Roadway Narrowing:

Roadway narrowing can be achieved in several different ways:

  1. Lane widths can be reduced (to 3.0 or 3.4 m [10 or 11 ft]) and excess asphalt striped with a bicycle lane or shoulder.
  2. Travel lanes can be removed (see #10).
  3. On-street parking lanes can be added.
  4. Curbs can be moved to narrow the cross section and extend the width of sidewalks and landscape areas.

This can reduce vehicle speeds along a roadway section and enhance movement and safety for pedestrians. Bicycle travel will also be enhanced and bicyclist safety improved when bicycle lanes are added.



  Purpose
• Multiple benefits of lower vehicle speeds, increased safety, and redistributing space to other users.
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  Considerations
• Bicyclists must be safely accommodated. Bike lanes or wide curb lanes are needed if motor vehicle volumes and/or speeds are high.
• Road narrowing must consider school bus and emergency service access, and truck volumes.
• Evaluate whether narrowing may encourage traffic to divert to other local streets in the neighborhood.
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  Estimated Cost
Adding striped shoulders or on-street bike lanes can cost as little as $620 per kilometer ($1,000 per mile) if the old paint does not need to be changed. The cost for restriping a kilometer of street to bike lanes or reducing the number of lanes to add on-street parking is $3,100 to $6,200 ($5,000 to $10,000 per mile), depending on the number of old lane lines to be removed. Constructing a raised median or widening a sidewalk can cost $62,000 or more per kilometer ($100,000 or more per mile).
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  Case Studies
Allegheny County, PA 
Grand Junction, CO 
Tempe, AZ 
Bern, Switzerland 
St. Petersburg, FL 
Bellevue, WA 
West Hollywood, CA 
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Sketches by Michael Kimelberg


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U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration