Roadway Plantings

Roadway plantings are trees, shrubs, groundcovers, perennials, and other vegetation located within the roadbed of a street. Generally, plantings are installed within raised medians or triangles that separate or channelize traffic. Roadway plantings must endure various stresses: salt, wind, drought, pollution and physical damage from vehicles, and limited growing space. These all impact plant health and should guide design and plant selection.

Raised median (curb height)

Raised Median (Curb Height)

A median that is raised 6 – 7 inches above the roadbed and provides adequate width to allow for plantings. Raised medians (curb height) are utilized throughout the city. Medians allow for various types of plantings due to their different sizes and lengths.


Raised median (12-24 inches)

Raised Median (12-24 Inches) 

A median, typically constructed of concrete or stone, 12 – 24 inches above the roadbed that provides above-ground soil volume for plantings. Generally employed where underground constraints prevent planting at grade and/or along higher-speed roadways.


Pedestrian mall

Pedestrian Mall

A wide median that allows for pedestrian use and circulation in addition to plantings. Pedestrian malls, like the Allen Street Malls or the Park Avenue Mall at East 97th Street in Manhattan, provide a safe area for pedestrian use within the roadway.




A planted area of any size and shape, not just a triangle, within the public ROW that generally separates and/or channelizes traffic.


Street End

Street End

The public space at the end of a street abutting a boardwalk or body of water. Pedestrian access to the water, boardwalk, or waterfront promenade must be maintained. In some cases, street ends are adjacent to waterfront public access areas where the city has required private development to build and maintain a waterfront promenade.