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Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP)

Tools to Address Speeding, Traffic Volumes and Pedestrian Safety

Bulb-outs

Look of a street with bulb-outs

Bulbouts are extensions to the curb located at intersections, which result in a narrower curb-to-curb roadway width. Costs range from $2,000 for simple designs to $50,000 for highly aesthetic versions. These are often used with plantings and street furniture to enhance the area and make the restricted width more conspicuous. Their primary purpose is to "pedestrianize" intersections by shortening crossing distances. Vehicle turn speeds can be reduced providing increased pedestrian safety.

Bulbouts are sometimes called nubs, neck-downs, knuckles, intersection narrowing, corner bulges or safe crosses.

Culver City, CA

Bulb-outs temporary installation

Temporary Installation

Burbank, CA

Bulb-outs permanent installation

Permanent Installation

PROS

  • Creates more pedestrian friendly intersection.
  • Reduces pedestrian crossing distances.
  • Reduces speeds at location if travel lanes reduced sufficiently.
  • Widely used traffic calming measure.

CONS

  • Can be expensive if landscaped.
  • May affect buses or larger vehicles if intersection radii are tightened.
  • Require maintenance.
  • Tend to collect or trap trash.
  • Interfere with established drainage patterns.
  • Place pedestrians close to travel way.
Summary of Effectiveness
Volume Reduction Possible
Speed Reduction Possible
Safety Improvement Yes
Streets to Use On Collector, Local Local/Collector
Use on Bus Route Yes
Use with Curbs and Gutters Yes
Spot or Area-wide Use Spot
Emergency Service Access Issues Tight radius
Impacts on Arterials Possible
Change in % Truck Unknown
Environmental Changes Unknown
Dependence on enforcement No
Level of Violation Self-enforced
Aesthetics and Landscaping Landscaping