Partial and Full Street Closures

Description

A partial street closure uses a semi-diverter to physically close or block one direction of motor vehicle travel into or out of an intersection; it could also involve blocking one direction of a two-way street. Partial street closures at the entrance to a neighborhood or area should consider the traffic flow pattern of the surrounding streets as well. The design of this measure should allow for easy access by bicyclists and all pedestrians.

A partial closure provides better emergency access than a full closure. Since this design also allows motorists to easily violate the prohibitions, police enforcement may be required. If the partial closure only eliminates an entrance to a street, a turnaround is not needed; closing an exit will generally require a turnaround.

Residential street closure allows bicycle and pedestrian access while providing space for vehicles to turn around

A full street closure is accomplished by installing a physical barrier that blocks a street to motor vehicle traffic and provides some means for vehicles to turn around. Full street closures should be used only in the rarest of circumstances. Neighborhoods with cul-de-sac streets require extensive out-of-the-way travel, which is not a mere convenience issue, but has serious implications for impacts on other streets. All traffic is forced to travel on feeder streets, which has negative consequences for the people who live on those streets and forces higher levels of control at critical intersections.

If a street closure is done, it should always allow for the free through movement of all pedestrians, including wheelchair users, and bicyclists. Emergency vehicles should also be able to access the street; this can be done with a type of barrier or gate that is electronically operated, permitting only large vehicles to traverse it. Examples are mountable curbs or an access way with a raised element in the center that a low vehicle would hit, though those treatments may not be able to stop pickups or sport utility vehicles. This is usually only appropriate for places with no snow (otherwise the device would be covered with snow and the access way could not be cleared).

Purpose

Partial street closures can reduce traffic volumes through preventing turns from an arterial street onto a residential street or restricting access to a street without creating one-way streets. Full street closures are the ultimate limitation measures used to discourage or prevent through traffic from using certain streets.

Considerations

  1. First, analyze whether less restrictive measures would work.
  2. Closures are part of an overall traffic management strategy.
  3. Consider impact on school bus routes, emergency access, and trash pickup.
  4. Analyze whether other local streets will be adversely affected and/or access into or out of the neighborhood would not be adequate.
  5. Analyze whether other streets would receive diverted traffic as a result of the street closure, and whether alternative streets exist for through traffic.
  6. Partial closures will not solve speeding issues; speeds may increase on the new one-way street.
  7. Provide a turnaround area for motor vehicles, including service vehicles, and provide for surface drainage.
  8. Full street closures may be considered for local streets, but are not appropriate for collector streets.
  9. Do not use full closures if the street is an emergency or school bus route.
  10. Do not adversely affect access to destinations in the community by pedestrians and bicyclists.
  11. These are not appropriate measures for addressing crime or other social problems.
  12. Can be used to convert cul-de-sacs into pedestrian plazas with limited automobile access.

Cost

Depending on the street closure strategy, which could use bollards, islands, or other measures, the costs are likely to vary substantially. Partial street closures usually cost around $37,500, but can cost as low as $10,290 or as high as $41,170. Full street closures can cost from less than $500 to $120,000.

The wide ranges in price for full and partial street closures are related to the strategies used to complete the street closure. For instance, a full street closure can be accomplished by only adding a few bollards, but under a different strategy might involve installing new concrete islands and channelizers. Depending on the site conditions, either strategy might be appropriate.

More detailed cost information can be found here.