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Naked is Better! On the Many Benefits of Shared Streets
Shared streets (also called "naked" or "woonerf") remove the distinction between footpath and traffic lanes, so vehicles and pedestrians can share roadspace. Auckland New Zealand has implemented this strategy in several downtown commercial streets, as discussed in this website. Each street is assessed and the most appropriate design goes through a public consultation stage before works begin.
The city conducted a detailed study on shared space performance. It found that:
• Peak hour foot traffic increased 50 percent (comparing pre-works in 2008 to post-works in 2011)
• There are noticeably fewer vehicles and they travel slower. Vehicle speeds declined more than 25 percent.
• 91 percent of stakeholders were highly complimentary about the new shared space, compared to 17 percent before.
• 75 percent of property owners determined that it was valuable being sited near or adjacent to a shared space.
• Almost half of those surveyed (49 percent) would visit the area more often, as a destination in its own right.
Well done, Auckland!