / Crown Hill (unit 20)
  • Downtown (unit 27)


How trees & transportation connect.

Trees have a proven positive connection with transportation. Did you know that drivers who see a more natural roadside view have lower perceived stress levels, in comparison to those viewing built-out settings? 4

According to recent research compiled by Green Cities at the University of Washington, there’s a 46% decrease in crash rates on urban arterials after landscape improvements are installed. 1

Another study found that placing trees and planters along urban arterials reduces mid-block crashes by at least 5%, and up to 20%. 2

People even perceive communities more positively when there are vegetation-lined streets, with ratings of visual quality for a city or town increasing as the amount of roadside vegetation increases.3


Coming Soon! Move Seattle tree replanting meetings.

While we plant our way to our goal of 30% canopy cover by growing and maintaining our city’s urban forest, we come back to the understanding that a crucial part of growing our urban forest is you, Seattle. Throughout the summer, we’ve scheduled 5 community meetings to create a space for you to learn more about the project and give your feedback. Mark your calendars for the time and location that works best for you!


? Tues. June 26 | 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Belltown Community Center, 415 Bell St, Seattle, WA 98121


? Fri. June 29 | 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108


? Thurs. August 30 | 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118


? Sat. September 1 | 10 – 11 am

Loyal Heights Community Center, 2101 NW 77th St, Seattle, WA 98117


? Thurs. September 6 | 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Green Lake Community Center, 7201 East Green Lake Dr. N, Seattle, WA 98115


We hope you’ll share this information with the people in your community. It’s beneficial for all of us to be engaged in the health of the trees adjacent to our homes and to be advocates for trees everywhere.


Contact us!

Visit our Urban Forestry Division website or contact our Arboriculturist, Sherry Graham at


  1. Mok, J.-H., H.C. Landphair, and J.R. Naderi. 2006. Landscape Improvement Impacts on Roadside Safety in Texas. Landscape and Urban Planning 78:263-274.
  2. Naderi, J.R. 2003. Landscape Design in the Clear Zone: Effect of Landscape Variables on Pedestrian Health and Driver Safety. Transportation Research Record 1851:119-130.
  3. Wolf, K.L. 2003. Freeway Roadside Management: The Urban Forest Beyond the White Line. Journal of Arboriculture 29, 3:127-136.
  4. Parsons, R., L.G. Tassinary, R.S. Ulrich, M.R. Hebl, and M. Grossman-Alexander. 1998. The View from the Road: Implications for Stress Recovery and Immunization. Journal of Environmental Psychology 18, 2:113–140.