Adopt-A-Median Frequently Asked Questions
I want to adopt a median, where do I begin?
If you are interested in adopting a median, go to the Adopt-A-Median webpage and fill out the Median Adoption Form and Waiver Form.
How do I know which medians are available to adopt?
This program is intended for medians on low-traffic streets with a speed limit at or below 25mph. Only existing planted medians will be available to adopt; the City is not looking to add new planting beds at this time. We are working on a map that will show you available medians around Madison to choose from. Until that is available, contact Carissa Wegner at firstname.lastname@example.org with the areas or neighborhoods that you are looking to volunteer in.
Can I adopt a median for a short amount of time?
Our hope for the Adopt-A-Median Program is to have relatively long-term care for the medians that have been adopted. While we definitely understand that unexpected changes may occur in volunteer availability, we would prefer for volunteers to apply with long-term care in mind. If a volunteer or volunteer group feels that they can no longer care for their medians, they can communicate this to Carissa Wegner as soon as possible and the median can be integrated back into City management if no other volunteers are available to take over.
How do I get safety vests and traffic cones?
Once your application has been approved, safety vests, traffic control signs, and traffic cones will be assigned and available for pick up. Email the Engineering Division at email@example.com to set up a pick up time and location.
What type of plants can I include in the median planting?
The most important factor in choosing plants for your median is that they do not exceed 2 feet in height in order to avoid vision hazards. The occasional narrow spike of height is permitted, for example a couple of plants in the Liatris family, as long as the planting is see- through overall. We also ask that volunteers consider using plants that are perennial (live for more than one season), salt-tolerant, and drought-tolerant. We also encourage the use of native plants due to their ecological value. Some examples of these plants are featured below.
Does the City reimburse for the cost of plants?
The City reimburses up to $250.00 for each median pending approval, however we truly appreciate efforts to find sources of discounted, free, or donated plants. A popular source for inexpensive, native plant plugs is the Plant Dane Program, however you need to apply for these plants ahead of time to get in on this deal. You can find the plant list and order form here. Once plants have been purchased, send your receipt to Carissa Wegner to organize your reimbursement.
Does the City provide mulch for the plantings?
The $250 reimbursement from the City includes the cost of mulch. Once mulch has been purchased, send your receipt to Carissa Wegner to organize your reimbursement.
Do we need to call Digger’s Hotline before digging or planting?
Yes, before disturbing any soil on the median you will need to call Digger’s Hotline at 811 to inspect the site. Streets often have various utilities under the surface and so this is an important step to complete before starting your work.
Can the City avoid plowing snow on top of these planted medians in the winter?
The City will not change their route to avoid plowing snow atop adopted medians. In many cases, these spaces are needed to store snow over the winter. Additionally, the City Operations Crew prioritizes the most efficient route for snow removal after a storm event to ensure safest conditions on the road for drivers. The best way to adapt as a volunteer is to carefully select plants that are hardy and tolerant of these conditions.
How are City staff notified to not mow newly planted medians?
Once a median has successfully been adopted, the City will no longer mow or manage that median unless complaints regarding vision hazards arise. It will be the volunteer’s responsibility to do fall or spring clean-up if desired.
Who can I contact about extra signage or traffic control if I believe cars are driving too fast in my neighborhood?
Please contact City Traffic Engineering at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-266-4761.
Who can I contact about trees in the median?
Please contact City Forestry of the Streets Division at email@example.com or 608-266-4816.