Belgium’s Syndicat National des Indépendants (SNI), which represents small and medium-sized businesses, expressed satisfaction on Friday following the announcement of a slight reduction of the pedestrian area in the Brussels city centre which, it said, was in line with a request from hoteliers, restaurant owners and other businesses that has now been partially satisfied by the municipal authorities. The SNI also called for a survey on local parking zones to see if their fees can be made “less burdensome”.
“We are urging Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur (Socialist Party) to listen closely to the middle classes and take their comments into account,” SNI chairperson Christine Mattheeuws stated, adding that it was regrettable that local businesses had not been consulted before the pedestrian areas were established.
According to the SNI, work announced on beautifying the area, to be done in three phases, is necessary, but it should cause the least inconvenience possible to businesses in the vicinity. It should not compound the adverse effects of the November 2015 lockdown and the March 22, 2016 terror attacks, which had already caused clients to stay away, the organization stressed.
In addition to a well-thought-out mobility plan ensuring that downtown Brussels is easily accessible by car, there should be a parking plan, according to the SNI. “There is no shortage of parking locations in Brussels, but the problem is that underground and overhead parking areas are costly,” it said, convinced that a tariff-reduction agreement between the Brussels municipality and the parking area operators would make consumers come more often to the capital.