Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Most of the capital’s city centre will go car-free from early this summer. The switch, which was initially due to happen on July 18th, should take place before the start of the summer holidays. More road works are needed for Brussels to offer one of the widest pedestrian zones in Europe. As well as new road markings and signals, more pavements will conform to bus routes, bus lines will be altered, and new bus stops are planned.
The 8-month testing phase was scheduled to begin on July 18th. But Els Ampe (Open Vld), alderwoman in charge of mobility and public works for Brussels City, says this date could be brought forward. The exact date chosen will be revealed at a joint press conference with Brussels City, STIB and the Brussels region authorities on Monday. Test runs will allow journalists to familiarise themselves with the streets which will absorb diverted traffic.
As soon as the testing phase starts, pale pink streets in the “comfort zone” on the Brussels map will be out of bounds for drivers, except for delivery vehicles, disabled people, and car repair services. Parking along Rue du Midi and Boulevard Anspach will therefore be forbidden. Residents will still have access to the dark pink zones of the map. Remodelling of streets should start in December.
“We have been meeting weekly with regional authorities and STIB since last December, with the aim of monitoring any change needed,” revealed Els Ampe. According to the alderwoman, this type of collaboration is a first. “In the past, one government announced its plans and the other commented. We now work together from the start.”