Tactics

Offset Crosswalks

An offset crosswalk is one with a center median that acts as both a pedestrian safety island and means of directing pedestrians to look toward oncoming traffic before crossing the second half of the street.

Guidance
  • The crosswalk offset can be a right angle or skewed depending on site conditions
  • Design islands with level cut-through foot paths for better ADA accessibility
  • Provide detectable warnings (truncated domes) at the each edge of the island cutthrough area for better ADA accessibility
  • Include a section of parallel curbing that is aligned with the direction of the crosswalk to redirect a blind or visually impaired pedestrian
Benefits
  • Orients pedestrians toward oncoming traffic so they are more likely to notice it
  • Reduces unprotected pedestrians trapped in the middle of the street
  • Improves driver yield-to-pedestrian compliance
Considerations
  • Pedestrians might resist following the slightly longer path across the street
  • Additional installation costs for longer crossing route
  • Accommodating offset crosswalks within limited roadway width
Where to Use It
  • Signalized and unsignalized crossings on multilane roadways
  • Mid-block and intersection crossings
Professional Consensus

Recommended within the February 2010 International Technology Scanning Program, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program

Endorsed within FHWA’s Pedestrian Safety Countermeasure Deployment Project when used with high-visibility crosswalks and yield to pedestrian signs

While MUTCD does not specifically recommend offset crosswalks, it does provide guidance for pedestrian barriers at offset crosswalks that act “as passive devices that force users to face approaching [trains] before entering the trackway.” The MUTCD also includes offset pedestrian crosswalks in its recommended roundabout configurations.

Examples

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.