Brussels Parliament’s Mobility Commission has given the green light on a parking reform plan in the Belgian capital, Belga News Agency reported on Tuesday.
The forthcoming ordinance’s main takeaways are the simplification and harmonisation of parking rates across Brussels, the introduction of exemption cards between the region and its municipalities, as well as the improvement of parking.brussels, the regional parking agency.
What’s on the table?
Parking rates in Brussels will be adjusted, with the plan setting ranges of amounts to be precised in an upcoming decree. The proposal will now be reviewed by individual municipalities before facing a second reading by the regional government. It will then be passed to the Council of State.
Secondly, the Communal Parking Action Plan will be reviewed. In its current state, the Brussels Parliament sees the plan as time-consuming and too rigid to be operational. The goal is to strengthen regional parking policy via this channel.
Not all in agreement
The proposal did not go unchallenged: it was opposed by the MR, N-VA and PTB parties, with the French-speaking liberal party (MR), tabling 27 amendments, all of which were rejected.
MR proposed an “intelligent” payment grid in an attempt to freeze rates in light of the current cost of living crisis. This proposal would take parking availability into account and offer lower rates on Saturdays and during specific periods to support local businesses – especially the hotel and catering industry.
The party also suggested creating a ‘Shop&GO’ space near retail streets where people can park for free for up to 45 minutes. Exemption cards would also make parking easier for those with reduced mobility.
The proposed rates were criticised for being too expensive. Changes could rise to a maximum of €3 for the first half-hour and a maximum of €10 for the second half-hour. This is considerably higher than the current price of €5.
A spokesperson for The Brussels Minister for Mobility Elke Van den Brandt emphasised that these amounts are upper limits but that more specific, and lower, rates would be specified in the upcoming ordinance.