Brussels speed limit to be slashed throughout the region
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    Brussels speed limit to be slashed throughout the region

    A road in Brussels. Credit: CC Flickr

    The speed limit in the Brussels-Capital Region is expected to be cut down to 30 kilometres per hour in a year and a half, after the incoming regional government reached an ambitious mobility agreement at the weekend aiming to improve road safety and give a boost to alternative means of transport.

    The Zone 30, which caps the speed of drivers in several streets within the inner-city ring to 30 kilometres per hour, will be applied throughout the region, according to the new deal.

    The new regulations are set to be introduced by January 2021 and would concern all streets in the regional territory with the exception of “the mayor regional roads” and the Brussels R20 Small Ring, according to Belgian media.

    The regional mobility agreement outlines the region’s traffic policy for the next ten years, but with the enforcement happening at the municipal level, the incoming regional government will reportedly rely on financial levers to ensure its proper implementation.

    According to De Morgen, the subsidies granted to municipal authorities will be aimed “primarily at the reconstruction of dangerous intersections.” The outlet further says that municipalities who still give vehicles “free rein” will risk losing out on the subsidies.

    ‘A realistic’ goal

    “This is a very good measure in itself,” sustainable mobility professor Cathy Macharis said on Monday on Radio 2.

    While Macharis said that the goal laid out by the regional authorities was “certainly realistic,” she stressed the importance of “sufficient enforcement” to make the measure effective.

    “One in three cars still drives at over 30 kilometres per hour — some even go up to 70 or 80 kilometres per hour,” she said.

    Sufficient checks, good road infrastructure and planning are key, according to Macharis, whose remarks were echoed by the representative of the citizen group Schaerbeek 1030/0, who fights against road insecurity in the municipality — where the Zone 30 already applies.

    “Are local authorities going to take part in the story?” a representative of the group said, according to De Morgen.

    Schaerbeek was the scene of a recent protest by the citizen action group, who organised a lay-in in a busy junction where a 14-year-old girl was injured in a hit-and-run incident in June.

    The generalisation of the Zone 30 is one of a series of measures included in the future government agreement, which also includes provisions to introduce a ban on all diesel vehicles in the capital by 2030, as well as plans to further develop the public transport network.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times