Crossing islands are medians located in the center of a multilane street. They provide safe, accessible waiting areas for people walking or biking across a street.

Safety benefits

  • Increased visibility: Islands draw visual attention to crossings along a street. This helps other street users expect the presence of people crossing the street.

  • Decreased exposure: Crossing islands reduce the amount of time a person crossing a street is exposed to oncoming traffic. They break up crossings into two stages and provide a safe space to wait part-way across the street. This allows a person walking or biking to focus on one direction of traffic at a time as they cross.

  • Traffic calming: Crossing islands visually narrow the width of the roadway. This helps slow motor vehicle speeds and improves the likelihood that a person driving will yield to a person crossing the street.

Crossing islands in Austin

Austin Transportation and Austin Public Works design and install crossing islands at loca­tions where an island is expected to improve comfort for people crossing, whether at an intersection or mid-block. Many 2016 Mobility Bond and 2018 Bond projects, including Bikeways, Safe Routes to School and Vision Zero/Transportation Safety projects, include crossing islands.

Types of crossing islands

Painted

Painted crossing islands are enhanced reflective markings and flexible delineator posts. They are often built as a rapid solution to address an immediate safety concern before a more permanent solution can be implemented.

Concrete

Raised, concrete crossing islands are often enhanced with landscaping to absorb and filter rainwater while beautifying the street.

Multimodal

When pedestrian crossings are parallel to crossings for urban trails or protected bike lanes, Austin Transportation designs islands with dedicated space for people walking and biking across a street.