At least 80 residents showed up to the city council in Schaerbeek to criticise the planned rollout of Brussels' new 'Good Move' traffic plan on Wednesday evening, but the authorities are holding their ground. the final phase of the circulation plan will come into force on Monday.
The third and final phase of the new circulation plan, which prioritises pedestrians and cyclists over cars in the streets across Brussels, will be implemented in Schaerbeek's Stephenson district on Monday 24 October.
Good Move will introduce new one-way streets, traffic filters and various other measures to make the neighbourhood more car-free. However, similarly to the municipalities of Anderlecht, Brussels City and Jette, a motion is being prepared by the opposition parties to ask for the plan's temporary suspension in Schaerbeek.
"You only have to go into the neighbourhoods to hear that there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the plan," Joelle Crema of the radical left PTB-PVDA party told Bruzz. PTB-PVDA is currently still working on the text and adding amendments from other opposition parties but will submit it at the end of November.
Meanwhile, action group 1030/0 has announced that it is in favour of the plan for the Stephenson district. "The intersection on the Place du Pavillon will be simplified to allow the tram to pass more quickly. Heavy traffic will also be barred from the gate of the school, where near misses currently take place every day," Pieter Fannes of the collective.
The authorities have taken note of the criticism but will maintain the circulation plan in the three districts, pointing out that they have informed the population through various channels and participatory processes. "This morning, I had direct conversations with the traders of the Place du Pavillon," Schaerbeek city councillor for Mobility Adelheid Byttebier told Bruzz.
"The traders there hear so many stories, so I am going to tell them what is going to happen next week, with the plan in my hand. People have a lot of questions, not only about mobility but also about safety, cleanliness and high bills," she added. "That is why I will continue to hold those talks with the Trading city councillors, even after the plan has been installed."
The measures implemented in the three districts will be evaluated by the municipality in 2023. More information about the exact changes to the circulation plan can be found here.
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Later on Thursday, the municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert – which had already indicated that it was not sold on the Good Move plan in the Roodebeek district – also announced in a press release that it is refusing some of the proposed changes.
"The Regional design office, bound by deadlines that are undoubtedly too strict to carry out its mission, does not have a sufficiently detailed and in-depth knowledge of the reality of the districts, as expressed by the inhabitants," the press release reads.
It added that the "so-called participatory workshops" set up by the region involved only 40 people, which is not very representative of the entire population concerned by the preliminary project. "This results in proposals based on theoretical models far removed from the realities on the ground."