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Cars now banned from historic Molenbeek square

Illustration picture shows the Place Communale - Gemeenteplein square in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean - Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ)
05:46 01/09/2021

Cars are now banned from the historic town square in Molenbeek. An automatic barrier has been installed on the Place Communale in front of the town hall to prevent drivers using the area as a car parking space.

The square has often been cluttered with vehicles despite it being illegal to park there. An underground car park has been renovated 100 metres away from the square to offer an alternative.

Deliveries to the surrounding shops and businesses will still be allowed with the automatic barrier being operational until noon after which it will remain closed. Traders previously used keys to open the old barrier but sometimes it was left open after deliveries had been made.

Meanwhile, in another action related to the use of cars in the capital, about 100 people protested at the Barrière de Saint Gilles, an accident hotspot, on Monday afternoon to highlight the dangers pedestrians and cyclists are exposed to at the crossroads.

"Increasing safety on our roads will need to include taking into greater account the most vulnerable users in high-risk areas, such as intersections,” said a spokesperson for Gracq, the cyclists research and action droup, one of the associations responsible for organising the demonstration. “In Belgium, too many accidents occur at junctions designed essentially to regulate the flow of cars."

The protest followed the death of two children on 24 August at a controversial crossroads in Antwerp.

Written by Nick Amies