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    Brussels citizens happy with renewed De Brouckère square

    WikiCommons
    Place De Brouckère before the works, with two car lanes on both sides.
    WikiCommons

    After two years of work, both citizens and politicians have reacted positively to the reopening of De Brouckère square. Many retailers saw their turnover fall during the works on the square. “In public opinion, those two years seem to have been very long,” said Eline De Swaef, spokesperson from client Beliris, to Bruzz.

    In reality, the works have been completed relatively quickly. The Boulevard Anspach was already closed earlier on to test whether it could work in terms of traffic. That makes it feel like the works took a very long time, she added.

    During the works, both citizens and politicians were rather critical of the hinderance caused to everyday traffic. However, those worries seemed to disappear fast. “It has really become an interesting tourist zone,” said passer-by Mehdi to Bruzz. “The politicians have not tackled it in the right way, but the result is impressive,” he added.

    “It is nice how suddenly so much space has been created here. I remember when cars were passing by here,” passer-by Kjell said to Bruzz. “That gave a very closed feeling, while it is now so open and light and very pleasant to walk. It is so much better without cars with two lanes on both sides. Now we can see the buildings and shops much better, it is really nice,” he added.

    “A major mobility adjustment also requires a major adjustment from customers, so I completely understand what the merchants on the square have been through,” said Els Ampe (Open VLD) formerly responsible for Public Works and Mobility, to Bruzz.

    “We should not forget that the pedestrian zone was a long-term project,” Ampe said. “I am very happy that we had the courage to finally do it, after 12 years of discussions about it,” she added.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times