Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Median Barriers

A median barrier is a concrete curb or island that is located on the centerline of a street and continues through the street's intersection with a given cross street.
Strategically located median barriers reduce traffic volumes on a street. Median barriers prevent left turns from the through street and left turns and through moves from the cross street.
Median barriers are very effective in reducing volumes.
Advantages Disadvantages
Separate opposing vehicle travel lane
Prevent vehicle from passing other vehicles
Depending on location, may improve safety through access limitations
Can be designed with breaks in the landscaping to provide pedestrian refuge
May visually enhance the street through landscaping
May require major parking removal
Prohibit or limit access and movement (from driveways)
May have a negative impact on emergency services because of access limitations
Median barriers cost approximately $10,000-20,000.
Parking Impacts:
Medians may not significantly affect curbside parking opportunities, but sometimes parking would be prohibited to accommodate the remaining turning movements or to make room for a wider median barrier.
Transit Service Impacts:
Median barriers would prevent transit service on the blocked street.
Emergency Services Impacts:
The turn restrictions imposed by a median barrier would apply to emergency vehicles and are not typically used to block a primary fire response route.
Noise Impacts:
Other Considerations:
Median barriers apply to all drivers, including local residents. Very special care must be taken to consider the availability, capacity, and appropriateness of the alternative routes drivers might use if a semi-diverter is constructed.
Provision should be made to make median barriers passable for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Examples In Portland:
SE 20th at Harrison Street. SE 20th at Ankeny Street.