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Road verge


Road verge

A "parkway" with street trees in Oak Park, Illinois

A road verge (also besidewalk, boulevard, city grass, devil strip, government grass, hellstrip, nature strip, neutral ground, out lawn, parking strip, parkway, planting strip, road reserve, sidewalk buffer, tree belt, tree lawn, utility strip, verge, etc.) is a narrow strip of grass or plants and sometimes also trees located between the carriageway (roadway) curb (or road surface edge or shoulder) and the boundary of a road.[1]

The land is often public property with maintenance usually being a municipal responsibility; however some municipal authorities require that abutting property owners maintain these areas and also the footpath / sidewalks.[2]

Benefits include visual aesthetics, increased safety and comfort of sidewalk users, protection from spray from passing vehicles, and a space for benches, bus shelters, street lights and other public amenities. It is also often part of sustainability for water conservation or the management of urban runoff and water pollution[3][4][5] and may provide useful wildlife habitat. Snow that has been ploughed off the street in colder climates may be stored in the area.

In some countries, verges are the last location of habitats for a range of flora.[6]

The main disadvantage of the road verge is that the right-of-way must be wider, increasing the cost of the road. In some localities a wider verge offers opportunity for later road widening, should the traffic usage of a road demand this. For this reason the footpaths are sited a significant distance from the curb.


  • Terminology 1
  • Sustainable urban and landscape design 2
  • Rural roadsides 3
  • Gallery 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


This term has many synonyms and dialectal differences, with some dialects and idiolects without a term for this area and instead using a circumlocution.[7]

Terms used include:

Sustainable urban and landscape design

Planted rain garden in the "tree lawn" zone

In urban and suburban areas, urban runoff from private and civic properties can be guided by grading and bioswales for rainwater harvesting collection and bioretention within the "tree-lawn" - parkway zone in rain gardens. This is done for reducing runoff of rain and domestic water: for their carrying waterborne pollution off-site into storm drains and sewer systems; and for the groundwater recharge of aquifers.[3]

In some cities, such as Santa Monica, California, city code mandates for "Parkways, the area between the outside edge of the sidewalk and the inside edge of the curb which are a component of the Public Right of Way (PROW) - that the landscaping should require little or no irrigation and the area produce no runoff." [4] For Santa Monica, another reason for this use of "tree-lawns" is to reduce current beach and Santa Monica Bay ocean pollution that is measurably higher at city outfalls. New construction and remodeling projects needing building permits require that landscape design submittals include garden design plans showing the means of compliance.[4]

In some cities and counties, such as Portland, Oregon, street and highway departments are regrading and planting rain gardens in road verges to reduce boulevard and highway runoff. This practice can be useful in areas with either independent Storm sewers or combined storm and sanitary sewers, reducing the frequency of pollution, treatment costs, and released overflows of untreated sewage into rivers and oceans during rainstorms.[30]

Rural roadsides

In some countries, the road verge can be a corridor of vegetation that remains after adjacent land has been cleared. Considerable effort in supporting conservation of the remnant vegetation is prevalent in Australia - where significant tracts of land are managed as part of the roadside conservation strategies by government agencies [26][31]


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Street Trees / Tree Lawn". Worthington, Ohio. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  2. ^ "Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part II Section 10.1.3: Maintenance responsibilities". Federal Highways Administration. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Passive Rainwater Harvesting". Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  4. ^ a b c "Parkway Landscaping Policy" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  5. ^ "Pruning the Parkway Strip". Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  6. ^ Briggs, Helen (6 June 2015). "'"Roadside verges 'last refuge for wild flowers.  
  7. ^ a b John A. C. Greppin (2002-02-01). "The triumph of slang". 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Dictionary of Regional English vol. 6 (Harvard University Press, 2013), pp. 130-1.
  9. ^ "Departments : Public Services : Public Works : Fall Leaf Collection". City of Kalamazoo. Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  10. ^ Rona Proudfoot (March 26, 2012). "Police find man dead in curb lawn".  
  11. ^ "Summer Tree Care" (PDF).  
  12. ^ "Who Do I Call?".  
  13. ^ "Design and Specifications Manual". City of Greenville. 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Mr. Smarty Pants".  
  15. ^ Cassidy, Frederic Gomes; Hall, Joan Houston (1985). Dictionary of American Regional English: Introduction and A-C (6th ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 55.  
  16. ^ Dyer, Bob (August 8, 2012). "Akron's Grass is One of a Kind".  
  17. ^ a b "Who is responsible for the strip of land between sidewalk and curb? - HOA Forum -". Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Nature Strip". Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  20. ^ Random House Unabridged Dictionary.  
  21. ^ a b c Guralnik, David B., ed. (1970).  
  22. ^ "Xeric Parkway Strip". 2010-07-07. 
  23. ^ "Codes & Manuals". Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  24. ^ "City of Ottawa - Roads". 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  25. ^ "Road Verge". Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  26. ^ a b
  27. ^ Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  28. ^ "Urban Forestry - Adopt-a-Tree Program". City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Verge". Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  30. ^ "Sustainable Stormwater Management". Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  31. ^ Western Australia. Roadside Conservation Committee (1995), Roadsides -- the vital link : a decade of roadside conservation in Western Australia (1985-1995), Roadside Conservation Committee, retrieved 14 April 2012 

External links

  • Parkway with xeric garden photographs
  • Devil Strips – term's use and lore.
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