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New stairs connect upper and lower Ixelles neighbourhoods
Anyone living, working or just visiting Ixelles can now take advantage of a new staircase allowing quick access between the Rue du Sceptre and Rue Gray near Place Flagey.
Inaugurated last week, as part of the Brussels government’s construction, renovation and restoration company Beliris’s 30-year celebrations, the new stairway forms part of the 450-metre walkway between Brussels-Luxembourg and Germoir stations.
It gives pedestrians a traffic-free shortcut between the Rue Gray and the area near the European Parliament.
The set of stairs has also been equipped with a gutter for bicycles, to make it easier for cyclists to walk their bike up or down the stairs.
However, the gutter is far too small for cargo bikes or any bicycle with big wheels. And, as it is only on one side, it cannot be used by two bikes coming in opposite directions at once.
Welcoming the new connection, Ixelles mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said: "The height difference between the highest point of the Rue du Sceptre and lowest part of Rue Gray is 17 metres.
"Finding a solution was not easy, but I think it is wonderful to see how engineers, architects and local residents thought together about ways to link the different neighbourhoods.
"This shows that cooperation between the commune, the region and the federal government can get good results.”
Karine Lalieux, the Brussels minister responsible for Beliris, said: “This has not been an easy project. The plans have been on the table since 2010, and we have had to convince local people of the importance of connecting the two districts.
"Today, we can see that the result is a success: the walkway is widely used, and the stairs are warmly welcomed.”
The first section of the promenade, between Luxembourg station and the Rue du Sceptre, was already well-used. There are plans to widen the walkway and to add a lift between the Rue Gray and Avenue de la Couronne.
But as the bridge over Rue Gray is part of urban heritage, “we must first get the opinion of Brussels’ urban planning and heritage minister,” Lalieux said.
“The various partners of the scheme and local residents must also give their agreement to this project.”