Streets & Forestry | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

Streets & Forestry

Streets and Forestry Operations:

The Streets Maintenance and Repair Unit is responsible for street pavement maintenance operations such as crack sealing and pothole patching, pavement and sidewalk repair following City utility work, winter snow and ice control, street sweeping, the annual fall leaf collection program and annual Christmas tree collection and recycling and plays an active and vital role in city street festivals and community events.

The Traffic Signs & Signals Unit maintains all street signs and traffic signals and performs pavement striping throughout the City. The Signs and Signals Shop, located on City property behind the Beck Center, contains a fully equipped sign manufacturing facility. The Signals crew is able to quickly respond to inoperative traffic signals due to storm damage.

The Forestry Unit maintains an inventory of over 13,100 trees located on public property, including those on tree lawns and within parks.

Trees are removed when they are diseased, dead or in decline and/or pose a danger to the public. The department has a certified arborist manager and a crew of four certified arborists equipped to trim branches, assess trees for disease and safety, remove diseased trees of any size including the stumps, plant new trees and shred the resulting wastes for recycling into mulch, soil and other landscape material.

The Forestry Unit Operational Principles:

  • Maintain the health and vigor of all trees in the Lakewood Urban Forest – to capture the long-term ecological, economic and social benefits; and for public safety.
  • Always plant the largest suitable tree for the site selected. Large trees live longer and provide greater economic and ecological benefits than small trees.  Undersized trees fail to maximize the potential of the site. This failure is lost value for the community.
  • Achieve a fully stocked Urban Forest to benefit all locations throughout the City of Lakewood and reach the peak Urban Tree Canopy that our municipality can achieve and sustain.
  • Comprehensive tree planting plan for every street identifying primary and secondary species to be used on each street. Species will be selected based on largest and most urban tolerant species best suited for each site and overall distribution of species to insure proper diversity.


  • Leaf Pick Up+-

    The annual fall leaf collection program begins in November and continues for a minimum of three collections over a six week period. This schedule will generally be adjusted to account for interfering weather conditions. Leaves and other yard wastes are collected at other times throughout the year when residents place them in the standard paper yard waste bags on the regular refuse collection days.

    Click here for 2022 Leaf Collection Schedule.

  • Emergency Snow Parking Bans+-

    Whenever there is snow fall of four (4) inches or more within a twenty-four (24) hour period, the emergency snow ban takes effect. The snow ban restrictions on parking take effect without requiring an announcement by the City of Lakewood. In the event of a snowfall of four inches or more, parking is not permitted on streets posted as emergency snow ban streets. Motorists should always consult the posted signs, and be advised that in the event of a snowfall of four inches or more, the emergency snow parking bans will be enforced.

    The Emergency Snow Parking Ban streets are as follows:

    • Alger Road (Warren Rd to Lakewood Heights Blvd)
    • Athens Avenue (Carabel Ave to Belle Ave)
    • Belle Avenue (Clifton Blvd to Madison Ave)
    • Berea Road (W. 117th St to Lakewood Heights Blvd)
    • Bunts Road (Clifton Blvd to Lakewood Heights Blvd)
    • Clifton Boulevard (Webb Rd to W. 117th St)
    • Delaware Avenue (W. Terminus to Brown Rd)
    • Detroit Avenue (Gridley to W. 117th)
    • Hilliard Road (Riverside Dr to Madison Ave)
    • Lake Avenue (Webb Rd to W. 117th St)
    • Lakewood Heights Boulevard (Woodward Ave to Clarence Ave)
    • Madison Avenue (Riverside Dr to W. 117th St)
    • Riverside Drive (Detroit Ave to Ogontz Ave)
    • W. 117th Street (Edgewater Dr to Berea Rd)
    • W. Clifton Blvd (Clifton Blvd to Riverside Dr)
    • Warren Road (Clifton Boulevard to Lakewood Heights Boulevard

    Lakewood Codified Ordinance 351.26 contains the provisions of the emergency snow parking bans.

    Map of Emergency Snow Parking Ban Streets »

    During an emergency snow parking ban, residents without other parking, may park for free in the municipal parking lots.  Click the link below for a map of the available parking lots.

    List of Municipal Parking Lots which may be used during an Emergency Snow Parking Ban »

  • Potholes+-

    Important Information About Potholes

    Freeze-thaw cycles in the winter, as well as consistent salting and plowing have a significant impact on streets. The Division of Streets is working to get pot holes patched as quickly as possible, weather permitting.

    The best time for pothole repairs are on dry days when the temperature is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above.  Cold patch is a temporary fix that is pliable in cold weather and is made from aggregate and an asphaltic material.

    The City has three crews working three shifts per day to repair potholes on the city’s 224 streets, weather permitting. Potholes are rated and prioritized to be fixed according to severity of the pothole and the location of the pothole (main street, busy side streets with a lot of traffic, other side streets).

    When holes are fixed in the winter, the material used is only a temporary fix until spring. In warmer months a hot asphalt mixture is used, which permanently repairs the hole.

    If you would like to report a pothole, use the Report Problem/Concern form to report the location of the pothole (including the closest street address) and the pothole will be put on our list to be fixed.

    The Division of Streets thanks you for your patience and cooperation when reporting potholes.

  • Pavement Maintenance+-

    Street pavement repairs can be divided into two categories: maintenance and capital reconstruction. The large capital reconstruction projects are managed by the Division of Engineering and Construction. Pavement maintenance consist of regularly scheduled operations such as filling cracks and rejuvenating newer asphalt surfaces, sealing the joints on concrete pavements as well as minor repairs such as pothole filling. In addition, contractors are hired to remove and replace larger sections of deteriorated asphalt pavement.

    2023 Public Works Project Outlook

    2022-2023 Improvement Project Outlook

  • Street Sweeping+-

    This Division maintains two modern street sweepers that are employed throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons. The purpose of the street sweeping program is to remove trash and grit that can enter the sewer system as well as to help provide a tidy appearance to our community. The street sweepers also assist with the fall leak collection process. We ask that all residents who use on-street parking to please move their cars when the street is posted for sweeping. This will enable our crews to do a much more thorough cleaning job.

  • Street Signs and Traffic Signals+-

    This Division maintains all street signs, traffic signals and pavement striping in the City. A full-time Professional Engineer experienced in traffic engineering is on staff to perform studies and designs to improve the safety and efficiency of traffic flow in our community. The Signs and Signals Shop, located on City property behind the Beck Center, contains a fully equipped sign manufacturing facility. The Signals crew is on 24 hour call to quickly respond to inoperative traffic signals due to storm damage.

  • Snow and Ice Control Plan+-

    Click here to view the City of Lakewood Snow & Ice Control Plan.

    City of Lakewood Snow and Ice Control:

    The City of Lakewood’s snow and ice control efforts promote safe vehicular travel during the winter months. The City attempts safe passage on all city streets at all times. However, keep in mind that each snowfall presents different conditions that impact the snow and ice removal process, such as the rate and accumulation of snowfall, moisture content, temperature, time of day or night, wind direction and speed and the duration of the storm, with the result that no two storms are ever identical.

    The City of Lakewood is responsible for snow and ice control for a total of 228 lane miles (i.e. Clifton Blvd has six lanes plus one turn lane = 22 total miles).

    Streets are treated and plowed based on three categories of route priorities: primary, secondary, and residential. All routes are treated by priority beginning with primary, then secondary, and finally residential.

    • Primary routes include major thoroughfares, emergency routes, designated hills, and bridges. Primary routes will be continuously treated and plowed until a bare pavement condition exists.
    • Secondary routes are roadways collecting traffic and leading to major thoroughfares, traffic signal locations, and other areas necessary for the delivery of public services. Secondary routes will be continuously treated and plowed until a bare pavement condition exists.
    • Residential routes are all other remaining streets. While a bare pavement condition is desirable on residential routes, the City utilizes Sensible Salting practices whenever possible to reduce salt usage and pollution of local waterways while ensuring safe conditions. As a result, during certain snow and ice events salting may be limited to areas proximate to and through intersections.

    Click here to view the Snow & Ice Priorities Map.

    Public parking lots and facilities will be treated as necessary depending on operational schedules for the use of such facilities.

    Click here for Snow Removal FAQs.

    More information about snow removal:



  • Snow Removal FAQs+-

    How does the City decide what streets are plowed first?

    In removing the snow and ice, the City responds first to all main roads, bridges, hills and secondary main roads which must be kept passable to provide a safe transportation network to the largest volume of people. Once these areas are in passable condition, crews head to clear the residential side streets.

    Why does the plow not remove all the snow from my road?
    On residential side streets, the plow blade has “guards” that keep the blade just a fraction above the roadway surface. This is done to prevent damage to vehicles and equipment and help limit the damage to the asphalt and concrete road surface and damage to other infrastructure such as manholes, catch basins or water valves.  Streets with low traffic volumes may remain snow covered longer. Salt is not very effective during heavy snow fall on side streets due to the low traffic volume needed to help activate the melting agents in road salt. Salt will be applied on side streets when the snowfall has slowed or stopped and when conditions exist that will make it effective or necessary. Salt applied on side streets with low vehicle traffic and during the course of active snow fall will get plowed out of the streets and unto tree lawns, thereby squandering the use of the costly resource and the time, labor and equipment spent and used to deliver it. Salt is always applied within approximately 100 feet of all side street intersections and on all hills when side streets are plowed.

    Why do the snow plows push snow into my driveway apron and who is responsible for clearing it?
    Unfortunately, it cannot be helped and we apologize for the inconvenience it causes you. The snow must be removed from the traveled portion of the road for public safety.  Snow left in driveway aprons by the city while snow plowing is the residents’ and owners’ responsibility to remove.

    Why doesn’t the city clean my driveway apron?
    There are approximately 15,000 driveway aprons in the City. The time and cost to clean all the driveway aprons is prohibitive. 

    Can snow from my driveway be blown or plowed into the street?
    Snow may not be pushed or blown into the street from private property, nor may it be pushed onto your neighbor’s property.  Please remind your snow plow service that they are not permitted to push snow onto the street or onto property that it did not fall upon.

    Who is responsible for removing snow from the sidewalks?
    According to City of Lakewood Ordinance 521.06, property owners are responsible for keeping the sidewalks clear of debris as well as snow and ice within 24 hours of a snowfall.

    Why doesn’t the city salt the side streets?
    We do salt side streets on a limited basis as conditions warrant. Excessive road salt usage is costly, has a negative environmental effect and reduces the longevity of the road surface.  For more information see our Salt Reduction Strategy.

    Parking During a Snow Storm

    Residents must obey all parking signs and winter parking restrictions. To provide effective snow removal, the City may order that special parking restrictions be put in place. These restrictions will be announced through the media.

    Further Questions:

    Contact the City of Lakewood Streets and Forestry Department at (216) 529-6810.


  • Cuyahoga County Tree Canopy Assessment - 2019+-

    Click here to view the 2019 Cuyahoga County Tree Canopy Assessment.

  • Lakewood Tree Action Plan+-

    Click here for Lakewood’s Tree Action Plan.

  • Tree Maintenance+-

    The city deeply appreciates and shares the concerns residents have for the Lakewood’s tree canopy. Proper maintenance of the mature tree canopy is a process of ongoing, year-round hazard tree assessments. The Lakewood Urban Forest comprises over 13,630 trees and is a living and ever-changing ecosystem with a unique set of challenges different from what a more natural forest would require from a management structure.

    Residents are assured that the only trees in decline with significant structural defects that pose a great potential risk will be removed. The strategy to remove is carefully developed by the Division of Streets and Forestry. We do not remove healthy large trees. More often than removals, the Division works to identify trees with structural defects that can be pruned to make safe and retain ecological services citywide.

    The tree maintenance project being performed this spring will remove 14 hazardous trees citywide. All trees that have been flagged for removal meet at least two of the following hazard conditions: risk of total failure due to significant wood decay fungi (either base/root flare, trunk/stem and/or branch collar attachments), noticeable external decay, deep vertical trunk cracking, large numbers of carpenter ants observed during summer months in conjunction with other defects, signs of internal decay and poor branch attachments that we have observed when up in the canopy when assessing trees, defects created by storm damage that we can no longer mitigate for preservation, past canopy leaf out at less than 66% in conjunction with other structural defects. Trees flagged for removal also all pose a threat due to being located in a high vehicle and pedestrian traffic zone with a high number of potential targets.

    The stump or trunk may not always tell the picture of what the upper canopy decay or defects may have been. In some cases, the city may have to remove the trees due to buttress root decay. This is in conjunction with an increase in the amount of fruiting fungi structures (Ustulina deusta fungi – and others) at the base of the trunk or within old branch failure cavities. The presence of the Ustulina deusta fungi in Lakewood was confirmed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

    Those trees impacted by Ustulina deusta fungi at the base of the trunk or within old branch failure cavities concern us the most. Infected trees decay rapidly and can eventually fail, either from large upper canopy fractures, from the base, or large buttress roots that become more prone to windthrow during storms.

    We identify and keep an inventory of potential hazard trees and rank them accordingly for strategic removals each year to strike the proper balance of a safe, growing and much more diverse tree canopy throughout Lakewood.

    To learn more about the city of Lakewood’s Tree Action Plan please click here. To reach out to the Division of Streets and Forestry call (216) 529-6810.

  • Keeping, maintaining our tree canopy+-

    The City of Lakewood maintains all of the trees on public property, including those on tree lawns. Trees are removed when they are diseased or dead and pose a danger to the public. A certified urban forester supervises a crew of arborists who have all of the required equipment to trim branches, remove diseased trees including the stumps, plant new trees and shred the resulting wastes for recycling into mulch. Tree lawn trees are replaced according to a master reforestation plan. Mulch is available to Lakewood residents free of charge at the location near the Animal Shelter in the Rocky River valley. Logs are also available to residents for use as fire wood free of charge at the same location.

    As the city’s aging trees begin to die — many of them planted around the same time, 100 years ago — many of the warm and inviting canopies have disappeared.

    The city’s forestry department and Lakewood Tree Task Force have developed a comprehensive strategy to improve the tree canopy and add diversity to the variety of species around the city.

    In just two years, the organization has already helped plant dozens of trees at Madison and Lakewood parks, presented 19 recommendations to Lakewood City Council supporting tree legislation and worked with the city’s forestry department to plant nearly 600 trees around Lakewood.

    The city’s strategy also includes an effort to prepare the city for climate change, add diversity to the urban forest, withstand pest infestations and storms, and add in trees with more fall colors. More trees also means less storm water runoff.

    The Lakewood tree canopy has been assessed by satellite at 28.5 percent.

    The goal is to increase the tree canopy by 10 percent, to 33.5 percent by the year 2035.

    Want to contribute? The task force is encouraging residents to support its Gift-A-Tree initiative.

    For more on the city’s tree strategy, see the city’s two recent videos: Planting Trees in Lakewood and Lakewood Working With the Tree Task Force to Improve Tree Canopy.

  • Help Grow the City's Tree Canopy: Plant A Tree+-

    Have you been thinking about planting a tree in your yard? Here is an opportunity to purchase a shade tree at a reduced price for your private yard!

    The City of Lakewood would like to help citizens purchase and have planted shade trees for their private yards to help us increase our urban tree canopy.

    The City of Lakewood will be placing an order for shade trees for the upcoming spring and fall planting seasons.  Residents can purchase a shade tree AND have it professionally planted in their desired yard location at the same pricing that the city pays (plus applicable tax). The 2023 price for all trees (including installation) is $385/tree.

    Help us grow Lakewood’s Urban Tree Canopy!  Residents can contract directly with our 2023 tree planting contractor, The Greenleaf Group Inc., for the purchase and planting of a shade tree on their private property.

    The Greenleaf Group Inc. is happy to help you select a tree species that would be best for your area and the time of year of the planting.  To select a tree and place an order, contact The Greenleaf Group Inc. at (330) 441-6326 or by email at .  Mention that you are part of the 2023 City of Lakewood Shade Tree Purchase Program. 

    Click here for more information.

  • More info about the city's tree canopy+-

  • Why do so many Maple trees in Lakewood have black spots on them?+-

    Every Norway maple in Lakewood has what is called tar spotting (black dots) or Maple tar spot on leaves this year due in large part to the very wet and cool spring we had earlier this year. It is less prevalent on other maple tree species, but approximately 50% of Silver maples also appear to be impacted. 95% of the time the tar spotting is only an unsightly cosmetic issue that can cause early onset defoliation, premature browning or leaf curl – but it does not harm or kill the tree. It occurs more frequently with wet spring conditions and often does not appear again (or is diminished) the following year if the spring/early summer weather is closer to normal.

    All the Norway maples throughout Lakewood and thru Ohio and the Midwest are under a lot of stress due to climate change impacts that has made them more prone to repeated fungi infestations such as Verticillium wilt which can lead to canopy dieback and tar spotting on the leaves that we see throughout the City of Lakewood. Real wet spring weather and the more frequent freeze-thaw periods in winter with temperature spikes over 50-60 degrees followed by freezing compounds the above and can increase the amount of fungi infestations in all maple trees – Norway’s in particular and all other maples to a lesser degree.

    However, some Norway maple trees in Lakewood have been impacted with a more serious fungal infection – Verticillium wilt.  We have confirmed some infection present within several of the Norway maples we have had to remove that had been suffering significant canopy dieback the past few years.

    Verticillium wilt is very difficult to control because it persists in the soil indefinitely, treatments/sprays are not highly effective. Sometimes infected trees can “outgrow” the fungus – which we have seen take place. We frequently prune off dead branches first to help the overall tree vigor. If a tree has lost more than a 1/3 of its canopy – the decline cannot be stopped at that point and the tree should be removed. Whenever we prune Norway maples, we sterilize our pruning tools/saws by spaying them with a diluted cleanser between trees.

    In addition, trees already weakened by Verticillium can be more prone to tar spotting and these two fungi issues can overwhelm a tree to where it gets the tar spotting for several years in a row and the leaf canopy production decreases to the point where there is not enough leaf canopy to feed the tree root systems and the Verticillium fungi in the soil spreads more readily into decaying roots versus healthy root systems.

    Those Maple trees only impacted with just the tar spotting alone should all be fine. Although a bit unsightly now, the fungal infection will not kill the tree unless the tree is also impacted by other more serious issues that are pushing it into decline.

    Unfortunately, per research and data gathered by the United States Forest Service in relation to the possible impacts of climate change on various tree species – the Norway maple is one of the species identified to suffer the most mortality due to the impacts of climate change. All maple tree species are at a heightened risk of increased mortality rates, with the Norway maple already seeming to suffer from the changing climate conditions now present and not being able to adapt to the stresses being placed upon this species. In short, Maple trees need a longer dormant period to thrive – repeated winters with more frequent freeze-thaw periods with very warm temperature spikes in January and February followed by freezing compounds the above and can increase the amount of fungi infestations in all maple trees – Norway maples in particular.

    This impact also underscores the need to plant for greater tree species diversity. Norway maples were over planted throughout Lakewood – it is our 2nd most common species (over 1,100 trees) – and many streets are a monoculture of mostly Norway maples with only one or two other species as not much tree species diversity was established on certain streets.

    One of the primary goals of the City of Lakewood Tree Action Plan is to continue to introduce more tree species to all city streets and citywide. The city’s plan for tree species diversity = high reward.

    To accomplish the goal of increasing tree diversity and reducing the likelihood of large tree losses across the city, the city has an established a benchmark that the total tree inventory contains no more than 30% of a single family, 20% of a single genus, and 10% of a single tree species.

    If dying trees need to be removed, they will be replaced with tree species that are not as susceptible to Verticillium. It is cases like this that remind us that reaching our tree species diversity goals is more important going into the future.

    We will continue to monitor all the Maple trees – in particular our Norway maple population – throughout the City of Lakewood and take any necessary actions accordingly.

  • Forestry FAQs+-

    When you replant trees that have been removed, are you replanting trees with native species?

    We do replant with some native species.

    As an aside, there is nothing about a tree lawn planting site that would mimic a native forest or native environment conditions,  so we need to pick both native and non-native trees that can grow and thrive in a very tough environment that tree lawns present. Many native trees are not tolerant to urban site conditions and will not survive a tree lawn planting location. We do more native plantings in parks where the site conditions are more favorable to those native species that won’t survive on a Lakewood tree lawn.

    Below are the large tree species we have been planting on Clifton the past few years.

    Large Trees
    Tulip Tree Liriodendron tulipifera
    Sugar Maple “Green Mountain” Acer Saccharum “Green Mountain”
    Planetree – London “Bloodgood” Platanus x Acerfolia “Bloodgood”
    White Oak Quercus alba
    Red Oak Quercus rubra
    Sawtooth Oak Quercus acutissima
    Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa
    Scarlet Oak Quercus coccinea
    Shingle Oak Quercus imbricaria
    Chinquapin Oak Quercus muehlenbergii
    Northern Catalpa Catalpa speciosa
    Sweetgum Liquidamber styraciflua
    “Accolade” Elm Ulmus “Accolade”
    American Elm “Valley Forge” Ulmus “Valley Forge”
    Autumn Gold Ginkgo (Male) Ginkgo Biloba “Autumn Gold”


    Any info on what insecticide is being used and the treatment schedule? 

    We do treat all of our remaining 164 ash trees once every three years (we do a certain number each year) for Emerald Ash Borer infestation with insecticide injections of Tree-age Emamectin Benzoate 4.0%. It is approximately 85% effective in killing or at least slowing the pest infestation. Some trees do not respond to the treatments and continue to decline and must then be removed.

    There is no viable treatment option that would slow or mediate the types of decay fungi we have noted and been monitoring on the Clifton Blvd. oak trees.

  • Tree Advisory and Education Board+-

    Click here for the Tree Advisory & Education Board web page.