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Impact study shows Metro 3 line still the capital's best mobility solution

Illustration shows the presentation of the extension of the line Bordet with the construction of the new North-South metro line M3 of the Brussels' subway. (BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM)
09:44 13/08/2021

The new Metro 3 line in Brussels, which will connect Evere in the north of the city to Forest in the south, is the most suitable mode of transport to meet the mobility needs of the capital’s northern neighbourhoods, according to the conclusions of an independent impact study.

The new line will be 10.3 kilometres long when it is completed and and built in two phases. The first phase, which is already underway, will transform the tram line between the Albert station and Gare du Nord into a metro line with a new station named after the Belgian jazzman Toots Thielemans built between Gare du Midi and Lemonnier. A junction tunnel is to be dug under the tracks of the Gare du Nord.

The second phase involves tunnel construction, the creation of seven stations and a depot for the storage and maintenance of metro trains. "More than 1,100 recommendations have been compiled in the impact study and a majority will be implemented, while some have already been taken into account in the project," a spokesperson for the public contracting authority Beliris said in a statement. Other recommendations will be further analysed before the plans are resubmitted before the six-month statutory deadline, added the spokesperson.

One of the alternatives to the Metro 3 line, the expansion of the Tram 55 line, would not be sufficient to meet the growing mobility needs of the northern communes of Brussels, concluded the study’s authors, the independent and approved design offices Aries and Tractabel.

"The effects study once again highlights the need for this metro line," echoed Brieuc de Meeûs, the CEO of Brussels transport company STIB, who added that the tram will still have a role to play in future mobility plans.

In the coming months, Beliris, STIB and the Brussels Region will examine in detail each recommendation made in the impact study to improve the Metro 3 project, such as those relating to the recovery of rainwater or the creation of green roofs for the new stations, as well as the installation of solar power panels. The study’s authors also call for lifts in all stations and secure bicycle parking. In addition, proposals to minimise the nuisance caused by the construction of the line will be taken into account. The development of the public space around the entrances to the stations will also be considered in consultation with the inhabitants and businesses of the designated districts, said Beliris director Cédric Bossut.

This latest impact study is the fourth initiative confirming the viability of Metro 3, after the project studies in 2013 validated by the federal and regional governments, the integration of the line into the Regional Land Use Plan (PRAS) in 2017 and the survey of Brussels residents in 2020.

With an annual budget of €50 million as part of a 10-year commitment by the Federal State to the Brussels Region, the extension of the metro network to the north is a flagship mobility project in the capital.

The ‎PRAS relating to the Metro 3 project is still the subject of an appeal to the Council of State submitted by the Brussels residents action group ARAU (Atelier de recherche et d'action urbaine), Inter-Environnement, the Brussels urban, ecological and social collective, and two residents of Schaerbeek who are concerned by the metro line’s route.


Written by Nick Amies


Frank Lee

I remember the first metro stations in Brussels. We were promised an extensive network. Plans were fantastic. And then... I don't know. It seems everything slowed down. We were suddenly happy to leave stations in a "pre-metro" situation for decades, had lines that were left unfinished. When the Brussels Region started to make it more and more difficult for cars to reach the center of Brussels, it failed to accompany those measures with a serious effort to improve public transportation. Now, it's touting its new "Metro 3", but it's too little too late...

Aug 13, 2021 12:54