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Street trees

Street trees are a critical part of the public right of way with many benefits.


Street trees are a critical part of the public right of way with many benefits. The Transportation Action Plan includes Design Action 4.5: Increase the tree canopy and urban forest coverage by 2040 by working with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to preserve and enhance trees in the City’s right of way. Prioritize coverage where it least exists and in areas of concentrated poverty with majority people of color.

Figure 3.3D.1:
Tree planting guidelines

Boulevard width

Boulevard Width Tree size
5' or wider Large tree
From 4' to 5' Small tree
Less than 4' No room for a tree

Minimum distance from tree (on center) to existing element

Element Minimum Distance Element Minimum Distance
Cross street (approaching corner) 40' Cross street (non-approaching corner) 20'
Stop sign, traffic signal 20' Street light base 12'
Pedestrian level light base, utility pole, fire hydrant 10' Crosswalk 7'
Alleys, driveway, pedestrian walkway (width) 6' Bike rack, news rack, trash can, utility box, transit shelter, parking meter 5'
Building facade 4' Street curb, building entrance or doorway 2'
Loading zone, bus stop Clear zone

Design Considerations

Prioritize street trees

Designers should make every effort to provide space for street trees on both sides of the street whenever feasible balancing other demands for the street. See greening guidance for strategies to consider for constrained corridors.

Space needed for street trees

5’ or wider of unpaved boulevard is needed for large tree species and 4’-4.9’ is needed for small tree species. See Figure 3.3D.1 for additional details on distance requirements for street trees.

Tree trenches

A tree trench is a bioretention facility that includes a tree planted within engineered soil that is designed to store stormwater runoff and allow water to flow through the system and irrigate the tree. Tree trenches should be encouraged and can work with all types of street trees used in Minneapolis. See green stormwater infrastructure guidance for more details. 

Tree grates discouraged

Tree trenches or other greening should be used around street trees whenever possible. Tree grates should be discouraged because they reduce tree health, require significant maintenance, and cannot serve as accessible pedestrian space. Tree grates may be necessary in some constrained environments with need for pedestrian space.

Tree species

The MPRB Forestry Preservation Coordinator determines tree species. If questions, contact:

MPRB Forestry

Additional guidance for is available by contacting the MPRB Forestry Preservation Coordinator. MPRB is responsible for the installation and maintenance of all street trees.

Additional guidance

Additional guidance, policy, and standards are available: