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3.6 Roadways

3.6H Medians

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Medians provide a barrier between traffic lanes.


Medians provide a barrier between traffic lanes. They can be used to provide refuge for people walking and biking, to protect against head-on motor vehicle crashes, to prevent turns, and to provide space for greening. Medians can be installed as part of street reconstruction or retrofit projects.

Figure 3.6H.1:
Medians recommended dimensions 


Design Considerations

Preferred width

  1. Medians of 6’ and wider are preferred because they provide an accessible pedestrian refuge space and additional space for greening. 
  2. Consider widths greater than 8’ along major bike crossings to provide adequate refuge space for bikes. 
  3. 4’ medians can be considered in constrained right of way. 
  4. See also bicycle safety islands.


  1. Designers should generally work to include greening in medians whenever feasible. 
  2. Plantings need to be shorter than 3’ tall to maintain visibility. 
  3. Maintenance of greening needs to be coordinated ahead of time. 
  4. There are unique considerations for placing green stormwater infrastructure in a median, including details on inlets and maintenance access. Coordinate with Surface Water and Sewers.
  5. See greening guidance and green stormwater infrastructure guidance for more details.

Curb and gutter

Standard 6” curb tops and 1’ gutters are generally used adjacent to medians. If there are catch basins adjacent to medians, 2’ gutters should typically be used.

Delineator medians

Low-cost medians can be implemented using delineators in street retrofit projects.