Check Out Austin’s New Polka-Dotted Intersection Neckdowns

This new painted polka-dot intersection bumpout was design to make a dangerous intersection safer and more comfortable for pedestrians. Photo: Austin Mobility

This new painted polka-dot intersection neckdown was design to make a dangerous intersection safer and more comfortable for pedestrians. Photo: Austin Mobility

Safer streets for pedestrians don’t have to be expensive, or boring, for that matter. That’s the lesson from Austin’s new polka-dotted intersection neckdowns.

In an effort to get drivers to slow down and give extra room to those on two feet, the city recently installed this colorful intersection treatment at the intersection of East 6th Street and Waller in East Austin.

Photo: Austin, Tx.

Photo: City of Austin

According to Anna Martin, an engineer with Austin DOT, the project was completed in under a day using paint and other materials the department already had on hand.

We drew out the plan for the new stop bars and crosswalks. Noticing the extra space, we thought of adding the pedestrian bulb-outs. It is expensive to do with concrete but we thought to just improvise with markings and delineators. The polka dots were a final addition – taking inspiration from pedestrian plazas we’ve seen in New York City and Los Angeles. It really fits the spirit of the area which is creative and vibrant.

It was Austin’s first experiment with this kind of street treatment, Martin told Streetsblog, and the response has been very positive.