Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System


A choker that requires motorists to yield to each other in Charlotte, North Carolina. Source: City of Charlotte





Chokers are curb extensions that narrow a street by widening the sidewalks or planting strips, effectively creating a pinch point along the street. Chokers can be created by bringing both curbs in, or they can be done by more dramatically widening one side at a midblock location. They can also be used at intersections, creating a gateway effect when entering a street.

Chokers can have a dramatic effect by reducing a two-lane street to one lane at the choker point (or two narrow lanes), requiring motorists to yield to each other or slow down. In order for this to function effectively, the width of the travelway cannot be wide enough for two cars to pass: 16 feet is generally effective (and will allow emergency vehicles to pass unimpeded). This kind of design is usually only appropriate for low-volume, low-speed streets.


Chokers are designed to slow vehicles at a mid-point along the street through narrowing the street width at a specific location. They can be used create a clear transition between a commercial and a residential area or narrow overly-wide intersections and midblock areas of streets. Chokers also can be designed to add room along the sidewalk or planting strip for landscaping or street furniture.


• If two travel lanes are maintained on a two-way street and/or the travel-lane widths are unchanged (at the location of the choker), it will have a minimal effect on speed.
• Consult with local fire and sanitation departments before setting minimum width.
• Ensure that bicyclist safety and mobility are not diminished.

Estimated Cost

Approximate cost is $2,000 to $25,000, depending on site conditions and landscaping. Drainage also may significantly raise the cost.

Case Studies

Tempe, AZ