Custom Concrete recently completed construction of a woonerf in Bellingham. 

The name comes from the Netherlands, where the Dutch use the term to refer to their “living streets” — roads designed to be shared by cars and pedestrians alike. Woonerfs typically have low speed limits for vehicles (5 mph or so) and often feature restaurant seating, plants and other traffic calming measures. 

The woonerf recently created by our crews is part of a new apartment complex in Bellingham’s Barkley Village area. Designed by Shoesmith Cox architects, the complex is designed primarily for older adults who want to live near the vibrant heart of Barkley Village, close to restaurants, entertainment and retail shopping. 

The woonerf, known as Weatherby Way, connects Rimland Drive and Cornerstone Lane. It runs along the side of the apartment building opposite Barkley Boulevard and provides access to the building’s underground parking. 

Working as a subcontractor for Exxel Pacific, Custom Concrete completed several concrete flatwork tasks on this project. 

To build the woonerf itself, our crews laid three separate strips of concrete, cutting lines into each panel at off angles to create a decorative look. Along the edges of the roadway, we installed concrete benches with built-in lighting. 

Along the woonerf, CCC crews built large concrete planters and retaining walls, incorporating a doglegged concrete ramp from the street level up to the first floor of the building. Near the ramp, a new set of concrete stairs leads up to the building entrance. Our concrete flatwork crews also crafted a concrete patio outside the main doors and incorporated concrete benches, also with built-in lighting. Ground-floor apartments also include large concrete patios, separated from the woonerf by a planting strip. 

The many angles of the project — with the woonerf, benches and patios at off angles, with many planting areas thrown into the mix — create a striking and beautiful look. It’s a great example of how concrete can be used as a functional design element to add interest to a project. 

In addition to the woonerf, Custom Concrete installed concrete curbing and sidewalks on both sides of Barkley Boulevard adjacent to the building. We also extended the center median just a bit to help with traffic flow at the intersection with Cornerstone Lane and to provide a better pedestrian access across the busy street. 

The project site previously was a large, grassy field to the northeast of the Cornerstone Building, which houses Umpqua Bank and several other businesses and many apartments.