‘The new normal’: Brussels to generalise 30km/h speed limit by 2021
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    ‘The new normal’: Brussels to generalise 30km/h speed limit by 2021

    The associations want to introduce the 30 km/h speed limit in all built-up areas. Credit: © Belga

    The preparations to bring the general speed limit in Brussels down to 30 kilometres per hour kicked off on Monday, with meetings set up to ready the roads for the changes from January 2021.

    “In one year, Brussels will become a conurbation where the [speed limit] of 30 km/h will be the new normal,” Brussels Mobility wrote in an online statement, adding that 50 people died or were seriously injured “every year in the Brussels-Capital Region due to speeding.”

    The agency overseeing mobility in the Brussels-Capital Region launched the first of several rounds of consultations with municipal authorities, local police zones and public transport company STIB.

    The talks are set to last for a period of around six months, in order to allow public actors and stakeholders like STIB to discuss resources needed for the transition to the so-called Zone 30.

    “From this week on we will listen to what everyone needs to be able to maintain a Zone 30,” Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt said, Bruzz reports. “Extra funds will be made available for police to process fines, and we will consult with action groups and hear about streets that are dangerous.”

    In the run-up to the implementation of the new speed regulations, regional authorities will provide €3 million to municipalities, in a tripling of the subsidies meant for works and renovations to make roads safer ahead of the implementation.

    Currently, around 60% of the road network in Brussels is already a Zone 30, the agency said, publishing a tentative layout of what the network would look like when from 1 January 2021.

    The new speed regulations follow a series of high-profile accidents in past years, which prompted increased outrage from the public and calls for authorities to take action to make roads safer.

    The new regulations will mean that drivers will now have to adjust to a “new normal,” according to Van Den Brandt.

    “From next year, Brussels motorists will know that, unless otherwise stated, they cannot go over the 30 km/h limit. It’s the opposite of what’s going on today, where 30 [km/h] is the exception,” she said.

    Exceptions to the new speed limit, in the form of some roads where the maximum would remain at 50 or 70 km/h will also be discussed in the coming months.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times