Traffic Calming
24. Choker

Chokers are curb extensions that narrow a street by widening the side-walks or planting strips, effectively creating a pinch point along the street. Chokers can be created by bringing both curbs in, or they can be done by more dramatically widening one side at midblock locations. They can also be used at intersections, creating a gateway effect when entering a street.

Chokers can have a dramatic effect by reducing a two-lane street to one lane at the choker point, requiring motorists to yield to each other. In order for this to function effectively, the width of the travel-way cannot be wide enough for two cars to pass: 12' is generally effective (and will allow emergency vehicles to pass unimpeded). This kind of design is usually only appropriate for low volume, low speed streets.

  • Slows vehicles at a mid-point along the street.
  • Creates a clear transition between a commercial and a residential area.
  • Narrows overly wide intersections, and midblock areas of streets.
  • Adds room along the sidewalk or planting strip for landscaping or street furniture.
  • Reduces cut-through traffic.


  • If two travel lanes are maintained on a two-way street and/or the travel lane widths are unchanged (at the location of the choker), it will have a minimal effect on speed.

Estimated cost

$5,000-$20,000 depending on site conditions and landscaping. Drainage may represent a significant cost.