Monday, 03 June 2019
Bart Dhont, the new Brussels councillor for Mobility and Public Works, wants to double the number of cyclists on the streets of the Belgian capital and will seek to take advantage of the green party coalition’s improved stance in the regional parliament to achieve his goal.
“Our goal is to double the number of cyclists [in the city] by the end of our mandate,” he said in an interview with French-language daily La Dernière Heure.
The project would seek to drastically limit vehicle traffic in the region as well as to implement new regulations which would give priority to the “most vulnerable” road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, over the “least vulnerable” ones, like vehicles.
In order to achieve this, Dhont revealed intentions to undertake an ambitious redevelopment project which would see the creation of a global traffic plan across the whole territory of Brussels — not just the inner city ring, also known as the Pentagon.
“The liberals created a traffic plan for the Pentagon — we want to create one for the whole territory of Brussels,” Dhont said, referring to the coalition of liberal parties which commanded a majority in the past parliamentary mandate, similar to the one now held by the green parties after they made big gains in last week’s elections.
The new plan would involve the creation of extensive cycling infrastructures as well as the expansion of car-sharing services, particularly in the northern municipality of Laeken and its neighbouring areas, where new stations will be set up.
The new mobility project will also aim to tackle the problem of cycling insecurity, in particular by the creation of full cycling streets where cycling lanes are not possible, as well through the implementation of speed radars to check vehicle speed in cycling areas.
“In some neighbourhoods, it is not possible to create safe cycling lanes,” he said. “We will therefore create cycling streets — they are streets where cars can circulate but where cyclists have priority,” he added, citing the success of the city of Jette in developing these types of roads.
Citing the fact that over 6% of trips in Brussels were made by bike, Dhont said that there was “huge potential” to further develop this form of mobility, but that the biggest deterrent now was a lack of road safety.
“When you see the number of cyclists — with so little infrastructure… I think that this goal is possible,” he added.
The Brussels Times