The Flemish government is to invest €30 million in creating more than 5,000 new parking spaces at tram and train stations on the outskirts of Brussels, to allow commuters from outside the city to avoid creating and suffering traffic congestion, mobility minister Ben Weyts said. The plan also includes bicycle stations, so that drivers can leave the car and take the bike into town.
“We want to attract people to a combination of bicycle, bus, tram and train,” Weyts said. “You no longer will need to sit in a traffic jam to get to Brussels.”
The plan involves increasing the number of parking spaces for cars from 5,500 at present to 11,000 in future, with bicycle spaces going up from 3,600 to 11,600. Those figures are a long-term aim; in the coming three years, Weyts aims to create 1,905 car spaces and 2,143 bicycle places.
The investment itself will make a difference, without the need for coercive measures. “We don’t want to admonish or forbid, but to encourage people to leave the car behind for at least a part of their journey to work,” Weyts said.
The station at Lot to the south of Brussels will see a new car park with 250 places, with wholly new car parks in Kampenhout, Vilvoorde and Wezembeek-Oppem. Bicycle parking will be created or extended at Ruisbroek, Kraainem, Sint-Genesuis-Rode and Vilvoorde, where commuters can also use the waterbus to take them to the city for part of the year.
The cost of parking will vary from location to location, Weyts said. The regional government will pay for the installation, which will later be run by the municipality in question, or by the national rail authority NMBS.