Hartford’s New Woonerf Means Simpler Parking

August 9, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Woonerf. Just hearing it makes it sound like the kind of noise a dog might make while really drunk. Yet despite this unusual name, it’s going to deliver a very welcome service for those who are driving in Hartford: mobile payments access to the area’s metered parking spaces.

With Woonerf, users will be able to pull into a parking space, pay for parking, and then get out of the car. It’s a move that’s already been seen in some major cities like Boston, Chicago and Detroit—as well as Toronto when you get outside of the US—and now it’s migrated to Hartford.

Users can also extend a session, get notifications when running out of parking time, and record all parking history, which would be especially useful for expense reports and tax purposes. Created by Passport, the Woonerf app is set to offer a complete parking solution for everyone in Hartford.

If you’re still stuck on that name—and don’t worry; I was too for a while—it’s actually a word in Dutch that means “living street.” It’s also a city planning concept that calls on urban planners to be mindful of the flow of traffic in the area; the better the flow, the better the life. With Woonerf, the area is set to be a little better for everyone who uses the street, from motorists to pedestrians.

Hartford Parking Authority CEO Eric Boone noted “By providing Hartford with a custom mobile parking solution, we are able to make our city more livable, walkable, as well as continue to attract younger generations to the downtown area. We also realize that the world has gotten to a point where they feel comfortable that parking is app-based and not hardware-based. We’re excited to partner with Passport to continue to broaden our aspirations for a more connected city.”

Parking has long been a problem in major cities; not only paying for parking—which previously has been the province of “do I have enough quarters”—but even finding it and being safe therein. With apps like Woonerf, parking is a simpler, easier affair. There do seem to be some features that could be added here, like just tracking locations of Woonerf-capable parking spaces. Hopefully those features will be forthcoming, but Woonerf is certainly putting up a good start as is.