The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Parkway plantings can pose risks

Property owners who see the parkways as fertile ground for their green thumbs may actually be putting the trees at risk — not to mention themselves.

Digging on parkways — the space between sidewalks and streets — can damage tree roots as well as utility lines that run from the streets into homes, including high-pressure natural gas lines.

Most parkway planting rules, such as height restrictions to ensure driver and pedestrian sight lines, are linked to public safety and maintaining the health of the Village’s urban forest.

Using fertilizers and herbicides on parkway plantings is discouraged as well since pedestrians and pets abound in our walkable community.

Parkways also are poor sites for anyone considering an urban vegetable garden. Given the winter road salt spray and frequent use of parkways by the Village’s more than 3,000 registered dogs and cats, most experts would say a raised garden in a back yard is a better site choice — especially since it also can be fenced in to keep out the rabbits, opossums and other wild animals that share the community.

Any resident who wishes to plant something other than grass on the parkway adjacent to his or her property should contact the Village for guidance prior to purchasing plants or beginning to dig. Just call 708.358.5700 or email