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Good Move one year later: Fewer cars, more bikes in Brussels
After a year of the formal implementation of Brussels’ mobility plan ‘Good Move’, the City of Brussels is reporting fewer cars and more cyclists in the city centre.
Brussels-City published mobility data one year to the day after the official launch of the regional Good Move plan within the Pentagon, Brussels' inner ring road.
The data comes ahead of the results of a more comprehensive evaluation, which is still under way.
“The latest counts show that users are continuing to adapt, and that the modal shift towards more active modes of transport is very significant in the city centre,” said Bart Dhondt, alderman for mobility.
"There have been 27% fewer cars pass through the centre, and 36% more cyclists are present."
According to the analysis of counting points located at intersections on the inner ring road, car traffic has fallen by 20% overall and 30% inside the Pentagon area.
“This is despite the fact that journey times on the inner ring road around the Pentagon have remained virtually the same, compared with the counts carried out before the traffic plan was introduced,” said Dhondt.
At two peak times (8.00 to 9.00 and 17.00 to 18:00), counts were carried out in October 2021, November 2022 and June 2023. These showed that the number of cyclists around and in the Pentagon this year was 36% higher.
The area around the new Brucity administrative centre is currently being completely redeveloped, with other redevelopments in preparation – for example in Place Royale and Rue de la Chapelle.
In other areas, work is planned to improve the quality of the public space while awaiting a facade-to-facade redevelopment, as in the Rue du Marché aux Porcs, Rue des Six Jetons and Rue des Riches Claires.
“Mobility is therefore a lever for improving the quality of public space,” Dhondt said.
“Streets where cars used to speed past become lively meeting places. In any case, these results are very reassuring and a source of motivation to continue the work.”
The Good Move campaign in the Pentagon area alone has given rise to more than 80 meetings with affected parties since the plan was introduced.
“We have always said that Good Move was an important and necessary change, and that this change was not obvious to everyone, especially at the beginning,” Dhondt said.
“So we met with and supported all those who needed to make the change, and the method is bearing fruit.”
Not all are pleased with the new mobility plan, which was enacted in part to improve public safety and air quality issues, considering the Belgian capital ranks unusually high in pollution for European capitals.
Shopkeepers in particular are not unanimous in their support for the scheme.
“Those who used to have customers who came from far away are very unhappy because people no longer travel 10km to eat in the city centre,” said Olivier Willocx, managing director of business organisation Beci.
“That model is over. Those who are part of this new dynamic are happy. I think that 80% of people are adapting, 20% of people will probably leave or stop their activities because there is no place for them in the city. That's the reality.”
Willocx said it could take three to five years for the phenomenon to show itself.
In the meantime, cycling association Pro Vélo is celebrating the increase in cyclists while pointing out room for improvement.
“Brussels households on lower incomes own fewer bicycles or are unable to keep them in their homes,” spokeswoman Anne Le Roux said. “We still need to think about this.”