|This "winkelerf" uses the same sign|
as a woonerf, but the character of the
street is not like a woonerf. Children
don't play in the streets here. In
practice this works the same as
any autoluwe shopping street.
The video shows how this works on a fairly cold February afternoon (min -3 C, max +2 C) in Assen. There are a lot of cyclists and pedestrians but you won't see many moving cars. Many of the pedestrians have reached the centre of the city by bicycle. You can see their bikes parked everywhere in the video. Because there are very few moving cars there are also very few interactions with cars. This results in a high degree of subjective safety and makes it possible for everyone to feel safe when walking or cycling:
In the centre of Assen everyone cycles in safety. If you don't watch this video then you will probably not understand the blog post.
Nearly car-free streets like this feature all across the Netherlands. They're a great success.
Removal of railings
A very common type of street
Almost all city centres in The Netherlands work in this way. Some streets are only for pedestrians, many allow cycling for access, those where automobiles are allowed are usually not useful as through routes.
Groningen also has nearly car free streets. As in Assen, this means that even
This is not "Shared Space"
Unfortunately, foreign observers often confuse NCF with the much newer, but much less successful idea called "Shared Space". This is unfortunate as they are actually diametrically opposed ideas.
|"Shared Space" in Haren. Much through|
traffic by car, conflict is promoted,
Cycling feels uncomfortable and
|"Shared Space" in Haren.|
It's really all about cars,
not about pedestrians and
In "Shared Space" areas, pedestrians run across the road and cyclists cycle amongst the pedestrians. Such areas do not have relaxing and pleasant streets as seen above in Assen and the many other places which have excluded cars.
The most effective way of civilizing town centres is to remove cars from them
Removing cars from streets is a very effective way of encouraging cyclists. However, this removal has to be almost total in order to make cycling attractive to the whole population.
Note also that "pedestrianized" areas in the Netherlands usually make it clear that they do not exclude bicycles.
We are running an open Cycling Study Tour in May 2013. Book a place if you wish to see how what we describe on this blog works in real life.
Well before it was applied to streets in the Netherlands, the underlying principle of Shared Space was laid out very clearly by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.