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Gateways | Landscaping | Specific Paving Treatments

Complementary Tools

The careful use of landscaping along a street can provide separation between motorists and pedestrians, reduce the visual width of the roadway (which can help to reduce vehicle speeds), and provide a more pleasant street environment for all. This can include a variety of trees, bushes, and/or flower pots, which can be planted in the buffer area between the sidewalk or walkway and the street.

The most significant issue with any landscaping scheme is ongoing maintenance. Some communities have managed effectively through the volunteer efforts of neighbors, while others have found them to be unreliable and budget for public maintenance instead. Consider adding irrigation systems in areas with extensive planting.

Choosing appropriate plants and preparing the ground can help ensure that they survive with minimal maintenance, and donít buckle the sidewalks as they mature. The following guidelines should be considered: plants should be adapted to the local climate and fit the character of the surrounding area - they should survive without protection or intensive irrigation; and plantís growth patterns should not obscure signs or pedestriansí and motoristsí views of each other.

Landscaping with low shrubs, ground cover and mature trees that are properly limbed can add shade, color and visual interest to a street.

The material provided on this page is from the FHWA publication "Pedestrian Facilities User Guide." This guide is currently under review by practicioners and others in the field. Subsequently, the material provided on this page is subject to change in the future.

Roadway Narrowing

Lateral / Horizontal Shifts

Raised Devices

Complementary Tools

Whole Street Designs


• Enhance the street environment.

• Traffic calm by creating a visual narrowing of the roadway and presenting an image of the street that is one of a place rather than a through route.


• Maintenance must be considered and agreed to up front, whether it is a municipality or neighborhood residents who will take responsibility for the maintenance.

• Shrubs should be low growing and trees should be trimmed up at least eight to ten feet to ensure sight distances are maintained and personal security is not compromised.

• Plants and trees should be chosen with care to match the character of the area, be easily maintained, and not create other problems such as buckling sidewalks.

Estimated Cost:

Opportunities for funding landscaping are often more flexible than with major street changes. For example, the cost of the actual landscaping may be paid for by the corresponding neighborhood or business groups. Often, municipalities will pay for the initial installation and neighborhood residents or businesses agree to maintain anything more elaborate than basic street trees.

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