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Serpentine Designs | Woonerf

Whole Street Designs

Woonerf (“Street for living”) is a Dutch term for common space created to be shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, and low speed motor vehicles. They are typically streets without curbs and sidewalks, and vehicles are slowed by placing trees, planters, parking areas, and other obstacles in the street. Motorists become the intruders and must travel at very low speeds below 10 mph. This makes a street available for public use that is essentially only intended for local residents. A woonerf identification sign is placed at each street entrance.

Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians share the space on this woonerf or “living street” in Asheville, North Carolina.

The material provided on this page is from the FHWA publication "Pedestrian Facilities User Guide." This guide is currently under review by practicioners and others in the field. Subsequently, the material provided on this page is subject to change in the future.

Roadway Narrowing

Lateral / Horizontal Shifts

Raised Devices

Complementary Tools

Whole Street Designs


• Designed for residential streets that are very low volume, limited use, and primarily local access streets.

• Streets where there is a neighborhood desire to create a public space for social activities and play by local residents.


• A woonerf is generally not appropriate where there is a need to provide for nonresident motorists to access services or through streets.

• The design needs to keep vehicle speeds very low in order to make the streets safe for children.

Estimated Cost:

The cost to retrofit a woonerf may be quite high, but there would no extra cost if designed into original construction.

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