- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Brussels wants to reduce street parking with new 'grey' zone plan
The Brussels government wants to reduce the number of cars parked on the streets of the capital and is working on a new plan which could introduce a new zone category in the city’s 19 municipalities.
Mobility minister Elke Van Den Brandt announced this week that this new category of parking area, so-called "grey" zone, would be areas and streets right next to or around an underground car park. The principle would be that the price of parking in these areas would become more expensive than in the nearby underground car park, with the aim of encouraging motorists to use the underground facility instead of the street.
A second desired effect of this principle would be that the spaces on the street could be returned to nearby inhabitants so that they can more easily park in their own neighbourhood. An alternative would be to scrap parking in these areas altogether and use the spaces for other activities.
The municipality of Jette, for example, has already embarked on the experiment by creating a grey area around the underground car park of the Place du Miroir.
One main stumbling block to the plan is that the municipalities need to be convinced that creating and developing these grey zones is in their favour. It has been mooted that municipalities that do not comply and don’t charge more for surface parking when a parking lot in the basement is nearby could be punished. This could take the form of a reduction in subsidies that the region pays municipalities in terms of mobility, meaning less money to redo roads or install traffic signs, for example.
One way or another, the Brussels government wants to harmonise the parking policy in the 19 municipalities. Currently, only 10 of them have so far entrusted the management of their car parks to the regional parking agency Parking.brussels. And the systems of parking tickets and tariffs are quite variable from one municipality to another.
According to the region, there are now 940,000 parking spaces in total in the Brussels region. One in three are on the street. The rest are in underground car parks or in private garages. However, these covered places are currently underused, especially at night. By making it easier to access and making them cheaper, the region says it would compensate for the loss of street space.
In its plan, the region would also like to introduce another possibility: that of charging more for parking depending on the type of vehicle or the hours of the day; for example, charging more for a large, gas-guzzling 4x4 or increasing the price of parking places around concert halls on performance nights. But, again, all this will have to be discussed with the municipalities and accepted by them. The aim is for the new parking plan to be implemented early next year.