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Brussels makes site of fatal accident a 30 km/h zone

Credit: Google Maps

The speed limit on Avenue Albert in Brussels, which was the scene of an accident that killed a woman last month, will be lowered to 30 km/h, Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt announced.

Van den Brandt said the street, where the speed limit was previously 50 km/h, would become Zone 30, during a meeting with some local residents and Mobility Secretary Esmeralda Van den Bosch.

A temporary speed camera is expected to be installed at the site of the accident, and the addition of ‘Berlin cushions’ (a raised surface fixed to parts of the road to keep cars from driving too fast) and other visibility measures on the street are being considered, she said.

A 30-year-old woman was struck by a car while crossing at one of the street’s intersections in the Forest municipality, which had previously been reported as dangerous to the Brussels Mobility agency and for which a petition was launched to install traffic devices.

One resident, Dimitri Notte, wrote to Brussels Mobility earlier this month to point out that “pedestrians who want to cross will end up in a blind spot because of the parked cars and installations of the [STIB-MIVB].”

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The public transport company STIB has since been asked to make changes to the stop so that visibility is not restricted, as it was thought the tram track in the intersection had perhaps obscured the view of the driver involved in the accident.

On Tuesday, the street was also named in a petition by two road safety and cyclist action groups to the Brussels Capital Region to make all streets with higher speed limits, where separate bike lanes cannot be introduced on short notice, Zone 30 roads.

The Zone 30 policy was introduced on 1 January this year, imposing a speed limit of 30 km/h on 85% of Brussels’ streets, however, 15% of streets, including Avenue Albert, continued to be 50 km/h zones.

The Forest municipality originally asked for this street to become a 30 km/h zone, however, the local government of Uccle, through which part of the avenue also goes, requested an exception.

Van den Brandt’s cabinet has not yet disclosed more details about the timing and practical implementation of the new speed limit.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times