Intersections should be designed to maximize pedestrian safety and quality. Many factors influence pedestrian safety and quality at intersections. Street width, intersection geometry, signal timing, and the frequency of crossing opportunities all play important roles in achieving a pedestrian-friendly environment.

Design Principles

Intersections should be designed to promote pedestrian safety and comfort. Good intersections:

  • encourage people to walk by creating a safe and inviting pedestrian realm;
  • minimize pedestrian crossing distance, time and exposure to potential conflicts;
  • maximize pedestrian visibility while providing design treatments that slow vehicles;
  • slow traffic to allow drivers more reaction time and decrease severity when collisions do occur; and
  • appropriately reflect the street and transportation context.

Design Features

Specific features of pedestrian-friendly intersections include:

A. Visible crosswalks: Well-marked, visible crossings should be provided to alert drivers to the fact that they are approaching a location where they may encounter crossing pedestrians. In some cases, raised or colored crossings may be appropriate.

B. Parking Restrictions at corners: Restricting parking adjacent to corners makes pedestrians and vehicles approaching intersections more visible to one another.

C. Crossing aids: Accessible pedestrian facilities such as curb ramps and accessible pedestrian signals should be provided.

D. Tight curb radii Curb radii for turning vehicles should be minimized to shorten crossing distances, increase pedestrian visibility, and slow turning traffic.

E. Curb extensions: The installation of curb extensions should be considered in areas with high pedestrian volumes to reduce crossing times, increase pedestrian visibility, and slow turning traffic.

F. Median refuges: Where medians are present or space otherwise exists, median refuges should be provided up to the crosswalk to provide a space for crossing pedestrians who may not be able to cross the entire roadway before the end of the walk phase.

G. Roadway and pedestrian lighting: Intersections should be well-lit at night to improve visibility for all users. Sufficient lighting to illuminate crossing pedestrians should be provided.

H. Streetscape elements: Streetscape elements, including trees, plantings, and seating should be provided adjacent to intersections to enhance the character and quality of the public realm and the sense of an intersection as an important public space.

Not Pictured: Traffic calming features: Intersections may contain traffic calming features such as traffic circles to slow vehicles and enhance neighborhood character.

Elements of a Good Intersection


Elements of a Good Intersection

Good intersection design provides a number of pedestrian-oriented features, such as well-marked crossings and curb extensions.

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