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“Woonerf” (“Street for living”) is a Dutch term for a common space created to be shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, and low-speed motor vehicles. They are typically narrow 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 16 km/h (10 mi/h). 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.

Consideration must be given to provide access by fire trucks, sanitation vehicles and other service vehicles (school buses and street sweepers), if needed.

Photo by Dan Burden
Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians share the space on this woonerf or ´┐Żliving street´┐Ż in Asheville, North Carolina.

• Create a very low automobile volume, primarily on local access streets.
• Create a public space for social and possibly commercial activities and play by area children.
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• A woonerf is generally not appropriate where there is a need to provide nonresident motorists with access to services or through travel.
• The design needs to keep vehicle speeds very low in order to make the streets safe for children.
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  Estimated Cost
The cost to retrofit a woonerf may be quite high, but there would be no extra cost if designed into the original construction.
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