Newsroom

Word-of-the-Month: Woonerf

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A woonerf is a mixed-use road without curbs. It combines both street and sidewalk. Woonerfs are designed to reduce driving speeds and inspire a casual pedestrian-centered community. Color variations in the pavement visually separates the space. Physical barriers are created with strategically placed benches and landscaping.

Woonerf means ‘living street.’ People are the priority, not traffic. Motorists are no longer in charge when they enter a woonerf. Drivers are limited to a ‘walking speed.’ Woonerfs often meander and curve to ensure cautious and attentive drivers. They also have clearly marked entrances and exits so people can safely walk, shop, eat, play, and socialize.

Fun Fact

Woonerfs are proved to reduce traffic accidents by 40 percent! They are very popular in Europe—particularly in England, Germany, and the Netherlands. More than 6,000 Dutch streets are woonerfs. So far, 400 U.S. cities have implemented woonerf-inspired designs into their communities.

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PLACE rendering by MSR Design; common entrance signage

Stahl is collaborating with PLACE and the city of St. Louis Park to create a sustainable mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented community. The development team plans to build vertically in order to capitalize the ground-level public space. PLACE will include a woonerf and an urban art forest.