Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System
A shared street.
Source: pedbikeimages.com - Dan Burden (2006)
"Shared street" is the term that is commonly used in English; its origins are based in the concept of a "woonerf," which is a Dutch term loosely meaning "street for living." In Seattle and other locations, they are sometimes referred to as "green streets".
A shared street is often referred to as a “pedestrian-priority street,” or, in residential areas, as a “home zone.” It is an integrated space used to better balance the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and low-speed motor vehicles. They are usually local-access, narrow streets without curbs and sidewalks, and vehicles are slowed by placing trees, planters, parking areas, and other obstacles in the street. A clear signal is given to designate entrance into the space, either through signage, narrowing of the roadway, and/or different paving materials. Motorists in these areas are encouraged to travel at much slower speeds – approximately 10-15 mi/h.23 Rather than relying on traffic controls, street users negotiate right of way in a cooperative manner. The streets often lack signs and markings necessary for the operation of conventional streets, with users instead guided by the physical design of the street. The intended result is that the street and any adjacent commercial businesses are more amenable to bicycle and pedestrian use.
While not technically shared streets, there are also ways streets can be utilized and/or engineered to accommodate a greater variety of street space uses. Many cities are now closing streets during different times of the day or week, such as Winthrop Street in Cambridge, MA, which is closed to vehicle traffic between 11 a.m. and 2 a.m. daily. During the times it is open to vehicles, the street operates as a shared street with vehicle traffic speeds limited to 10 mph. Other cities temporarily close roads on the weekend for local Farmer’s Markets, and cities such as New Orleans, LA and Memphis, TN close specific streets nightly. Finally, Portland, OR has created Festival Streets in select areas; one-block streets that function for cars and parking but that do not have curbs, light poles, etc. In doing so, the streets can be converted to public use on weekends or for special events.
Authors and Acknowledgements