Chicago has more than 85 miles of landscaped medians on arterial streets throughout the city.
The medians offer several benefits:
Safety—medians separate lanes of oncoming traffic.
Environmental—landscaped medians incorporate trees and other plantings that help reduce the urban heat island effect, keeping Chicago cooler.
Stormwater management—medians collect and store stormwater, reducing the amount that enters storm sewers.
Aesthetics—median plantings contribute to the “greening” and beautification of Chicago.
CDOT builds and maintains 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:
CDOT maintains most medians in the city. Plantings at some locations are changed twice seasonally, once in the spring and once in the summer. Other locations keep the same plant material year-round.
A few median locations are planted and maintained by private entities. One example is the North Michigan Avenue medians from the Chicago River to Oak Street, which are planted and maintained by the Michigan Avenue Streetscape Association, a 501(c) 3 organization funded by property owners and businesses in the Michigan Avenue District