Chicago has more than 110 miles of landscaped medians on arterial streets throughout the city.
The medians offer several benefits:
Safety—medians separate lanes of oncoming traffic and provide refuge for pedestrians.
Environmental—landscaped medians incorporate trees and other plantings that help reduce the urban heat island effect, keeping Chicago cooler. Native species planted in the medians provide food, water and shelter to birds and insects.
Stormwater management—medians collect and store stormwater, reducing the amount that enters storm sewers and basements.
Aesthetics—median plantings and architectural elements contribute to the identity and beautification of Chicago and its neighborhoods. Michigan Avenue and West Wacker Drive offers Chicago’s premier exhibitions of spring and summer season displays.
CDOT designs and builds most medians in Chicago. For median plantings, CDOT carefully chooses plants and trees for medians that are well-adapted to the urban environment. CDOT publishes the Roadway Plant List as an information resource on the City's experience with various plant material. Click below to see the list:
Landscaped median maintenance is administered by CDOT. Best Management Practices are utilized in keeping the soil, plants and trees healthy and viable. Additionally, the incorporation of permanent plantings in all medians has aided in providing efficient maintenance activities.