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File:Dutch woonerf.jpg

A Dutch woonerf

A Woonerf (plural woonerfs or woonerven) in the Netherlands and Flanders is a street where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists. In 1999 the Netherlands had over 6000 Woonerven.[1] Under Article 44 of the Dutch traffic code, motorised traffic in a woonerf or "recreation area" is restricted to walking pace.[2] 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.[3]

Woonerfs are planned for Toronto[4], where they have been approved for the West Don Lands community and are being discussed for Queen's Quay along the waterfront.

In the United Kingdom, similar areas 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.

Woonerf revisited[]

The Dutch town of Hesselterbrink is reported to be disillusioned with the way the woonerf principle has become another traffic engineering measure that "entailed precious little more than signs and uniform standards". They have now encompassed the shared space principles in favour of the woonerf. They are reported to "now know that car drivers should become residents. Eye contact and human interaction are more effective means to achieve and maintain attractive and safe areas than signs and rules".[5]

See also[]

  • Shared space
  • Living street
  • Home zone
  • Shared Zone


  1. Home Zones briefing sheet, Robert Huxford, Proceedings, Institution of Civil Engineers, Transport, 135, 45-46, February, 1999
  2. Road Traffic Signs and Regulations in the Netherlands Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat, June 2006 Accessed (Accessed 07/02/2007)
  3. Right-of-wayBrian's Guide to Getting Around Germany, Rules of the Road (Accessed 07/02/2007)
  4. [1]
  5. Template:Cite news

External links[]

de:Verkehrsberuhigter Bereich fi:Pihakatu fr:Zone résidentielle ja:コミュニティ道路 nl:Woonerf sv:Gårdsgata