Pedestrian-friendly Schuman roundabout redesign gains approval
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Pedestrian-friendly Schuman roundabout redesign gains approval

Credit: COBE/Brut/Brussels Mobility

The City of Brussels has approved a project proposed by the Region to redevelop the Schuman roundabout as a pedestrian square in the European quarter, following a public enquiry.

The consultation commission of the City of Brussels gave the green light to the plans, which are intended to transform Schuman Square from a roundabout for car traffic into a meeting place over the coming years.

More space for pedestrians and cyclists will be created, and car traffic will be greatly reduced. Driving around the square will only remain possible for public transport and taxis.

However, the large number of changes is causing a great deal of concern among people living in the area, according to Brussels Alderman for Urban Planning Ans Persoons. “Many residents expressed concern about a shift in car traffic into their neighbourhood,” she told Bruzz.

As the only party at the committee which gave a negative opinion on the plans, the municipality of Etterbeek indicated that it was not in favour, for fear of a shift in traffic flows and nuisance in the neighbourhoods around the square.

The other parties gave a positive opinion, but with certain conditions. “The studies on the traffic impact of the redevelopment were not part of the public dossier, so we, as a consultative committee, asked for them to be made available in a transparent manner,” said Persoons.

A second condition has to examine how traffic can be regulated at a district level, so the works at Schuman will not result in traffic congestion a few streets away.

Lastly, many citizens were concerned about the lack of greenery on the square, as stone is mainly used as the base of the square, due to its complex underground structure with tunnels and a metro station.

However, the cabinet of Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen) does not expect that the plans will have to be changed fundamentally.

“There were mainly questions for clarification. We are going to carry out the relatively old traffic studies again, because the situation in the neighbourhood has changed somewhat now that a cycle path has been added to the Rue de la Loi instead of a lane,” her spokesperson told Bruzz.

Based on these opinions, the Brussels-Capital Region will now decide whether to grant the project a building permit.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times