‘Smoother and safer’: Brussels Sainctelette to undergo complete redevelopment

‘Smoother and safer’: Brussels Sainctelette to undergo complete redevelopment
Photo from Brussels Mobility

Brussels Mobility has requested planning permission for the complete redevelopment of the Sainctelette and Yser area, with the goal of increasing the quality of life in the neighbourhood and improving traffic flow for all road users.

“Less than three years ago, Sainctelette had the dubious honour of being chosen as the most dangerous crossroads in Brussels and is seen as a place to be avoided,” Elke Van den Brandt, Minister of Mobility and Public Works, said in a statement.

“With the plans we are now submitting, that changes completely. Car traffic will be limited, the crossroads will become simpler, the connection with the canal cycle path is assured and a large space will be freed up to bring Brussels residents and city districts together again.”

The design includes the input from hundreds of local residents, along with associations and residents from other parts of Brussels “who know their city like the back of their hand,” Van den Brandt explained.

A ‘hyper-important’ location

Described at present as a “messy and uprooted area,” the proximity of the city centre and the presence of several cultural sites such as the Kaaitheater or Kanal – Centre Pompidou (plus green areas such as the Beco and Maximilian Park) make the Sainctelette and Yser area an important one, especially in the context of other development projects.

“Place Sainctelette is a hyper-important location in our future plans for the Canal Zone and the North Quarter,” Pascal Smet, State Secretary for Town Planning and Heritage, explained in a statement. “That is why we launched an international architecture competition in 2017 to completely revamp the area.”

Photo from Brussels Mobility

That revamp includes the design of a “bridge square” by a French architecture firm, in collaboration with the Brussels architecture firm Karbon and the engineering firm Arcadis, who were winners of a call for proposals.

“The design met our request to turn the square into a showcase for Brussels… a place where the inhabitants of Brussels can stay and where the comfort and safety of cyclists and pedestrians is central, because after all, public space is living space.”

Smoother and safer travel

The available space will be more evenly distributed among the various road users, with the space for cars limited so that public transport and pedestrians and cyclists can experience greater comfort and safety.

The Yser tram stop will be transformed into a fully-fledged urban mobility hub that will be connected to Sainctelette and Maximiliaan Park by one-way bus and tram services, a press release indicates.

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Two-way cycle paths are planned throughout the project, separated where possible, and bicycle parking spaces will be provided.

The pavements will be also widened everywhere and safe crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists will be added wherever possible.

“Sainctelette is an important crossroads connecting different neighbourhoods,” said Brussels Mayor Philippe Close.

“The redevelopment will give it a metropolitan image by highlighting the potential of the area with the improvement of road safety, a more balanced distribution of space between the different road users and a calmer Quai du Commerce (Handelskaai).”

Photo from Brussels Mobility

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