Two car-free zones planned for Jette and Ganshoren in Brussels

Two car-free zones planned for Jette and Ganshoren in Brussels
Credit: Belga

Two car-free zones are being planned for the Avenue Broustin (Broustinlaan) in the Brussels neighbourhoods of Jette and Ganshoren.

Work will begin this winter on two new pedestrian plazas after both municipalities agreed with the Brussels region to close both ends of the street to traffic, Bruzz reports.

Part of the street in the Ganshoren neighbourhood has already been host to a temporary square since last summer. That pilot project will be continued and also replicated Jette, while a new traffic plan for the neighbourhood diverts the traffic, according to Brussels Minister for Mobility Elke Van den Brandt (Groen).

“The north of Brussels is still too focused on through traffic rather than the quality of life of the inhabitants of those neighbourhoods, in terms of liveability, air quality and traffic safety. That has to change,” Van den Brandt said.

There have been 15 traffic accidents in the past ten years at the site where the temporary square was erected, each one resulting in a physical injury. Accidents also occur frequently at the intersection of Avenue Broustin and Avenue de la Constitution (Grondwetlaan).

Ganshoren has been considering a car-free zone for some time, largely in the context of the local economy and providing tourists with a quiet, traffic-free location to enjoy a coffee after visiting the Basilica of Koekelberg.

“My wish is that in the future, the northwest of Brussels becomes more of a destination than a place of transit,” explained Ganshoren first alderman Stéphane Obeid (MR).

A proven improvement to the local area

Magali Cornelissen (MR), alderman for Mobility in Ganshoren, said that the benefits of a pedestrian plaza were assessed during a test last summer when an intersection was closed for six months.

“The traffic test showed that traffic in the heart of the district decreased by 25% and the number of bicycle movements increased by 15%,” said Cornelissen.

Jette, too, is excited about the prospect of a pedestrian plaza, which “significantly reduces through traffic in this neighbourhood while ensuring accessibility for local residents. It is the implementation of the Barcelona superblock concept,” said Mayor Hervé Doyen (CDH) of Jette.

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Van den Brandt’s cabinet is working on several low-traffic neighbourhoods across the region in the coming years under the Good Move initiative, but this plan is not yet one of them. “This is a project on a much smaller scale,” explained her spokesperson Pieterjan Desmet.

Depending on the weather conditions, the first construction works will start in January or February of 2022.

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