Brussels to limit cars in city center from August – POLITICO

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Brussels is taking steps to limit transit traffic in the city center from August 16, a measure aimed at greening the capital but which risks angering some residents.

The new scheme, approved by the city council on Thursday, will rely on traffic loops, one-way streets and restricted access areas, which will make transit through the center more difficult. These journeys represent a third of intra-urban traffic.

“With the current traffic, there are a lot of road safety, clean air and noise issues,” said Bart Dhondt, the council’s alderman for mobility and public works. “What we aim for is to create an accessible and attractive city for everyone, residents, tourists and workers.”

Authorities expect the new measures to free up space in central Brussels, allowing them to build more green spaces and public squares. The plan also includes promises to strengthen public transport and expand infrastructure for cyclists.

It’s part of a long-term effort to reduce the number of cars cluttering the city. As part of the Good Move mobility plan for the wider Brussels region approved in 2020, the authorities have increased the number of cycle paths and areas reserved for pedestrians. Last year, Brussels imposed a speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour for the whole city.

Local businesses and residents had a say in the drafting of the new plan, which still allows through traffic in certain areas and also maintains vendor access to local businesses.

But not everyone is happy with the changes.

Aurelia, sales director at Kiabi clothing store in central Brussels, said the move “will affect sales for all local businesses” as most of their customers use cars. She also fears that restricting access will discourage tourists.

Laurie, an artist who lives in the city centre, said the new measures will make it “more enjoyable to walk around the city…which is a good thing”.

Local authorities will organize a series of neighborhood meetings next month and will seek feedback on the plan once it is implemented.


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