living street

A woonerf [voh-nairf] is a living street where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists as implemented in the Netherlands and in Flanders. Techniques include shared space, traffic calming, and low speed limits. Under Article 44 of the Dutch traffic code, motorized traffic in a woonerf or ‘recreation area’ is restricted to walking pace.

The word literally translates as ‘living yard.’ In 1999 the Netherlands had over 6000 woonerven. Today around 2 million Dutch people are living in woonerven. The benefits of the woonerf are promoted by woonERFgoed, a network of professionals and residents. In the UK these are called ‘home zones.’ In the US ‘complete streets’ are a similar concept where equal priority is given to all modes of transportation including automobiles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

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