Downtown Brussels a car-free zone?

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Mayor Yvan Mayeur’s proposal to rid Brussels city centre of cars has met with a positive response in Le Soir’s online survey, where over 60% of participants are ‘for’ the idea, while only 37% say they are ‘against’. If the centre of Brussels became pedestrian, 55% of users believe that they would go there more often while 37% believe they would visit less often.

Asked if the proposed project would be detrimental to business in the area, 56% of voters said yes , while 34% said no. As for the last question – whether this project will be positive for mobility in Brussels – the answers were more evenly split, with 50% of users believing it would and 44% who think that it would not .

The comments of users accurately reflect these results.

“Any concrete measures that make for a friendly and pleasant environment for people should be encouraged,” says E.Deville. Another reader said: “This is very good news. The car is no longer needed in the inner cities, except for deliveries. I often hesitate to go cycling in the centre of Brussels, there is something apocalyptic about being in urban traffic. I think it would be an historic step, to gradually free us from a machine that is not positive and disfigures the architecture of our city.”

Laibert was also for the idea. “This plan would fit a general movement in Europe. For 10 years I have been going into the centre by metro. Too many traffic jams, not enough parking and what’s there is too expensive. I had the opportunity to visit cities such as Lille and Reims recently. Their centres have become heavily pedestrianized and it’s fine. In addition, the businesses in these centres appear healthy with busy shop windows and no ‘Commerce for sale’ signs.”

Frankyboy is more virulent. “The government is doing everything to drive commuters and businesses out of Brussels. Within a few years, Brussels will be ruined and it will have no choice but to swear allegiance to the Republic of Flanders. What a lack of vision! The idea is good but it is not the ideal place to do this. The north-south axis (Bds Jacqmain/Max, Anspach, Lemonnier) is vital for emergency services (police, ambulance, fire ). Just listen to the number of sirens that can be heard every day. If it is full of pedestrians and tourists, they won’t be able to get through.”

Feature photo: diluvienne