Ghent mobility plan comes into force with little incident
Ghent’s new circulation plan has survived its first real test, with a morning rush hour that passed off without incidents
“I think I’m not exaggerating when I say that we stand here in the early morning of a historic day for the city,” said mayor Daniël Termont on a visit to the temporary command post set up to monitor traffic as the plan gets under way.
In concrete terms, the only delays were caused at one location by the manoeuvres of a lorry, and at another by the timing of traffic lights – something city authorities said could be adjusted. The morning rush hour passed off without incident. On the Verloren Kost, a street which has now become car-free, members of the local cyclists’ union handed out flowers.
“The last two and a half years has been an unbelievably intense period,” said Filip Watteeuw, councillor in charge of mobility. “Hundreds of people took part in the development of the circulation plan. The city will now be safer and more agreeable to live in, and that’s something we all want.” The city council, he said, would not hesitate to make changes where necessary.
For opposition leader Elke Sleurs (N-VA), however, it is too soon to rejoice. “We’re in the middle of the Easter vacation,” she pointed out. “A lot of people are on holiday, there are fewer people at work, and the schools are closed.” The real test, she said, would come on April 18, when children go back to school and parents to work.
Photo courtesy Stad Gent
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