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30kph speed limit proposed for whole Brussels region
A proposal to impose a 30kph speed limit on almost every Brussels road will be put to a lively debate in the region's parliament next week.
Mobility minister Pascal Smet and Brussels' secretary of state for road safety Bianca Debaets have included the widespread 30 zone in the region's new traffic plan, after it was first suggested by Groen member of parliament Bruno De Lille.
The two ministers say cutting speeds will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, improve air quality and make the city a more pleasant place to live. The 30kph limit - instead of 50 - would be the general rule on all but a few major arteries.
In the last regional traffic plan, implemented in 2014, the mayors of the 19 Brussels communes were encouraged to take the intiative and make as many roads as possible 30kph. This time, De Morgen reports, enforcing speed limits would become a regional competence.
Debaets said number-plate-reading cameras that will already be installed in Brussels to police the new low-emissions zone from next year could also be used to catch speeding drivers.
She said an external contractor would be hired to issue and collect the fines, to avoid clogging up the courts. Money raised from fines would be reinvested in road safety campaigns.
Motorists' association Touring said a region-wide 30kph limit would be impossible to police: "Speed limits have to be credible, otherwise they lose public support, even in places were a 30 zone is necessary," a spokesman said.
"We understand that a 30 zone is necessary on roads without safe cycling infrastructure, but it is an unsuitable measure for many other roads."
Etterbeek mayor Vincent de Wolf, head of the MR party in the Brussels parliament, said: "I am worried about how this plan would effectively be applied."
"I am not convinced that a widespread 30kph zone is the solution in every neighbourhood. Quality of life is important, but so is free-flowing traffic. We should first focus on areas around clinics, hospitals and schools."
Benoît Cerexhe, head of the CDH group in the regional parliament, said it was not wise to remove the distinction between small neighbourhood streets and main roads.