In the next few years, the Wallonia government wants to build five cycling highways that connect to Flemish cycling routes to Brussels, according to Bruzz.
Flanders already has several bicycle highways leading into the Belgian capital, and now Wallonia wants to connect to those by constructing their own.
With the bicycle highways, the Wallonia government hopes to encourage residents to use their bicycles more often for commuting than is already the case today.
“At the same time, we also want to reduce the number of cars driving to Brussels,” Eric Biérin, spokesperson for Walloon minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) told Bruzz.
“The bicycle infrastructure is therefore part of a total package, in which we also drastically expand public transport. With this legislature, Wallonia is investing €1 billion in public transport company TEC, and we are paying more attention to multimodal nodes, where you can combine different modes of transport.”
People are increasingly using bicycles as part of their commutes, and even as usage rates went down during the pandemic, the distance people travel with a bike increased.
Part of the reason for this is due to the rise in popularity of electric bicycles, which make it easier to traverse long distances, even over hilly landscapes.
“Electric bikes now make it much easier to pedal to Brussels,” said Biérin. “Cycling to work is now more accessible to a wider public and you can also cover greater distances. Cycling 25 or 30 kilometres is now suddenly possible.”
Wallonia is planning to create five cycling highways over the next few years, reports La Libre.
Two of the five routes are already concrete, with a first connection following the E411 for 12 kilometres from Louvain-la-Neuve and Wavre and then connecting to a Flemish route that passes Overijse and the Sonian Forest and joins the regional Cycle Route 5.
A second route runs alongside the N275 for 15 km and connects Ottignies, Rixensart, La Hulpe and Watermaal-Bosvoorde (and the regional cycle route 6), according to Bruzz.
On the Flemish side, work is already underway on a cycle path along this stretch.
The first routes should be completed by 2023 or 2024. Cycle highways from Waterloo, Eigenbrakel and Tubize are planned for a later stage.
Funding for the first two projects will come partly from Wallonia itself (€25 million), and partly from Europe (€13 million), as part of the European recovery plan.