Reducing the number of lanes

Reducing the number of lanes on an existing multi-lane roadway reduces crossing distances for pedestrians and can slow vehicles to appropriate speeds. For example, a four-lane, undivided road can be converted to one through lane in each direction with a center left-turn lane and bicycle lanes on both sides of the roadway.

Another option would be to reduce a four-lane, undivided road to one through lane in each direction with a center turn lane with short medians, left turn pockets, and bicycle lanes. This configuration eliminates the possibility of drivers using the center left-turn lane as a through lane, while providing a pedestrian refuge and a dedicated bicycle lane. If the roadway has no sidewalks, these may also be added.

If there are sidewalks with adequate room, a landscaped buffer may be installed to separate pedestrians from the travel lane. Roadway capacity is often unaffected, or improved, for volumes up to 15,000-20,000 vehicles per day.

Estimated cost: Minimal. Often only requires re-striping the lanes. When medians or refuge islands are used, costs of $15-$25 per lineal foot are common.

Used for

  • Converting four-lane roadways to two, plus medians and bike lanes.
  • Improving motorist compliance with the law, by allowing the prudent driver (not the imprudent driver) to set the speed.
  • Reducing top end speeders most hours of the day. May have less effect in off-peak hours.

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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2003

Back to Traffic-calming tools

Bulbout or curb extension
Choker or neckdown
Landscaping treatments
Reducing the number of lanes
Pedestrian refuge island
Speed humps and speed tables
Raised intersection
Roadway narrowing

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