Curb extensions, also called bulb-outs, have been installed on all four corners at the intersection of 16th Street and N Street in midtown Sacramento. The extensions are the width of the parking lanes along both these streets. N Street has bikes lanes, which are not restricted by the extensions, while 16th Street does not have bike lanes, and won’t until the street is reconstructed into a more complete street at some unknown point in the future.

The primary beneficiaries of curb extensions are pedestrians, who have a shorter distance to cross, with every crossing being about six feet less distance for every parking lane, so in this case, 12 feet less. There is also much better visibility of cars by walkers, and of walkers by car drivers. Sometimes they also provide an opportunity for beautification, with rainwater swales and/or planting, as can be seen in the photo.

Every street with parking lanes should have curb extensions, so almost every intersection, but implementation will be slow because they are moderately expensive to construct (curbs sidewalks, detectable warning strips, better located ped buttons), and sometimes require drainage changes and occasionally even utility relocation. These particular extensions are certainly not the first in Sacramento, in fact there are extensions on the west corners of the intersection of 16th and O, just to the south, but are notable for being installed in a high pedestrian use area along two heavily trafficked streets.

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  1. Hi Dan,
    While I agree that the bulbouts are primarily of benefit to pedestrians, they should also benefit cyclists. They make cyclists get further out into the intersection so they can be more easily seen by motorists, and help to slow traffic at intersections, too. Looking for more of these in the future. Anything that will slow the rate at which motorists travel in urban areas will ultimately keep us all safer.

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About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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