Aside from road safety, bicycle theft and the lack of infrastructure, the hilly topography of Brussels presents a sizeable disincentive to many people who would otherwise choose to cycle, said spokes person Pascal Smet, who is also Flemish minister for Brussels. “By promoting cycling in low-lying areas and installing cycle highways along railway lines, we want to reach commuters and others in Brussels who don’t cycle yet,” he said. “There are more and more cyclists in Brussels, but there’s an even larger group of potential cyclists who remain to be won over.”
The Flattrack plan includes a map of existing locations of cycle highways, to be joined by new cycle paths following the course of railway lines, which would also avoid climbing hills. “The slopes that remain could be equipped with a lift, such as the one at Poelaert.” That lift connects the Poelaertplein at Brussels’ Justice Palace with the Marollen in the lower part of the city. Smet also referenced a cycle lift in Trondheim, Norway, which works like a tow lift on a ski slope. “The number of cyclists has doubled since the installation of their lift.”
The map is intended to be a work in progress and open to input from cyclists. The intention is for cyclists to share their Flattrack experiences and fill in the gaps,” Smet said. “Eventually every cyclist will have a picture of the most important flat cycle routes.” The initiative is accompanied by a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/FlattrackBrussels.