Schaerbeek's Good Move plan was met with criticism followed by consecutive nights of protests first introduced. However, almost six months on, public transport operator STIB confirmed it has had a positive impact on travel times for buses and trams.
The third and final phase of the new circulation plan, which prioritises pedestrians and cyclists over cars, was introduced with the aim of improving the living environment of Brussels residents over the next ten years by, among other measures, reducing traffic and ensuring effective public transport.
While it was welcomed by some residents in Schaerbeek, others took to the neighbourhood's squares to protest the changes, taking down street signs and bollards. When first introduces, it was said the plan would have a positive impact on public transport, especially in terms of operational speed and regularity.
Six months later, STIB has confirmed that travel times for several tram and bus lines have improved. Especially during rush hour, traffic is now running more smoothly in Schaerbeek but also in the Pentagon (city centre).
"Six months after its introduction, the first results confirm the success of the Good Move plan's low-traffic neighbourhoods," said Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt.
"With relatively simple and inexpensive measures, such as reducing the pressure on car traffic and creating public transport lanes, we can make historic progress in the traffic situation of our public transport," she added.
STIB said the improvements made on Rue Royale have resulted in the trams of lines 92 and 93, between Botanique and Louise, gaining one minute of travel time during the morning rush hour, and two in the evening.
In Schaerbeek, trams 25/62 between Côteaux and Lefrancq gained one and a half minutes in the evening rush hour, while travel times on six bus lines (46, 89, 29, 63, 65 and 66) have been reduced by up to five minutes during the evening rush hour.
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The situation is less clear-cut for the bus lines running through the centre of Schaarbeek or along Avenue Chazalle, according to still STIB, but the company noted that the situation will "continue to evolve in the coming months" as a result of the constant change in the habits of certain motorists.