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TitleStreetscape Design Guidelines
TagsPedestrian Crossing Street Traffic Sidewalk Parking
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Total Pages129
Table of Contents
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Page 1

for the City of Chicago Streetscape
and Urban Design Program

Chicago Department of Transportation
Bureau of Bridges and Transit
Miguel d’Escoto, Commissioner

City of Chicago
Mayor Richard M. Daley

November 2003

Prepared under the direction of:
Janet L. Attarian, A.I.A.
Project Director
Streetscape and Urban Design Program

Page 2

for the City of Chicago Streetscape
and Urban Design Program

City of Chicago
Mayor Richard M. Daley

Chicago Department of Transportation
Bureau of Bridges and Transit
Commissioner, Miguel d’Escoto

Prepared under the direction of:
Janet L. Attarian, A.I.A.
Project Director,
Streetscape and Urban Design Program

November 2003

Page 64

Page 10

City of Chicago Streetscape Guidelines

Trees must also maintain a minimum
branch height. As stated in the Guide to the
Chicago Landscape Ordinance, the minimum
branch height in the Greater downtown area
(North Avenue on the North, Lake Michigan
on the East, Cermack Road on the South,
and Ashland Avenue on the West) is 7’ as
measured from the top of rootball. The min-
imum branch height in all other areas is 6’.

Maintenance: Maintenance must also be
considered in the choice of plant materials.
It is the policy of the Streetscape and Urban
Design Program to install plant material only
where the community is willing to maintain
it. Although no landscape will be successful
without some degree of maintenance, some
plants require less attention than others.
The Chicago Landscape Ordinance states
landscape maintenance requirements and
schedule for both public and private instal-
lations and should be referred to for this
information. A sworn statement by the
owner committing to the maintenance of the
landscaping is also required.

Salt Tolerance: Given Chicago winters and
the use of salt, plant material with a high
salt tolerance must be used. The Chicago
Department of Transportation maintains a
list of salt-tolerant plants that they have
tested, or are currently testing, for survival

Although it is still recommended that salt-
tolerant plants be used in this environment,
other design features can be incorporated
into the streetscape to help ensure the sur-
vivability of plants in the streetscape. For
example, carriage walks and raised planter
beds can be used to increase the distance of
the plants from the road. Specially designed
salt fencing can be installed during the win-
ter to further protect this investment. The
introduction of water in the spring to flush
out accumulated salts is also recommended.

Irrigation: One of the most important

Figure 4-21: Free-standing planter on Halsted Street

Figure 4-20: In-ground planters in the Devon/Central

Page 65

City of Chicago Streetscape Guidelines

Page 11


aspects of landscape maintenance is water-
ing. It is the policy of the Streetscape and
Urban Design Program to provide irrigation
for planters wherever possible. The program
uses two methods of irrigation, automatic
irrigation and hand watering. Automatic
irrigation consists of underground piping
connected to pop-up sprinklers located in
the planters. These systems are maintained
by the City and perform automatically, usu-
ally at night. The hand watering method
uses quick-couplers with hose bibs. A stan-
dard garden hose can be attached to these
for manual watering of the planters. The
hose bib is a separate piece that is easily
installed and removed to prevent undesired
use. Although the City maintains the piping,
the hose bib is kept with members of the
community who have agreed to take respon-
sibility for maintenance.

Color: Color is probably the most striking
design feature of the landscape. It can
attract attention to a single plant or a mass
of plants. It can create an atmosphere of
warmth or a cooling effect.

Two color techniques are generally used in
landscape design: background color and
accent color. Background color establishes
the basic theme of the landscape, providing
a backdrop on which to present a harmoni-
ous composition. Accent color serves to
emphasize certain features in the landscape.
Color must be used carefully in the compo-
sition of the landscape. Light and cool col-
ors (blues and greens) tend to represent a
calm, thoughtful landscape. These colors
also appear farther away, or recede from the
viewer. Bright and warm colors (reds, yel-
lows, oranges) tend to excite people and may
guide the viewer through a landscape.
These colors appear nearer to, or to advance
toward, the viewer.


Figure 4-22: In-ground planter on Grand Avenue

Page 128

Page 2

City of Chicago Streetscape Guidelines

With the incursion of Asian Long-horned
Beetles in the City of Chicago, the Bureau of
Forestry has established quarantine zones
throughout the city and has specified cer-
tain tree species for these areas. Since the
knowledge base about this infestation is
constantly being updated, it is best to con-
tact the Asian Longhorned Beetle
Eradication Office for the most up-to-date
information on host species and current
quarantine zone boundaries.

The Asian Long-horned Beetle Eradication
Office can be contacted at 312-742-3385.


In accordance with Municipal Code Title 10
Chapter 32, once planted in a parkway, a
tree shall become and remain the property
of the city and shall be subject to the provi-
sions of that Chapter of the Municipal Code.
This includes protection of trees during
building operations. Injury to a public tree
or shrub may result in fines. For more
information, refer to the Municipal Code.
For current policies and procedures regard-
ing tree protection in the public way, and for
copies of tree protection specifications, con-

Department of Streets and Sanitation
Bureau of Forestry
3200 S. Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60623

Figure C-2: Mature trees are a valuable asset that
must be protected

Page 129


Chicago Department of Transportation

Miguel d’Escoto, Commissioner

Thomas Powers, Deputy Commissioner

Stan Lee Kaderbeck

Janet Attarian

Michelle Woods

Scott Waldinger

Irma Lara

Glibel Gomez

Simon Chan

Eniko Zonger

T.Y. Lin International

John LaPlante

Hayden Bulin Larson Design Group, Ltd.

Jennifer Bulin Larson

Richard C. Hayden

Deborah A. Samyn

Michael D. Snow

Ryan P. Scherner

Kristen Glass

Mary Gardocki

Joshua D. Anderson

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