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Car lanes to turn into cycle lanes during exit strategy
In an attempt to limit the use of public transport in Brussels in the coming weeks, mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt is turning some car lanes into bicycle lanes. The effort will see an additional 40 kilometres of cycle lanes across the region.
Monday, 4 May, is Phase 1A of Belgium’s coronavirus exit strategy. While some people will be returning to work, it will also be required to wear facemasks on public transport. Authorities are concerned about transport users not being able to practice social distancing and touching all the metal poles.
At the same time, many people have taken to cycling as a form of exercise during the coronavirus crisis. “Many commuters want to swap public transport for the bike – if they find the right infrastructure,” said Van den Brandt. “This is an answer to that need.”
‘Leave public transport to those who really need it’
Lanes normally reserved for cars and trucks on some major avenues will only be open to cyclists. The avenues chosen – including Boulevard Géneral Jacques, Avenue de Tervuren and Avenue Louise –will link up with each other and form safe passage for cyclists heading into the capital from Flanders and Wallonia.
The change, which will be rolled out over the next few weeks, is temporary, an attempt to convince those who normally take public transport to cycle into and around the capital instead.
“This phase of the exit strategy brings with it major challenges,” she said. “So we need to make radical decisions to ensure that everyone feels safe and can also keep the proper distance from each other. Leave public transport to those who really need it; if you are healthy and fit and don’t have to travel too far, ride your bike. This will help avoid a situation where we have to shut down again once our schools, shops and businesses are back open.”
Image courtesy Elke Van den Brandt