The “woonerf” street is getting more publicity. Blume Co. and NBBJ have proposed the the design to compliment a new biotech campus in South Lake Union.
A Woonerf in the Netherlands and Flanders is a street or group of streets in a town or city where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists. As of 1999, the Netherlands had over 6000 Woonerven schemes in place. Under Article 44 of the Dutch traffic code, motorised traffic entering a woonerf or “recreation area” is restricted to a speed limit of “walking pace. In Germany, similar zones are termed Verkehrsberuhigter Bereich. Under German traffic law motorists in a Verkehrsberuhigter 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 the United Kingdom, areas approximately equivalent to woonerven are known as home zones but do not enjoy similar protection in law. Community involvement is necessary to improve urban liveability and the urban environment via residential street design. This includes shared spaces, traffic calming, speed limit compliance and traffic restraint. This should lead to safer streets, including pedestrian safety and bicycle safety.
Plans for the Yale Campus include various textures in pavement to outline pathways, short vertical posts designed to slow traffic and plaza primarily for pedestrians which will also allow motor vehicles.