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Brussels Mobility to install bike racks next to pedestrian crossings
Did you know you had to park your car at least five metres from a pedestrian crossing? If you said ‘no’, you’re not alone. Parking closer to a zebra crossing than that is illegal, and motorists can be fined for doing it.
Unless you are in a parking spot that is clearly designated with painted white stripes, of course. But how can a parking spot even be created closer than five metres to a pedestrian crossing if that’s illegal?
Good question, says Brussels Mobility, which is making work of removing these parking spots that were created in breach of the law. Not only that, the regional agency is going to install bicycle racks in the spaces instead. This will improve visibility and, hence, pedestrian safety, while increasing the number of bike racks. Two birds.
The regional agency has designated about 150 crossings at which it will remove the designated parking space and install bike racks. They have been selected according to how potentially dangerous they are. Every year an average 46 people are killed or seriously injured while on a pedestrian crossing in Brussels. Of these, nearly half are attributed to poor visibility.
New paths under canal crossings
It seems like a minor change, but it will cut into parking spots for cars on a number of major arteries. On Avenue Louise, for instance, 41 spots will disappear, and on Chaussée de Haecht, 29 will go. The good news is that some 1,000 spots will be created for bicycles.
“It’s a win-win situation,” says Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen). “We improve the visibility of the pedestrian crossings and so also traffic safety, and at the same time create more bicycles parking in neighbourhoods where it is desperately needed.”
In related news, Brussels Mobility has also revealed plans to create bicycle and pedestrian passages underneath three major bridges that cross the Brussels canal. Eventually, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to use their own crossing at Van Praet, De Trooz and Sainctelette without having to deal with car traffic.
“These three separate bike and footpaths under the busiest crossings in the canal area will make a world of difference to cyclist safety,” says Van den Brandt. “It will also create a real cycle highway along the canal, from Vilvoorde all the way to Anderlecht.”
The plans have been submitted for permits, and, if all goes well, works should begin in 2023.
Photo ©Vergani Fotografia/Shutterstock