Mayor calls for ban on cars in Brussels city centre

Summary

The capital's city council will soon vote on a transport plan floated by the new mayor of Brussels City that would ban cars on part of Anspachlaan

Yvan Mayeur wants to start with a pedestrian zone on Anspachlaan

Yvan Mayeur, the newly appointed mayor of the City of Brussels, is calling for a ban on cars in the city centre. He wants to start, he says, with the central section of Anspachlaan between the Beurs and De Brouckèreplein.

Mayeur’s plan would reverse more than 60 years of transport planning in central Brussels by developing a new infrastructure that would favour bicycles and pedestrians. “I want to begin with De Brouckèreplein as a symbol of change,” he told Le Soir newspaper.

The mayor recognises that the plan will be opposed by residents and local shopkeepers. “Whatever we do, there will always be opponents,” he said.

Indeed, Mayeur’s plan has already been criticised by the motoring organisation Touring. “This is a link, and you can’t interfere with that without offering an alternative,” said Touring spokesperson Danny Smagghe. “If you close the central boulevards, then the inner ring will become even more overcrowded.”

But Mayeur insists that the changes will offer benefits to everyone. “People should come to the city to shop and stroll,” he said. “A motorway through the middle of the city isn’t pleasant, not even for shopkeepers. The cars should be parking, not driving through.”

The pressure group Picnic the Streets organised several picnics on Anspachlaan in 2012 and 2013 in an attempt to create a car-free square in front of the stock exchange. Their actions were partly inspired by a picnic on Grote Markt organised by the English-language The Bulletin magazine in the 1970s, which ultimately resulted in Brussels’ central square becoming car-free.

The city council will vote on the new proposal at the end of this month.

New Brussels mayor calls for ban on cars in city centre and wants to start with De Brouckèreplein as a symbol of change.

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