Expert critical of Brussels traffic plan

Summary

Flemish government architect claims deadlines for pedestrian zone are “untenable and unrealistic”

Retailers also unhappy

The Flemish government’s official architect, Peter Swinnen, has severely criticised the plans revealed last week by Brussels-City council to introduce a pedestrian-only zone along the major artery in the centre of the city, between Beursplein (photo) and De Brouckereplein. The plan includes deadlines which are “untenable and unrealistic”, Swinnen said, while arguing in favour of a car-free zone within the Pentagon, or the ring road around the city centre.

As well as the pedestrian zone, the plan includes a parking route via the Wolvengracht, Kantersteen and Van Arteveldestraat, something which Swinnen predicted would end in failure. In an opinion piece in De Morgen, he said the streets concerned were too narrow to cope with the likely volumes of traffic. The congestion, he said, “would simply be displaced 250m from the centre”.

The association of retailers in central Brussels also attacked the plan, from another angle. “This is a war against the car,” said Alain Berlinblau of the association. “This will ruin our business. Access is being blocked, at the same time as the new shopping centre Neo will have easy access from the Ring. Our customers will move off to that kind of shopping centre,” he said. Neo is one of three shopping complexes planned for the area in the near future, though it is the only one backed by Brussels-City council.

Photo by Dr Murali Mohan Gurram/Wikipedia Commons

Flemish government architect criticises Brussels-City council plan to introduce pedestrian-only zone.

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