Tuesday, June 28, 2011


A woonerf (Dutch plural: woonerven) in the Netherlands and Flanders is a street where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists. 
The techniques of shared spaces, traffic calming and low speed limits are intended to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety.
In 1999 the Netherlands had over 6000 woonerfs. 
Under Article 44 of the Dutch traffic code, motorised traffic in a woonerf or "recreation area" is restricted to walking pace
Woonerven by country are not yet so prevalent although more and more communities are experimenting with different approaches

In Germany, similar zones are termed Verkehrsberuhigter Bereich or in English "traffic calming area".
Under German traffic law motorists in aVerkehrsberuhigter Bereich are restricted to a maximum speed of 7 km/h
Pedestrians, including children, may use the entire street and children are permitted to play in the street
In many ways the concept of wooerven is actually the antithesis of "engineering"

Engineering which seeks the optimum control of vehicular and pedestrian traffic 

Almost always through the "triple E" paradigm of traffic control: engineering, enforcement, and education.

Instead, it forgoes control, dispensing with all traffic lights, stop signs, crosswalks, and lane markings

And inserting trees and other objects right in the middle of roads and intersections.

Children can play in the street again!

What the early woonerf principles realized," says [urban designer] Hamilton-Baillie, "was that there was a two-way interaction between people and traffic.

It was a vicious or, rather, a virtuous circle:

The busier the streets are, the safer they become.

So once you drive people off the street, they become less safe.

This concept has not yet been understood where control freaks rule

Their answer being more controls driving further separation on communities
Amazing in a world of instant communications how slow ideas are to travel!

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