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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

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

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Pedestrian Refuges/Slow Points

Pedestrian refuges or slow points are small islands in the middle of the street, typically designed with marked bike lanes on both sides. They serve to narrow the vehicle travel lanes. They can be installed either at intersections or midblock. Slow points are used to enhance pedestrian crossing points and provide a visual narrowing along the roadway. Depending on their location, they may also result in small to moderate traffic speed reductions.
Advantages Disadvantages
Allow pedestrians to cross half of the street at a time, stopping in the refuge before crossing the other half of the street
Make pedestrian crossing points more visible to drivers
Prevent vehicles from passing other vehicles that are turning
May reduce vehicle speeds
Require some parking removal
Pedestrian refuges narrow the roadway available to a driver, provide a visual cue to drivers that they are in a popular pedestrian area, and provide a refuge for pedestrians so they can cross a street one half at a time, if they prefer.
Pedestrian refuges are effective pedestrian amenities but have minimal influence on a driver's behavior.
Pedestrian refuges cost $8,000-15,000.
Parking Impacts:
Mid-block pedestrian refuges may require parking removal on both sides of the street.
Transit Service Impacts:
Emergency Services Impacts:
Noise Impacts:
Other Considerations:
Pedestrian refuges have usually been used to supplement a pre-existing crosswalk, as compared to creating a new crosswalk location.
Examples In Portland:
NE 15th, north of Broadway.    Picture
NW Cornell Rd, north of Lovejoy.     Picture
SE Market, east of 117th.
SE Steele, east of 49th.    Picture
N Willis at Emerald.    Picture
SE Harold at 92nd.
SE Stark at 52nd.