Home Zone Concepts and New Jersey

Source: Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University

"This report probes the potential for the application of the Dutch concept of woonerf, or Home Zone, for the United States, and particularly New Jersey. In order to start a discussion about the feasibility of developing Home Zones in New Jersey, a historic overview of Home Zone development and an explanation of the concept's design principles are presented first. Woonerf is a very adaptable concept, and approaches to utilizing it vary from one country to another. This is illustrated in case studies from the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. However, they all highlight the fact that when Home Zones are used as part of a broader urban strategy to calm traffic, they result in increased livability and safety.

"In the United States, there are no Home Zones equal to the European model; but, there are domestic examples with goals and objectives in keeping with the Home Zone concept. This paper describes chronologically organized case studies from Asheville, North Carolina; Boulder, Colorado; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Kalamazoo, Michigan. They exemplify the fact that woonerf-like design in the United States has worked well and is becoming accepted.

"These successful applications illustrate the benefits of a Home Zone:

  • Reduced driving speeds and traffic volume;
  • Increased safety, public health, neighborhood aesthetics, and social activity; -Increased property desirability;
  • Encouragement for nonmotorized traffic as a transportation mode;
  • Enhanced mobility for vulnerable groups.

"The report concludes that New Jersey can successfully establish woonerfs by continuing and expanding its existing initiatives for smart growth and incorporating best practices from present Home Zone applications both here in the United States and abroad."

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