The mayor of Jette Hervé Doyen donned a white beard and Santa suit to deliver a petition against widening the Brussels Ring Road to the office of Flemish Minister of Mobility Lydia Peeters on Thursday.
He was joined by the alderwoman for the environment, Claire Vandevivere, also in holiday attire, reports Belga News Agency.
This petition protests against plans to widen the Brussels Ring near the Laarbeek forest and has 6,350 signatures.
The widening of the Brussels ring road has been a point of discussion for ten years. Local authorities believe it’s unacceptable that the Flemish government wants to widen the Ring Road near Jette to 10 or 12 lanes, saying this goes against plans to relieve the traffic pressure in the capital and against goals in the fight against climate change.
A threat to nature and neighbourhoods
“Our first goal was to save the Laarbeek forest, a protected nature reserve, and we succeeded,” Vandevivere explained.
“But even if the Laarbeekbos is not directly threatened in the plans that are now on the table, for ten years that huge construction site will put enormous pressure on that already fragmented forest.”
Residents are especially concerned about the construction of a traffic interchange right across from the Jetse Tuinen neighbourhood.
“Thousands of people live there – there are schools, crèches (daycares), and even a hospital. Any measure that would lead to an increase in traffic there would have serious consequences for the health of very many people,” said Vandevivere.
“We also oppose the closure of exit 8 because that would bring a lot of through traffic to a neighbourhood in Jette that is already congested during rush hours.”
The mayor and the alderman were received by the members of the cabinet dealing with the dossier and were able to deliver the petition and make their grievances clear.