Chokers

Chokers are curb extensions at midblock locations that narrow a street by widing the widewalk or planting strip. If marked as crosswalks, they are also known as safe crosses. Two-lane chokers leave the street cross section with two lanes that are narrower than the normal cross section. One-lane chokers narrow the width to allow travel in only one direction at a time, operating similarly to one-lane bridges. They are good for areas with substantial speed problems and no on-street parking shortage.

Advantages:

  • Chokers are easily negotiable by large vehicles (such as fire trucks)
  • If designed well, they can have positive aesthetic value
  • They reduce both speeds and volumes

Disadvantages:

  • Their effect on vehicle speeds is limited by the absence of any vertical or horizontal deflection
  • They may require bicyclists to briefly merge with vehicular traffic
  • They may require the elimination of some on-street parking

Effectiveness:

  • Average of 7% decrease in the 85th percentile travel speeds, or from an average of 34.9 to 32.3 miles per hour (combined average for various narrowing measures, taken from a sample of 7 sites)

Similar Measures:

  • If a roadway is narrowed at an intersection, you have a Neckdown
  • If a roadway is narrowed from the centerline, rather than from the curbs (i.e. using a raised island), you have a Center Island Narrowing

Cost Estimate(s):

  • $7,000 – 10,000 (Portland, OR)
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